Livonian Confederation

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The Livonian Confederation 1260.

The Livonian Confederation (also Latin Terra Mariana , Marienland ) was a loosely organized confederation of states that existed from 1228 to the 1560s in what is now Estonia and Latvia .


The Livonian Confederation was made up of five smaller states:

  1. The area ruled directly by the Brothers of the Sword (or from 1237 the Teutonic Order )
  2. the Archdiocese of Riga
  3. the diocese of Dorpat
  4. the diocese of Ösel-Wiek
  5. the diocese of Courland

This division was made in 1228 by the papal envoy William of Modena and represented a compromise between the church and the powerful Livonian Order after the German knights conquered the territories of the Estonians and Livs and the Baltic tribes of the Latgals , Selons , Semgallans and Kurds had. The theoretical formula for the division of the land was one third for the Order and two thirds for the Church. In fact, most of Livonia was controlled by the order and disputes between the order, the bishops and the powerful Hanseatic cities were frequent throughout the duration of the confederation. In order to settle internal disputes, the Livonian Landtag was established in 1419 ; the meeting was held in Walk . The Landtag was composed of members of the Livonian Order, the bishops, vassals and representatives of the cities.

All states of the Livonian Confederation lost their independence during the Livonian War (1558 to 1583). In 1561 the Diet decided to place itself under the protection of Sigismund II August , King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania . After the last Archbishop of Riga, Wilhelm von Brandenburg , had to abdicate in 1561 , Riga became a Free Imperial City . Gotthard Ketteler , the last landmaster in Livonia , created after the secularization of the Teutonic Order in Livonia in his capacity as a religious community in the same year with the Duchy of Courland and Semgallia, a secular and Protestant territory under Polish suzerainty .


  • Thomas Lange: Between the Reformation and the fall of old Livonia. The Riga Archbishop Wilhelm von Brandenburg in the network of relationships between the Livonian Confederation and its neighboring countries . Kovač, Hamburg 2014, two volumes, ISBN 978-3-8300-7630-8 .
  • Wilhelm Lenz : “Loyalty to the Holy Roman Empire”? Riga's reservations about a change of rule when the Livonian Confederation was dissolved . In: Ilgvars Misans, Horst Wernicke (Hrsg.): Riga and the Baltic region. From the foundation in 1201 to the early modern period . Herder Institute, Marburg 2005, ISBN 3-87969-319-6 , pp. 249-260.