The Dukes of Courland
The Kettler dynasty continued for six generations of dukes. Three of them married princesses of Brandenburg. The most important of them was Duke Jakob (who ruled Courland from 1642 until 1682). He founded the first German-speaking colonies in Gambia and Tobago. After the first dynasty had died out, Ernst Johann v. Bühren, later called v. Biron, was able to ascend to the duchy (ahead of numerous competitors). He was the favorite of the last Kettler duke's widow, who ascended to the Russian throne in 1730 as the Tsarina Anna. His son Peter, for whom the Berlin service of porcelain 'Kurland' was designed, abdicated in 1795 upon the Third Partition of Poland.