The Duchy of Courland and Semigallia existed from 1561 as part of the Grand Duchy of Livonia, and later became a part of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth in 1569, when Poland and Lithuania joined together. During the earliest years of Jacob Kettler's reign (1642-1682), Courland and Semigallia reached the peak of its prosperity, even going as far as to establish a colony in Africa (in the Gambia) and a colony in the West Indies (in Tobago). During the Swedish-Polish War (1655-1560), Courland lost its colonies to the Dutch, and its prosperity began to decline. In 1795, Russia annexed Courland during the Third Partition of Poland, officially ending the Duchy.
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