Courland is one of the historical and cultural regions of Latvia. The regions of Semigallia and Selonia are sometimes considered as part of Courland. It existed as an independent duchy from 1561 to 1795, when it was annexed by Russia. Under Russian rule, Courland was dominated by a local elite of Baltic Germans loyal to the Tsarist government. It was reconstituted by Germany in 1918 as an intended client state, but upon Germany's ultimate defeat at the end of World War I, it became part of the newly independent Latvia. Courland was the scene of fierce fighting between German and Soviet troops during World War II.