Klaipeda (Lithuanian spelling is Klaip√ęda) is a third largest city in Lithuania. Currently (as in 2001) it has a population of about 210,000. It occupied an area of 63 square kilometres in 1978. Klaipeda is the only big port in Lithuania and is situated on the eastern coast of Baltic Sea. It accounts for about 13% of industrial output of Lithuania. The port is hadling about 15 million tons of cargo every year. There is also a shipyard in Klaipeda. The city is situated in a long thin strip on the coast of Baltic Sea and Curranian Lagoon.

It seems that Baltic tribes lived in the area since the early years of AD. Germans have built a Memelburg castle in 1252AD. Eastwards from the castle, a city began to grow and it had a self-governing right since 1258. Samogitians have plundered the town a few times in the XIIIth-XIVth centuries (1254, 1255, 1257, 1307, 1323, 1360, 1393, 1402, 1409) sometimes burning it to ground. Klaipeda (or Memelburg as it was still called) remained under German influence even after the germans were beaten by the army of the Grand Lithuanian Dukedom in 1410. Klaipeda suffered from a great fire in 1540. In 1593 shipyard was built and it was used to build merchant ships.

Klaipeda was majorly a german city, with just a few Lithuanians living in it for most of middle ages. In 1757-1762 Klaipeda was under Russian control and it was a significant port then (about 500 ships entered the port in 1770, and more than a thousand in 1792). Klaipeda became a residence place for a king of Prussia in 1807-08. 1840 was the year when the city started building ironclads. The late XIXth century brought rail to Klaipeda. The city thrived because of good transportation, lumber and wheat trade. In 1900 the first power plant was built and in 1904 tram line was opened.

In 1923 Klaipeda came under Lithuanian rule (after a revolt)

Population of Klaipeda (thousands)
1782      5.5
1837      9.0
1861     17.5
1905     20.7
1925     36.0
1939     51.0
1959     90.0
1970    140.0
1978    175.2
1995    210.7

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