Šventoji is an important archaeological site as the first artifacts are dated about 3000 BC. A famous cane shaped as moose head was also found in the town. It is a former fishermen village now turned into a tourist town. The town always struggled to develop a port, which had to compete with nearby Klaipėda and Liepāja. Larger port was constructed in the second half of the 17th century, especially when in 1679 it was leased to English merchants. It was destroyed in 1701 during the Great Northern War. During the times of the Russian Empire (1795–1915) the port was moribund and began developing again only when it became part of Lithuania in 1921. Two piers were constructed, but they were frequently covered in sand. Thus it never grew into a bigger port.

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