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Suiti history

The historic Suiti region has been densely populated since very ancient times. Three castle mounds: Dižgabalkalns, Leiškalni and Basi have been important population centers long before arrival of Christianity in 1231.

For most of its history Alsunga has been called in its old name – Alšvanga. The origins of this name can be found in both Livonian and Prussian (not any more used) languages and their meaning is – a low wet plece where alder trees grow. Actually plenty of alder trees still today grow along the banks of Kauliņupe river. Alšvanga was first mentioned in a 1230 contract between Curonians and Balduin von Alna – the local representative of the Pope Gregory IX. According to this contract, Curonians agreed to become Christians, pay dues and participate in wars against pagans. In return they received a promise to be free until they will hold on to the Catholic church. Based on this agreement a bishop was appointed with a seat in Klaipēda. One copy of this contract has survived until present days in the Archives of the Vatican City.

The name Alšvanga existed until 1950, when it was replaced by the current name Alsunga. Such a decision was based on the belief of some Soviet officials, that Alšvanga sounded too German. Nevertheless, no connection to the German language has ever been proven. Today both names are sometimes used in paralel, even though Alsunga is the official name.

Impact of Livonian language can still today be found in a number of local place names. It is believed, that this area until 14th century was predominantly inhabited by this small Finno-Ugric nation. Some words in the Suiti language and some aspects of Suiti grammar can be attributed to early Livonian heritage.

In 1234 Balduin von Alna was replaced by the Bishop of Modena – Wilhelm.

In 1245 the Livonian Order (a local branch of Teutonic Order) and bishop of Courland agreed on the main principles, according which to divide land in Courland. Two thirds of the land had to become property of the Order and remaining one third had to become property of the Bishop of Courland.

In 1253 Master of Livonian Order Eberhard of Saina and Bishop of Courland Heinrich signed agreement of division of Courland. As the result of this agreement, Alsunga region goes to the Livonian Order. It also becomes clear, that Curonians will not receive any help from the Pope.

In 1298 the Bishop of Courland moves its residence from Klaipēda to Piltene in Courland.

In 1341 Komtur of Kuldiga reports to the Master that in Alsunga there is a fortified house (ein festes haus), probably build around the same time. There are 40 female hourses in Alsunga that year.

In 1372 a fortified castle was built in Alsunga. Stone was used as the main construction material. Castle had a square layout and its Eastern wing was used as living quarters. Southern wing was used for storage and other purposes.

Two fortification towers were added later. It is believed that the North-Eastern tower was erected around the end of 14th century, begining of 15th century, and at first it had only two levels above the ground. South-Western tower with three levels above the ground was added at some time in the 16th century. At the same time also two more levels were added to the North-Eastern tower.

In some document from 1555, it is mentioned that castles in Durbe, Aizpute, Alsunga, Skrunda and Sabile were abandoned (not inhabited) and used only as storage houses. Only castle in Kuldiga was fortified and had a garizon.

During collapse of the Livonian Order in 1560, the last Master (and next Duke of Courland) Gotthard Kettler gave Alsunga region away to his advisor Friedrich von Kanitz, who later in 1569 served as his ambassador in Poland.

In 1561 Gotthard Kettler, now already Duke of Courland, became a Lutheran and handed over all four remaining (after the war) churches and nine chapels to the Protestants. Folowing Catholic faith became a punishable criminal offence until 1617.

Around 1567 Friedrich von Kanitz constructed a wooden Lutheran church in Alsunga. As overall situation with churches in Courland after Livonian wars was very poor, the Landtag of Courland decided to build 70 new churches (also some schools and poorhouses). Financing of this great plan was largely assumed by the Duke Gotthard Kettler himself. In churches bells had to be tolled three times daily to call citizens to prayers against “devil, tyrants, Pope, Turks and their supporters”.

In 1573 (according to other sources in 1574) Fiedrich von Kanitz sold his Alsunga property to Marshal of Courland and Semigallia, Jacob von Schwerin. Jacob soon also purchased Jūrkalne area to expand his estate to the sea coast.

