see also other names) a town in the centre of Latvia about 41 km south-west of Riga with about 63,000 people. Yelgava was the capitol of the unified duchy of Kurland and Semigallia (1578-1795) and the administration centre of Kurland (1795-1918).
The Jelgava is located on a rich plateau only 3.5 meters above mean sea on the right shore of the Lielupe rivers. Jelgava Air Base is a railroad centre and also accommodates the Jelgava Air Base. Before the Second World War, Jelgava had wide, regularly used roads with the villas of the Baltic-German aristocracy, who lived in the former Kurland city.
In 1266, the old Kurland Dukes' fortress, located on an isle in the middle of the stream, was demolished by Duke Biren, who had a large building (1738-1772) built by Bartolomeo Rastrelli on the Lielupe viaduct. Inside the Palast are the coffins of almost all Kuron ducal families except the last.
Louis III, who later became Louis VIII, stayed in the building between 1798 and 1800. Jelgava, the Livonian village, began to develop in the tenth centuries between the Lielupe and Driksa river. With the use of Mitau as a fort in the southwest, the Germans subjugated the neighbouring Livonians and Semigallians until 1290. In 1345 Jelgava was plundered by the Lithuanians in the southwest and the city gained importance as a fortification.
In 1561, after the downfall of the Order of Livonia in the war, Mitau became the duchy of Kurland. In 1573 Jelgava was granted the right to be a municipal centre and in 1578 it became the capitol of the unified dukedoms of Kurland and Semigallia. In 1596, when the Duchy of Kurland divided, Jelgava became the seat of Duke Friedrich Kettler of Semigallia.
In 1617 the town became the capitol of the unified dukedoms again. Since the dukedom became a minion of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, Jelgava was also known by the name Mitawa. Jelgava has been besieged several times by the Commonwealth's successive battles with Sweden. In spite of the various battles, the old town continued to grow as a centre for commerce and industrial activity.
However, with the increasing power of Kurland's neighbours, the dukedom and Jelgava began to come under Russia's control; Carl Christian Joseph of Saxony, Herzog of Kurland, had to resign under Soviet occupation in 1763. Jelgava's culture was extended by the second last to last Prince of Kurland, Ernst Johann von Biron.
Built the Duke's Palais and opened the city's first open access reading room. The last Duke of Kurland, Peter of Biron, in 1775 established the Academia Petrina, which became a centre of culture in the area. When the French Revolution broke out in 1789, the people of Jelgava demanded moreights.
Imperial Russia nevertheless annexed the town in 1795 with Kurland during the partition of Poland. Jelgava Castle was the home of the Count of Provence and the home (1798-1801 and 1804-1807) of Louis VIII before becoming Emperor of France. During the Napoleonic Wars, although the Napoleonic Wars besieged the town, it was largely unscathed by civilian devastation.
The Jelgava region continued to expand after the railroad was built in 1868. Developing the country's infrastructures encourages Latvians to move to the cities as traders, artisans, teachers and civil servants. Until 1914 Jelgava had more than 45.000 people. Jelgava was severely damaged after the First World War, however, and the vivacious defense of Jelgava by two home guard Latvia defenders in 1915 contributed to inspiring the creation of Latvia's rifles.
The town was invaded by Germans during the Great Patriotic War and prisoners of war sent there as slave labourers received terrible punishment and treatments. Jelgava became a battlefield between Bolshevik Red Guards, Germans paramilitary and Latvia's liberation militants after the 1919 Revolution. Jelgava became an important town in the independence of Latvia after its triumph in November 1919.
1925 a refinery was established in Jelgava, the first of its kind in Latvia. 1939 the Latvia University of Life Sciences and Technologies was opened in Jelgava Palace. In 1940, as a consequence of the Nazi-Soviet Pact, Jelgava was invaded and annexed by the Soviet Union with the remainder of Latvia during the Second World War.
A large part of the town' s surviving Germans was relocated during the National Socialist transfer of populations to the area of Poland possessed by Germany. From 1941 to 1944 Jelgava was conquered by Germans of the Army Group North until it was conquered by the Red Army. In the course of the conflict, the Germans, together with the Latvia aid force, killed the Jews in the town in a string of shots (see Jelgava massacre).
By the end of July 1944, the Soviet Red army was launching an assault from the southern hemisphere towards Jelgava and Tukums to surround the Bundeswehrgruppe Nord. The Jelgava was proclaimed a stronghold, but there were only scattered Roman and Lithuanian troops in the town. Between 30 July and 7 August, the Red army succeeded in occupying the Lielupe's eastern shore after severe road battles and several aerial attacks.
At the end of August, the Germans started a counter-attack on Jelgava from the northern hemisphere, but they could not push back the Soviets. Until 10 October, Jelgava stayed at the front when the Germans withdrew to Kurland. Battles severely affected the city's historical centre, industrial facilities, railway networks and civic amenities, destroying almost 90% of the town.
USSR troops fighting on the roads of Jelgava (summer 1944). After the Second World War, Jelgava was reconstructed in the typically Russian manner as part of the SSR. The Jelgava became the home of several large plants. This included the Zuckerfabrik (sugar factory), which was greatly extended in 1975, and the administrative building for the Riga bus company (RAF).
After Latvia's independency, Jelgava is gradually returning to its ancient Teutonic legacy and is now a favourite place for tourists. Thanks to the University of Life Sciences and Technologies of Latvia, many of the Jelgava residents are Jelgava residents, either studying or involved in educational activities. This is why Jelgava is sometimes referred to as the student capitol of Latvia.
On 1 January 2017, the town had 61,308 inhabitants. FK Jelgava, the city's most important club, is in the Latvian upper league and has won the Latvian Cup four-fold. And Jelgava is a partner: Vikivoyage has a Jelgava guidebook.