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city and port, Latvia, on the west (Baltic Sea) coast at the northern end of Lake Liepaja. First recorded in 1253, when it was a small Kurish settlement, Liepaja was the site of a fortress built by the Knights of the Teutonic Order in 1263. It was created a town in 1625, and in 1697-1703 a canal was cut to the sea and a port was built. In 1701, during the Great Northern War, Liepaja was captured by Charles XII of Sweden, but the end of the war saw the city in Polish possession. It was taken by Russia in the Third Partition of Poland, in 1795.