Some time between 1590 and 1610, the first church was built in Jūrkalne. According to the local legend, the first church was built by a sea captain who in a strong storm survived here sunking of his ship. From this event supposedly comes the old name of Jūrkalne – Felixberg (or the lucky coast). Still today this wonderful escape is commemorated by an old sailing ship model hanging from the ceiling in Jūrkalne church. The original site of the church has long ago been swallowed by the advancing sea. The present church stands on a different site.

In 1617 the ban on activities of the Catholic church in Courland was officially lifted.

In 1625 (although some later years are also mentioned) the current stone church in Alsunga was built in honour to its patron Archangel Michael. At the same time in Alsunga October 16 was dedicated as the date for organizing annual markets.

Son of Jacob von Schwerin, Johan Ulrich von Schwerin, heir to the Alsunga estate, while in his military service in Warsaw (as a commander of a royal cavalry squadron) during a court ball fell in love with a beautiful polish aristocrat Barbara Konarska. To get approval to his marriage from the bride’s parents, Johan had to become Catholic. Marriage took place in 1623. As Jacob von Schwerin, his father, was strictly against this marriga, the couple had to live for nine years in the Konarsky estate Gentiliski near Vilnius. During this time Johan made good career in the court of Sigismund III, King of Poland.

Johan Ulrich von Schwerin returns to Alsunga in 1632, immediately after his father’s death. And as one of the first things he starts to convert all the residents on his estate into Catholics. In the same year (according to other sources in 1634) Johan hands over Alsunga church together with its branch in Jūrkalne to the new Catholic congregation. He also invited help of Jesuits, for whom Alsunga for a long time became one of their two most important bases in Courland.

In order to better distinguish Catholics from Protestants Johan required his peasants to wear a special uniform, elements of which still today can be seen in the traditional dresses of the Suiti community. Women had to wear bright red, green, blue wide skirts, but men had to wear grey coats with two rows of bright buttons. Catholics on the estate also received a number of priviliges. For example, a Catholic did not have to give a way to a Protestant on the road. On the contrary, he had to drive his carriage so, that the Protestant’s carriage would end up in a dich. It was also allowed to beat and insult Protestants at every opportunity. Both Johan Ulrich and also his wife Barbara donated plots of land to the Church.

In the beginning, the neighbouring land owners did not pay much attention to the activities of Johan Ulrich. Because he was acting within his property and was not breaking the law. This changed in 1636 (other sources mention 1634) when church and its estate was handed over to the Bishop of Samogitia Georg Tyszkiewicz, who immediately expelled the local Protestant cleric Lisander from its residence in Alsunga. At this point situtation became so tense, that Vladislav, King of Poland, himself had to intervene to calm things down. By his decision, churches of Alsunga and Jūrkalne were formally handed over to Catholics. Johan Ulrich was poisoned by Protestants. Local legend says, he was invited to a meeting in Reģi estate by neighbouring Protestant landowners to negotiate conditions, upon which Ēdole church could also be handed ower to Catholics. There he was given poisoned food. Johan Ulrich died near Raibuļas farm on the way back to Alsunga, shortly before reaching his doctor. This happened in May, 1637.

During the reign of Duke Friedrich, Alsunga was an important, fast growing population center in the region between towns of Ventspils and Liepāja. This develoment slowed down after Johan Urlich von Schwerin required all inhabitants to become Catholics. Those, who did not want to agree, simply had to leave. Almost all traders and artisans left at that time. Almost the whole 17th century Alsunga then stagnated. Even though owners of the estate tried to improve situation by moving peasants to the village, their Catholic fanaticism did not let it happen.

After the local Protestant cleric Lisander was expelled from Alsunga in the moring of the Day of Holy Trinity, he delivered his famous farewell sermon under an old linden tree near Ķinķi farm. In this sermon he foresaw that the Catholics will stay in Alsunga only as long as this Linden wil stay green. But as soon as the tree will some day die, Protestants will return. Then he offered his remaining followers the Last Supper, and they spread in different directions. Later people started to consider this linden tree as a saint place. They came here to pray and to deliver offerings. At some time even a small chapel was built here, where candles were lit on Sundays. It was believed that different wonders can happen in this place.

In 1637 Alsunga estate is inherited by Johan Felix von Schwerin. After his death (around 1649), estate is taken over by Christoph Johan von Schwerin.

