“Latvian Tobago” sounds as ridiculous as Czechoslovak Togo, but this was an actual attempt by the Duchy of Courland (modern day Latvia) to colonize Tobago. They got to the point of a fort and a town, with growing population, international trade, and unfortunately, slavery and violence against Indigenous peoples.

So why was there never a Latvian Caribbean? The Dutch outplayed them for control of Tobago, and Courland itself was caught up in European wars between the larger Baltic powers around it. Tobago would continue to be fought over by European powers for centuries. The Latvian attempt at an empire evaporated, and all that’s left today is an oddly brutalist monument with some very dated language, plus some place names.

Here’s a slightly irreverent look at the odd bit of history that was New Courland:

There’s still a bay on Tobago called “Great Courland Bay” – check out this drone footage, it’s beautiful:

European colonialism is not really something to laugh at; there was so much violence inherent to the whole process – which still has effects on our everyday lives. However, I am totally losing it at the absolutely ridiculous flag of New Courland.

There is only one step to building an empire, and it is crab.

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