1199-1346 1525-1561

Livonia 1346-1525

With the acquisition of hitherto Danish ESTONIA in 1346, the state of the Livonian Order had reached it's full extension.
The BLACK PLAGUE which hit Livonia in 1348 marks the beginning of a protracted crisis. the Baltic trade had reached it's climax, the Russia trade actually declined, having an impact on the cities of Reval, Riga and Dorpat, which, together with Visby on Gotland, formed the LIVONIAN QUARTER within the Hanseatic League. Soon, piracy emerged as another threat, not only to the prosperity of the cities - communication with Germany was vital to the Livonian state.
In 1419 the first LANDTAG is recorded, the Livonian diet in which the nobles dominated. Landmeister and Landtag were the preeminent political institutions of the country.
Livonia suffered from frequent wars fought outside of Livonia, such as the Prussian Civil War 1453-1466, from Danish civil wars (1437-1449, 1523-1525); such wars often served as an excuse for piracy.
Livonia was a federation of numerous elements; decisions made by the Landtag depended on consensus which made the implementation of reforms rather difficult. Ecclesiastically, the bishopric of Reval continued to be under the Archbishop of Lund (Denmark), as Estonia technically was only temporarily Livonian.

For northern German merchants and noblemen, Livonia continued to offer career opportunities.

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Courland, Livonia and Estonia. Confidential Handbooks No.57, 1919, from the British Foreign Office, posted on the Web by jewishgen.org
The Estonian Middle Ages (1200-1558), from Estonica
Medieval Livonian Numismatics, essay by William Urban, from Journal of Baltic Studies 1993 pp.37-52

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted on January 5th 2002, last revised on November 11th 2004

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