When in 1659, during the war between Sweden and Poland (1655-1660), Swedish soldiers arrived in Alsunga, they met two Polish companies. Swedes came in the month of March from Kuldiga. They attacked, beat the Poles, took 40 of them as prisoners, captured two flags and looted the village. Soon a general Berg of Courlanders arrived with 300 cavalrymen and a large number of supporting peasants. He organized a siege of Alsunga castle, overpowered the Swedes, killed most of them, freed the captured prisoners and recovered the looted goods. According the local legend for this battle the local castle mound was constructed to place a canon battery. It may hold some truth, as its name – Dižgabalkalns – actually means a hill for canons.

Alsunga castle was badly damaged during the fighting. Its Eastern wing was so much destroyed, that it was never rebuit. Instead, the Southern wing was adapted for living.

In 1670, the main residence of Jesuits in Courland was moved to its capital – Jelgava. Other missions, largest of which were located in Alsunga and Skaistkalne (smaller missions were also in Bauska, Līvbērze and Kuldīga), were subordinated to the main residence.

In 1681 Alsunga estate is inherited by Johan Antoniuss von Schwerin.

In 1715, the Bishop of Livonia Krzysztof Antoni Szembek reported to the Pope Clement XI, that in his Bishopric after the wars and plague only two Catholic churches remain intact. They were in Alsunga and Kuldīga, both in very poor condition. The congregation in Alsunga had been reduced from 20 000 to only 2000. And even they due to lack of Catholic pastors have had to go for marriages to the clerics of other Christian churches. The walls of Alsunga church had been badly damaged and it was standing practically without roof. The very much needed rapairs started only in 1714, partially financed by the donation of 100 Hungarian gold thalers by the Apostolic Nuncius. The owner of the estate had lost everything during the war and was unable to support the church rebuilding work.

Around 1715, the famous Duch wood carver Johan Merten was working in Alsunga. For the church he has made sculptures of Saint Peter and Saint John (both now integrated into the altar) as well as a wooden baptising table, decorated with grape wines. In this year, due to lack of other churches, all Catholics in Piltene district were also served from Alsunga.

In 1728, Alsunga estate was inherited by Wladislaw George von Schwerin, which in 1738 (also 1767 is mentioned) had to sell (he had no children) the whole estate to Ernst Johan Biron. In 1737, Ernst Johan became the Duke of Courland. The new owner rented out the estate to different noblemen.

In the Alsunga castle inventory report of 1740 it was stated, that overall condition of buildings is very poor. Only some walls remained of the Eastern wing and only four rooms in the Southern wing could be inhabited. The rest of rooms in the Southern wing had no ceilings. Of the two towers North-Eastern was in good condition. South-Western tower was abandoned and not used at all. The surrounding fortification wall was collapsing.

In 1741 the reconstruction of the Southern wing was completed. During this reconstruction design of windows was changed. The main entrance was made in the middle of the wing.

According to inventory reports, in 1744 there was only one outhose in the whole castle, accessible from the tower. In 1757 the second one was reported in the Eastern wall of the main building. In 1763, the third was mentioned in the outer wall of the chimney chamber.

Only in the second part of the 18th century, when the strict religious policies of the Schwerin family were not any more inforced, Alsunga village started to show signs of gradual economic recovery.

In 1772, the main building of the Church estate was built.

In 1774, the current stone wall was constructed around the Alsunga church cemetery.

In 1784, during a Sunday church service, a boy burnt down stables, cow-sheds and other household buildings on the Church estate. Duke of Courland Peter von Biron and leaseholder Casimir Friedrich Otien both provided financial assistance to rebuild the buildings.

In 1786, with funding from the Duke Peter von Biron, construction of the new church in Jūrkalne was completed. It was dedicated to Saint Peter.

In 1795, Duchy of Courland was annected by Russia. As the Russian state took over all properties of the Duke, Alsunga estate also became state property. An inventory was made, in which Western and Northern wings of the castle were first mentioned. Both were built some time between 1763 and 1795. Northern wing was occupied by three horse stables.

In 1796, Duke of Courland Peter von Biron received 100 thousand Albert thalers from the Russian state as compensation for his lost property.

