Swedish Rule

Livonia under Russian Rule, 1721-1795

Under Russian rule, Livonia continued to enjoy political autonomy, The country recovered from the destruction inflicted during the Great Nordic War. The RITTERSCHAFT remained in control of the LANDTAG as well as of the administration, German continued to be the language of administration, jurisdiction and education as well as the language of the Lutheran state church. The Latvian and Estonian peasants lived in SERFDOM, the living conditions of whom were criticized by philosopher JOHANN GOTTFRIED HERDER.
For Baltic German noblemen, improved career opportunities opened in Russia's diplomatic service, state administration and army. The port city of Riga profited from increasing transit trade to Russia.
In the first Polish Partition of 1772, Russia acquired LATGALE (Polish Livonia), with it's predominantly Catholic population.
In the 1780es, Tsarina CATHERINE II. abolished the RITTERSCHAFT and implemented a number of reforms intended to raise the status of the citizens. Yet under her successor PAUL I., who feared revolutionary spirit, these reforms were annulled in 1796.

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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
History of Livonia, from vernet.tv
Tartu History Timeline, from tartu.ee (Dorpat)
DOCUMENTS Maps : Baltic Lands, 1772, 1795, from Freeman Historical Geography, 1903, posted by Perry Castaneda Library, UTexas
Entry Liefland, in Zedlers Universallexikon 1732, click Index, Index, L, Li, Liefkenshoeck, pp.530-542
Medal : Russia, Free Grain Trade Agreement with Livonia and Estonia, c. 1767, from Medal Web, Collection Benjamin Weiss
REFERENCE David G. Kirby, The Baltic World 1772-1993, London : Longman 1995, pp.23-24

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted in 2000, last revised on November 11th 2004

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