The history of Roya

Short History of Roja

Fishing is one of the oldest human activities in Latvia.
All along the coastline fishing and seafaring traditions were maintained with traditional Trawling, Hook & Lines, Net weights, Spearguns. As found in archeological excavations, it indicates that since neo-classical era fishing had significant role in the human survival.

Until the 13th century Roja was part of Vanema land, populated with nation Livi. The first time Roja was mentioned in records was in the year 1387 by the Archbishop of Riga, as a port and trade center, together with island Ronsala belonged to the Riga Domcapitul, parish of area Dundaga .

In the year 1434 the area was added to the Kurland’s Bishopy lands. In the 16th century Roja a harbour was one of the three ports with the rights to export goods abroad. In 1873 the Naval school of Lubezere was established in Roja. In 1969 Roja was approved as Town – Village. In second half of the 20th century Roja was second biggest populated place in Talsi region.

The name “Roja” comes from Livi (Baltic Finns) language and it’s related to the overgrown with reeds and seaweed delta of river Roja. Translated Dulkupe (Mud river).

Roja harbour is the seventh largest in Latvia’s, based on cargo turnover (2008).

In the 19th century fast growing Capitalism promoted the development of Trade.

On the iniciative of Krisjanis Valdemars, Naval schools were established along the coastline. In Gipka (10 km from Roja) from 1869 to 1894 it was moved to Mazirbe and in Roja (1873). Naval schools were established, where around 2000 students studied.

Ship building developed fast. By the end of 19th century and beginning of 20th century more than 200 Sailboats with capacity of over 100mt per sailboat were built from Gipka to Mersrags.

In the 1960’s, with cooperation among fishermen, seafood processing started to develop rapidly. Seafood processing plants were opened in Kaltene, Roja, Purciems, Zocene, during that time Roja had developed as one of most industrial and modern villages in Latvia.