Alsunga estate remained property of the Russian state until 1915. All this time it was managed by the Russian State Property Management Administration, which rented it out to leaseholders. Usually length of these contracts did not exceed 12 years. The fact, that Alsunga estate was state rather than private property, gave more freedoms to local peasants. Sometimes this is given as one of explanations for the straight language, stubborn individualism and general lack of respect for authorities so characteristic to the Suiti.

In 1817, according to the Law on Abolishing Serfdom in Courland, all peasants became free people. With this law Peasant municipalities (bauern gemeinde) as a form of peasant self-government were established. Every estate had its elected peasant self-government and every peasant had to legally belong to one of the peasant municipalities.

Starting from 1819 until 1950, Alsunga was included into the Aizpute administrative region. Before 1819 it was center of the Alsunga castle region, which included such (larger and smaller) state owned estates as: Alsunga, Grāveri, Blintene, Gudenieki, Jaunā muiža, Adze, Stirnumuiža, Basi, Jūrkalne as well as the following private estates: Reģi, Almāle, Todaiži, Birži, Cērende and Pievīkas. State owned estates where the ones, which originally where property of the Schwerin family, on which Johan Ulrich von Schwerin converted all residents into Catholics.

In 1822, owner of Birži estate donated land and provided construction materials, from which local peasants were building the first school in the area.

In 1859, first municipal school opened in Alsunga.

In 1862, once again new church was inaugurated in Jūrkalne. This time it was dedicated to Saint Joseph. In this year Jūrkalne congregation formally separated from Alsunga congregation.

In 1870, bell tower was added to the Jūrkalne church.

In 1871, the first theater performance was staged in Alsunga.

In 1876, the new municipal school building (so called Red school) was constructed in Alsunga. Until the WWI, instruction there was done in Russian language.

In 1882, Alsunga church was significantly expanded by adding two side wings. As a result, the church obtained its current cross-like form.

In 1883, another shcool was opened in Gudenieki. In one end of the building a room was set up to carry out church services. Also a small appartment was made for the local pastor. School burnt down in 1892, but re-opened in 1894.

In 1893, an organ is installed in Alsunga church. The instrument was built by Friedrich Veisenborn in Jēkabpils.

In 1897 altogether 74 837 Catholics were registered in Courland. Of them 12 percent (9000) were living in the Suiti community.

In 1899, first brass band and a choir were set up in Alsunga.

From 1903 to 1908, several brick bell towers were built in local cemeteries. Some of them were also used as gates (in Pantu, Irbes, Rudumu and Dūru cemeteries), but others were free standing (Lapu, Lipšņu, Strēļu cemeteries).

In 1904, a local vicarius on a Midsummer night, with a group of young men, cut down and burnt the famous Ķinķi linden tree. That was the same three, that many people considered sacred, the same tree, under which the last Protestant cleric Lisander made his farewell cermon in 1636.

The events of 1905 revolution started with a strike of workers in Almāle estate on March 10. Their demands were mostly economic. In July and August this was followed by a larger strike, in which workers of Alsunga, Blintene, Grāveri and Birži estates were also involved. After the Manifesto of October 17, people became more active. A protest march with red flags and revolutionary songs was staged in Alsunga on 6th of November. Around 3000 people participated. After the march, a meeting continued in the Red school. There participants took the decision to elect the Alsunga Revolutionary Committee, which immediately took over the municipality. Portrait of the Car was thrown out of the municipality building. Revolutionary Committe decided to confiscate all estates and their property.

The Russian government soon responded by cracking down on the revolutionaries. Punitive expedition arrived in Alsunga on January 27, 1906. It was stationed in the municipality building and consisted of 2 officers and 50 soldiers. Altogether in Alsunga 5 persons were executed and 25 arrested. A number of persons from Jūrkalne were also arrested and executed.

According to a publication from 1908, Alsunga congregation consisted of: 2 churches, 4 pastors, 3 schools, 6 teachers, 3 municipal administration buildings, 1 water mill, 1 wind mill, 1 pharmacy, 1 alcohol (monopoly) shop, 3 inns, a dosen of shops, 1 tee shop, but there were no doctor.

In 1910, the central painting of Saint Michael, which still today decorates the altar in Alsunga church, was painted.

In 1911, the first credit union was established in Alsunga.

