Port of Liepaja 320
Year 1263
First information in writing about port of Liva (now Liepaja) is that it’s owned by the bishop. Harbour was formed in the lower river Liva that used to enter into the sea in the area of Northern cemetery. River Liva has changed its mouth on a number of occasions and its last known location was between current Vitolu and Ausekla streets.
Year 1300
Liva along with its port is taken over by the Livonian Order.
Year 1621 - 1739
Even though Liepaja trading connections at the time were not very extensive in terms of volume yet they were very diverse. At the dawn of the 17th century Liepaja’s biggest rival was port of Memele yet it didn’t stop the local tradesmen from forming relations with Lübeck, Amsterdam, Gotland, Kiel, Stockholm, Danzig, even Lisbon and a number of other ports here and there.
Year 1625
On 18 March Duke Friedrich of Duchy of Courland and Semigallia granted city rights to Liepaja. That was a strategic step that reflected Duke’s vision of significant, yet unrealised potential of this place. During this time number of Liepaja residents along with the trade volume was moderately growing. Among the most distinguished export goods were grain, salt-cured meat, flax seeds and leather; salt, herring, lime and iron were the imported goods.
Year ~ 1640
After rivers Liva and Perkone grew shallow, Liepaja was left without a port.
Year 1660
As the result of Treaty of Oliva, Vidzeme was given to Sweden, and Polish trade ways no longer led to Riga but instead to the ports of Courland, including Liepaja. During this time grain export increased and trade relations with the Dutch tradesmen flourished.
One of the old grain warehouses in the port. The photo was made at the beginning of the 20th century. © Liepaja museum
Year 1677
Dutch shipbuilding master Heinrich Jansen was invited to Liepaja by Duke Jacob’s oldest son and heir Frederick Casimir. Upon coming to Liepāja he undertook building of two ships S. Casimirus and S. Sophia. Around this year, in order to ensure taking care of incoming ships and to lay a foundation for further shipbuilding, Duke Jacob granted permission to establish a shipyard. Since artificial port was not yet introduced at the time, ships were built on the sea coast.
Year 1682 - 1698
Liepaja experienced blooming of shipbuilding. Twenty-five ships were built here and a number of experienced craftsmen from Ventspils helped it happen.
Year ~ 1685
Wilhelm Giffenich, owner of the shipyard sent his here-built ship Weisses Lamm (White Lamb) piloted by its captain Jost Jansen Hahn to the West Indies to trade.
Year 1697
In August Sigismund Augustus, King of Poland confirmed the first project of port construction. On 3 October port construction was commenced by driving the first pile in the territory of the current Trade Channel. First significant construction works of the Port of Liepaja were commenced involving cleaning and deepening of the port. Up until then traders were forced to stay in the road since the natural Lake Liepāja culvert leading to the sea often got clogged.

Ships at the sea were not only obstacles to trading but thus were exposed to danger that was confirmed by the fact that a year earlier 14 anchored ships were smashed during a storm near Liepaja.
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