Population – 1169 (at the beginning of 2019)
Area – 3 km2
Valdemārpils (until 1926 called Sasmaka) is located 16 kilometres north from Talsi, at the shore of Sasmaka Lake. Valdemārpils Town and Ārlava Rural Territory are adjacent to Valdgale, Īve, Lube, Vandzene and Laidze Rural Territories. The total area of the town and the rural territory is 137.5 km2. Valdemārpils got its name only in 1926, when the government of the Republic of Latvia changed the name of the small Sasmaka Town, in order to honour the notable worker of the National Awakening period Krišjānis Valdemārs, which lived here from 1835 until 1845.
The name Sasmaka has originated from the name of the nearby lake and has been used in many different ways (Sansmagen, Sassmaggen, Sassmaken, Saßmacken), whereas the name of Sasmaka Lake possibly originated from the narrowing in the middle of the lake, where nowadays there is a bridge – the only bridge across a lake in Latvia. Valdemārpils is located at Dupurkalns Hillfort (47 metres), in an ancient Livonian Ārlava Castle District territory, which was owned by Couronians from 11th to 13th century. The prehistoric importance of this place can be proven by Idols’ Linden in Sasmaka park, place of worship at Ozoli Sacred Hill and “Devil’s Boats”, characteristic of the Scandinavian culture, in the town’s surroundings. Until the 13th century Ārlava was a part of Vanema land and was mentioned in a contract of 1231 between the Couronians and Baldwin of Alna, the envoy of the pope of Rome. In 1253 after the suppression of the Couronians’ uprising the territory of Ārlava became a part of the Bishopric of Courland. The name Sasmaka was first mentioned in writing in 1582 in the list of fees, when the last bishop of Courland, Magnuss, had already become the vassal of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. It is believed that the forming of traders’ settlement was facilitated by the permit issued in 1570, which allowed the Jews to freely come to the Bishopric of Courland. Then the Sasmaka Village was given to Johan Manteuffel-Szoege and there were 10 houses. The village administration was in Sasmaka Manor owner’s jurisdiction until the end of the 19th century and only in 1894 Sasmaka got its self-government; however, it was relatively conditional. During the First World War, in 1917, the German occupation administration assigned town privileges to Sasmaka Village and Talsi Village.
Nowadays Valdemārpils Town and Ārlava Rural Territory is a part of Talsi County. Valdemārpils has the historic charm characteristic of Courland’s provincial town. At Sasmaka Lake there is a swimming area with well-organized recreational area and tent place, where sports and culture events often take place.