In 1915 the WWI started. German army occupied Kuldīga on April 24. Massive movement of people took places as many left their homes to escape the advancing German forces. In 1915 there were only 230 000 persons remaining in Courland, whereas before the war Couland had 800 000 inhabitants. Representatives from Schwerin family visited Alsunga in this year.

In 1917, the first underground group of social democrats was established. In one year it already had 32 members.

In 1918, a new law came into effect, by which also estates came under jurisdiction of local municipalities.

In January 27, 1919 the Red army occupied Kuldīga. A group of men from Alsunga joined them. On February 13, the local German Home Guard (Landeswehr) units regained control of Kuldīga. 14 men from Alsunga died in the fighting on the Red army side. Altogether 30 men from Alsunga were killed in this and other fighting episodes.

In 1920, a temporaty wooden church was constructed in Gudenieki. Also a local congregation was established. The new church was dedicated to the Saint John the Baptist.

In 1921, Alsunga Culture Foundation was established. It had its own building, a library and 86 members. The main building of Birži estate was given over to the local school against the will of former owners.

Alsunga municipality took over the Southern and Western wings of Alsunga castle. Cooperative of milk producers was established in Alsunga.

In 1923, a Catholic youth organization “Klints” was established in Alsunga. It had 120 members. The second credit union was also created with 176 members. The first credit union in this year already had 201 member. The Northen wing of the castle was given over to the cooperative of milk producers.

In 1924, the Suiti for the first time demonstrated their singing, music and wedding rituals in Riga.

In 1925, the Suiti wedding ritual was again staged in Riga.

In 1926 (according other sorces in 1927), Alsunga Culture Foundation built a cultural center in the place of former Eastern wing of the castle. It consisted of a hall and a stage.

In 1927, illiteratecy in the Suiti region strongly exceeded the Latvian average. If in Latvia (without the Eastern Latgale) 5,19% were illiterate, in Courland – 7,62%, in Aizpute region – 11,29, but among Suiti municipalities in Jūrkalne – 10,79%, Basi – 16,48%, Alsunga – 23,16% and Gudenieki – 23,47%. Particularly high was illiteracy among the Suiti women. For example, in Alsunga illiteracy among men was 15,98%, but among women 28,84%. This year a small printing press started its operation in Alsunga. Mostly it was printing various religious materials, booklets and books.

In 1928, in Alsunga the newspaper “Vērotājs” was published two times a week . It was published by the local association of NGOs. Jūrkalne lost its old name – Felixberg. The change was done to with the aim to replace non-Latvian place names with Latvian ones. Jūrkalne can be roughly translated as “place of sea hills”.

In 1929, construction of the railway line Liepāja – Alsunga was started. It was designed with a gauge width of 750 mm.

In 1930, construction of the permanent church was started in Gudenieki.

In 1932, the railway line Liepāja – Alsunga was completed.

In 1933, the first song festival was organized in Alsunga to commemorate 60 year anniversary of the first Latvian song festival. Altogether 21 mixed choirs and 3 men’s choirs as well as one military orchestra participated. A brass-band was set up in Gudenieki.

After the 1934 overturn of the government (coup), all left-wing organizations across the country were closed. Alsunga Worker’s Foundation and Alsunga Culture Foundation as a result were closed in the Suiti region. A narrow gauge line Kuldīga – Alsunga was completed. New school was opened in Gudenieki.

In 1935, in Alsunga municipality it was 3365 inhabitants, in Basi municipality – 874, in Gudenieki municipality – 1662, but in Jūrkalne municipality – 1153. So, in the whole Suiti region – 7054. In Gudenieki, 99,46% of the population were ethnic Latvians – the highest percentage in the surrounding area.

Alsunga municipality took a decision to expand the Western wing of the castle for needs of local school. There was only one car in Alsunga, owned by the owner of the water mill. This year a unique film was produced on Suiti wedding rituals.

In 1936, according to the new political guidelines, all books in libraries were reviewed. And the ones, not considered proper were eliminated.

In 1938, the reconstruction of the Western wing was completed. A second storey was added to the building. Once again a singing festival was organized in Alsunga. For this event, a special open air theater with 600 seats was constructed in Ziedleja.

