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Memel was unsuccessfully besieged by Sambians in 1255, and the scattered Sambians submitted by 1259.

Memel was colonized by settlers from Holstein, Lübeck and Dortmund, hence Memel also being known at the time as Neu-Dortmund, or "New Dortmund".

According to Samogitian folk etymology, the name Klaipėda refers to the boggy terrain of the town (klaidyti=obstruct and pėda=foot).

Documents for its foundation were signed by Eberhard and Bishop Heinrich von Lützelburg of Courland on 29 July 1252 and 1 August 1252.

Master Conrad von Thierberg used the fortress as a base for further campaigns along the Neman River and against Samogitia.

It became the main town of the Diocese of Curonia, with a cathedral and at least two parochial churches, but the development of the castle became the dominant priority.

According to different sources, Memel received Lübeck city rights in 1254 In the spring and summer of 1323, a Lithuanian army led by Gediminas came up the Neman and laid siege to the castle of Memel after conquering the town, and devastated Sambia, forcing the Order to sue for a truce in October.

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