Municipalities

 

In the Grand Duchy of Courland and also later, in Imperial Russia, the whole Suiti region made up Alsunga congregation (Alschwangen Kirchspiele).  Those days congregations were used not only as religious, but also as administrative concepts.  Powers of the real administration rested with local land owners (estates).

By the Law on Abolishment of Serfdom in Courland of 1817, the concept of peasant municipalities (bauern gemeinde) came into beeing, in addition to the estates.   Every peasant had to be registered in such a municipality.  Peasant municipalities until 1918 did not have any power over persons of other classes.  

Almost until the end of 19th century, every estate, regardless of its size, had its own peasant municipality.  Therefore, in the Suiti region, there were: Adzes, Basi, Birži, Jaunā muiža, Gudenieki, Blintene, Grāveri, Almāle, Reģi, Stirnu muiža, Fēliksberga and Alsunga municipalities.  Some of them had less than 100 inhabitants. 

The first large municipal reform took place around 1880s, after which only four municipalities remained:  Alsunga, Basi, Jūrkalne and Gudenieki.  Then the next development was the Municipal law of 1918, which gave municipalities jurisdiction over all persons (not just peasants) within their geographic area. 

Jūrkalne acquired its current name in 1928.  Before it was called - Felixberg.  In 1950, Alsunga lost its historic name - Alšvanga.  A larger (second level) administrative region of Alsunga was formed in 1950, but it existed only for four years.  In 1956, Alsunga, Gudenieki and Basi were joined to Kudīga second level municipality, but Jūrkalne was joined to Ventspils second level municipality.  In the 1970s, Basi were absorbed by Gudenieki. 

The second significant municipal reform took place in July, 2009.  Second level municipalities were abolished altogether, Jūrkalne became part of Ventspils municipality, Gudenieki were absorbed by Kuldīga municipality, but Alsunga municipality remained independent.  Therefore the Suiti Catholic region now is divided into three parts, which are administered by three different municipalities.  In two of those municipalities Suiti make up only negligible minority.  

The total area of the Suiti region is 402 km2.  Total population is around 2800.