In 1939, the new school building in the castle was formally inaugurated. Suiti folk dancers participated in the Third International Folk Dance Festival in Stockholm.

In 1940, Latvia was occupied by the Soviet Union. Preparation of a special Suiti wedding performance was started, to be performed in Moscow in the autumn of 1941. First pioneer (young communist) organization was set up in Gudenieki.

In the beggining of 1941, the local Communist party branch in Alsunga had 9 full members and 1 candidate. In the church estate, a tractor station was organized with 6 caterpillar and 2 smaller tractors.

In deportations on June 14, from Alsunga 7 families with 24 persons (of them 11 children) were deported to far away regions, mostly in Russian Siberia. 9 persons died in exile. From Gudenieki – 5 families with 18 persons (of which 7 children), 5 died in exile. From Basi – 3 families with 10 persons (of which 4 children), 4 died in exile.

The WWII started. In 1942, near Bierandi farm, two soviet agents died in a fight with local policemen. They were parashooted behind the front line.

In 1944, a soviet guerilla unit (headed by a local – Andrejs Macpans) had its base not far away from Alsunga. This was one of the most active such units in Courland. It was scattered in February 1945, after killing of their commander. Construction of Alsunga – Liepāja railway line was completed by German army.

German forces in Alsunga capitulated on May 9, 1945. Incoming Russian soldiers soon became well known for their obsession with looting and robbery. Sometimes they visited the same farm several times per day. A group of Red army soldiers died in Alsunga after driking technical spirits left by Germans. They were berried in Kalnbirzes cemetery. Alsunga fire-fighting station was constructed.

In 1948, first collective farms were organized: “Spars” in Alsunga and “Sarkanais strēlnieks” and “Blāzma” in Gudenieki. They all received financial grants from the Soviet government.

In the deportations of March 25, 1949, to remote areas of Russian Siberia, 63 families from Alsunga municipality were deported, consisting of 193 persons, of which 65 were children. 14 persons died in exile. From Gudenieki municipality 42 families, 143 persons, of which 44 children, 25 died in exile. From Basi municipality, 17 families, 43 persons, of which 10 children, 4 died in exile.

Deportations rapidly accelerated establishment of collective farms. In 1949, four new collective farms were created in Alsunga, three in Basi and one in Gudenieki municipalities.

In 1950, Alsunga became center of an administrative region. The old name “Alšvanga” was formally replaced by the artificially designed name “Alsunga” to escape possible (but groundless) linguistic associations with German language. A local newspaper “Alsungas boļševiks” was published. A hospital with 50 beds was opened in Alsunga. Small collective farms were merged to form more productive, bigger ones.

In 1951, a local policemen Millers and director of a collective farm Štūls were killed.

In 1953, the local newspaper was re-named for “Uzvaras ceļš” (road to wictory).

In 1955, Alsunga folk group was created. The name Suitu sievas (Suiti women) appeared later, in the seventies.

In 1956, Alsunga administrative region was liquidated. Jūrkalne was joined to Ventspils region, but Alsunga, Basi and Gudenieki to Kuldiga region.

No 1950. līdz 1956. gadam pastāv Alsungas rajons, bet pēc 1956. gada Alsunga un Gudenieki kļūst par Kuldīgas rajona sastāvdaļu, savukārt Jūrkalne tiek pievienota Ventspils rajonam. Šāda situācija saglabājās līdz pat 2009. gadam.

In 1961, merging of collective farms continued. Alsunga collective farm was created by joining Stalin’s collective farm and “Komunisma ceļš” (Road to Communism) collective farm.

In 1963, oil was found in Gudenieki. Quantities were considered rather small and no attempts to extract it were made.

In 1965, Gudenieki folk group was established.

In 1967, a new cultural center was opened in Alsunga. Alsunga museum was inaugurated. Alsunga folk group performed on stage in Moscow.

In 1968, the Northern wing of Alsunga castle burnt down.

In 1973, a theatrical performance of Suiti wedding was staged. Altogether 45 performances in 22 places were made.

In 1975, the current open air theater was completed in Ziedleja. First biological waste water treatment plant started its operation in Alsunga.

In 1977, Alsunga music school was opened. Alsunga folk group is again performing in Moscow.

