For the welfare of Latvia, for the welfare of Russia: Krišjānis Valdemārs and Russian fleet
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For the welfare of Latvia, for the welfare of Russia: Krišjānis Valdemārs and Russian fleet
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Krišjānis Valdemārs (Christian Val’demar; 1825–1891) was the leader of the Latvian national awakening, an outstanding public figure in the Russian Empire and one of the Russian merchant fleet’s founders. While a student of the Dorpat University, he began his investigations of merchant fleet’s importance for the Russia’s economical development in the second part of 19th century. His first aim was to find the most perspective variant for Latvians and Estonians economical liberation of the serfdom and increasing their well-being. His works dealt with the development of the merchant marine. Valdemārs got higher support from the curator of the Russian marine great duke Konstantin Nikolaevich who used his experience in the working-out of the program of the military marine reformation. In his turn, Valdemārs expounded to K.N. his plans of the rapid development of the Russia’s merchant fleet, the main aspects of which were: 1) the foundation of small ship-yards for building of coasters and ocean sailors; 2) the opening of free navigation schools which would be available for the lower social groups. Valdemārs’ projects were to a marked degree realized after the 1867th year edict of the foundation of navigation classes and the creation in December, 1873 of the “Imperial Society for the help of the Russia’s merchant marine”. Till his death in November 1891 Valdemārs was the member-record-keeper of the Society. Holding this post he was a curator of navigation classes, worked out educational programs for future navigators, edited “Proceedings” (“Izvestija”) of the Society, lent different kinds of support to shipbuilders, organized edition of the 11-languages dictionary of merchant marine terms. He also took an active part in the discussing the problems of the Free will (Dobrovol’nyi) and oil-tankers’ fleets in Russian. At his latest years Valdemārs was engaged in working out the problem of building steamships in Russia. Some military seamen and public figures were against many Valdemars’ actions. Nevertheless he enjoyed wide popularity and authority among navigators and ship-builders especially on the Baltic seacoast.
Russian Empire, Baltic Provinces, Krišjānis Valdemārs, Latvian national awakening, Russian merchant fleet, navigation, sailing, navigation schools, Russian free-will (voluntary) navy
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