In the end of 1970s, the Southern wing of Alsunga castle became uninhabited. Only the old cellars were still used, mostly for storing fruits and vegetables.

In 1979, Alsunga kindergarten was opened with 140 places.

In 1986, the new building of Alsunga Secondary school was opened. It was built for 470 children.

In 1988, Alsunga branch of the National Front (at that time a popular pro-independence movement) was set up.

In 1989, Latvian national flag was again raised on top of the South Western tower in Alsunga castle.

In 1991, a new building for the Elementary school was opened in Jūrkalne.

In 1993, a local newspaper “Suitu Vēstis” was published in Alsunga. Altogether only 9 issues were printed.

In 2001, Ethnic Culture Center Suiti Foundation was established.

In 2004, the First International Drone Singing Festival was organized in Alsunga, Basi, Gudenieki and Jūrkalne.

In 2005, a storm with wind speeds of up to 140 km/h made significant damage to local forests. It took one year to gradually clean up the damages. Some farms as a result stayed without electricity for up to four weeks.

In 2006, events of the International Folk Festival Baltica are staged in Alsunga, Basi, Gudenieki and Jūrkalne.

In 2007, as a result of a tragic fire accident, 26 persons died in Reģi institution for mentally disabled. Government took a decision to move the institution to Gudenieki.

As part of the local municipality amalgamation reform, Gudenieki municipality decided to join Kuldīga, Jūrkalne municipality decided to join Ventspils, but Alsunga decided to stay independent. The tradition of annual pilgrimages to Žemaišu Kalvaria in Lithuania was restored. Restored was also the tradition of May singing events at roadside crosses. Second International Drone Singing Festival was organized. Folk groups from Georgia, Hungary, France and Estonia participated.

Two new NGOs were established: “Suitu novada atdzimšana” Foundation and “Suitu novads” Foundation. To strengthen Alsunga position in the municipality amalgamation process, a local referendum was organized in Alsunga. Out fo 332 votes cast, 301 were for Alsunga to stay as independent municipality, 29 for joining of Kuldīga municipality, but 2 for joining of Ventspils municipality. The famous Suiti protest was organized in front of the Latvian government building in Riga.

Polish oil exploration company was involved in Adzes (Gudenieki) to reopen the abandoned oil wells for possible exploration.

In 2008, the first ATM was installed in Alsunga by AS Latvijas Krājbanka. Soon it was followed by an ATM of Latvijas hipotēku un zemes banka in Jūrkalne.

Alsunga municipality and some individuals submited claims to the Constitutional Court to insure, that Alsunga municipality, as the only one remaining Suiti municipality, can stay independent. The National government wanted to include Alsunga into Kuldīga municipality against the will of the local Suiti community.

Lighting was installed around the perimeter of Alsunga church. Suiti flag was raised above Alsunga castle and near the church. Preparation of the UNESCO nomination file was started.

In November, “Suitu novads” Foundation threatened that the Suiti region during next municipal elections for one day will declare independence from Latvia. This day would be used to organize alternative municipal elections, uneless the national Parliament will agree to preserve independent Alsunga municipality. This news made big headlines in the national press and was very well received by Russian media.

In December, the Parliament decided to allow Alsunga municipality to remain independent. This essentially meant, that the small Suiti community could still maintain political power and influence in one half of the historic Suiti area, on which two thirds of the Suiti population live.

In September 2009, the First Saint Michael Festival was organized. On October 1, UNESCO in its fourth Intergovernmental Conference meeting in Abu Dhabi, inscribed Suiti Cultural Space into its List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding. Eleven other nominations were accepted from such countries as China (three), Mongolia (three), France, Vietnam, Kenya, Mali and Belarus.

In 2010 the Third International Drone singing festival was organized in Alsunga, Gudenieki, Jūrkalne and Basi. Folk group “Basu suiti” was established.

In 2011 a fish meal plant started its operations in Alsunga.

In 2012 Alsunga cultural center opened after reconstruction.

In 2014 folk group of bagpipers “Suitu dūdinieki” was established.

In 2021, as part of a state wide municipal reform, the last remaining suiti municipality of Alsungas novads was abolished. Such a decision in the responsible parliamentary comission was made with a majority of one vote.