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Europe in 9th century

Livonia (Livonian: Līvõmō, Latvian and Lithuanian: Livonija; Estonian: Liivimaa; Finnish: Liivinmaa; German and Swedish: Livland; Polish: Inflanty, Liwlandia; Russian: Лифляндия / Liflyandiya) was once the land of the Finnic Livonians inhabiting the principal ancient Livonian County Metsepole with its center at Turaida. The most prominent ruler of ancient Livonia was Caupo of Turaida.

During the Livonian Crusade, ancient Livonia was colonized by the Livonian Brothers of the Sword, later called the Livonian Order, and the name Livonia came to designate a much broader territory: Terra Mariana on the eastern coasts of the Baltic Sea, in present-day Latvia and Estonia. Its frontiers are the Gulf of Riga and the Gulf of Finland in the north-west, Lake Peipus and Russia to the east, and Lithuania to the south.

Livonia was inhabited by various Baltic and Finnic peoples, ruled by an upper class of Baltic Germans. Over the course of time, some nobles were polonized into the Polish-Lithuanian nobility (Szlachta) or russified into the Russian nobility (Dvoryanstvo).



Livonia in Europe, 1190 CE

Beginning in the 12th century, Livonia was an area of economic and political expansion by Danes and Germans, particularly by the Hanseatic League and the Cistercian Order. Around 1160, Hanseatic traders from Lübeck established a trading post on the site of the future city of Riga, which Albrecht von Buxthoeven founded in 1201. He ordered the construction of a cathedral and became the first Prince-Bishop of Livonia.

Livonian Brothers of the Sword 1204-1237

Baltic Tribes, ca 1200.

Bishop Albert of Riga (Albert of Buxhoeveden) founded the military order of the Livonian Brothers of the Sword (Latin: Fratres militiæ Christi Livoniae, German: Schwertbrüderorden) in 1202; Pope Innocent III sanctioned the establishment in 1204. The membership of the order comprised German "warrior monks". Alternative names of the order include the Christ Knights, Sword Brethren, and The Militia of Christ of Livonia. Following their defeat by Lithuania in the Battle of Saule in 1236, the surviving Brothers merged into the Teutonic Order as an autonomous branch and became known as the Livonian Order.

Livonian Brothers

Albert, bishop of Riga (or Prince-Bishop of Livonia), founded the Brotherhood to aid the Bishopric of Riga in the conversion of the pagan Curonians, Livonians, Semigallians, and Latgalians living on the shores of the Gulf of Riga. From its foundation, the undisciplined Order tended to ignore its supposed vassalage to the bishops. In 1218, Albert asked King Valdemar II of Denmark for assistance, but Valdemar instead arranged a deal with the Brotherhood and conquered the north of Estonia for Denmark. The Brotherhood had its headquarters at Fellin (Viljandi) in present-day Estonia, where the walls of the Master's castle still stand. Other strongholds included Wenden (Cēsis), Segewold (Sigulda) and Ascheraden (Aizkraukle). The commanders of Fellin, Goldingen (Kuldīga), Marienburg (Alūksne), Reval (Tallinn), and the bailiff of Weißenstein (Paide) belonged to the five-member entourage of the Order's Master.

Seal of the Livonian Brothers

Pope Gregory IX asked the Brothers to defend Finland from the Novgorodian attacks in his letter of November 24, 1232;[1] however, no known information regarding the knights' possible activities in Finland has survived. (Sweden eventually took over Finland after the Second Swedish Crusade in 1249.) In the Battle of Saule in 1236 the Lithuanians and Semigallians decimated the Order. This disaster led the surviving Brothers to become incorporated into the Order of Teutonic Knights in the following year, and from that point on they became known as the Livonian Order. They continued, however, to function in all respects (rule, clothing and policy) as an autonomous branch of the Teutonic Order, headed by their own Master (himself de jure subject to the Teutonic Order's Grand Master).

Livonian Crusade 1206-1227

Ancient Estonia until September 21, 1217.

The Chronicle of Henry of Livonia from the 1220s gives a firsthand account of the Christianization of Livonia, granted as a fief by the Hohenstaufen King of Germany, Philip of Swabia, to Bishop Albert of Buxthoeven, nephew of the Hartwig II, Archbishop of Bremen, who sailed with a convoy of ships filled with armed crusaders to carve out a Catholic territory in the east during the Livonian Crusade.

Monastic state of the Teutonic Knights 1224-1237

From 1236, Livonia consisted of the following subdivisions:

Livonian Order 1237-1561

Europe, 1328.

The Livonian Order was a largely autonomous branch of the Teutonic Knights (or Teutonic Order) and a member of the Livonian Confederation from 1418–1561. After being defeated by Lithuania in the 1236 Battle of Saule, the remnants of the Livonian Brothers of the Sword were incorporated into the Teutonic Knights as the Livonian Order in 1237. Between 1237 and 1290, the Livonian Order conquered all of Courland, Livonia, and Semigallia, but their attack on northern Russia was repelled in the Battle of Rakvere (1268). In 1346, the Order bought the rest of Estonia from King Valdemar IV of Denmark. Life within the Order's territory is described in the Chronicle of Henry of Livonia and the Livonian Rhymed Chronicle. The Teutonic Order fell into decline following its defeat in the Battle of Grunwald in 1410 and the secularization of its Prussian territories by Albert of Brandenburg in 1525, but the Livonian Order managed to maintain an independent existence. During many years of Livonian War (1558-1582), however, they suffered a decisive defeat by troops of Muscovite Russia in the Battle of Ergeme in 1560 and continued living under great threat. Letters to the Emperor arrived from many European countries, warning, that Moscow has its eyes on much more than only a few harbors or the province of Liefland... the East Sea (Ostsee-Baltic Sea and the West Sea (Atlantic) are equally in danger. Duke Barnim the Elder, 50 years duke of Pomerania, warned, that never before did he experience the fear than now, where even in his land, where people send by Moscow are everywhere. At stake was the Narwa-Trade-Route and practically all trade in the North, and with that all of Europe. Due to religious upheavals of the Reformation the empire could not send troops, which it could not afford and which were too far away anyway. Prussia was not able to help for much of the same reason, and Duke Albrecht was under continuous ban by the emperor. The Hanseatic League was greatly weakened by this and the city state of Luebeck fought its last great war. The emperor Maximilian II diffused the greatest threat by remaining on friendly terms with the czar, but not sending him troops as requested, in his struggles with the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.

Czar Ivan of Moscow installed Duke Magnus as King of Livonia. This was opposed by the other forces. The Livonian Order saw no other way than to seek protection from Sigismund II Augustus, the King of Poland and the Grand Duke of Lithuania, who had intervened in a war between Bishop William of Riga and the Brothers in 1557. After coming to an agreement with Sigismund II Augustus and his representatives (especially Mikołaj "the Black" Radziwiłł), the last Livonian Master, Gotthard Kettler, secularized the Order and converted to Lutheranism. In the southern part of the Brothers' lands he created the Duchy of Courland and Semigallia for his family. Most of the remaining lands were seized by the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. The north of Estonia was taken back by Denmark and Sweden.

From the 14th to the 16th centuries, Middle Low German as spoken in the towns of the Hanseatic League was the established language, but was subsequently succeeded by High German as official language in the course of the 16th and 17th centuries.[2]

Livonian Confederation 1418-1561

Medieval Livonia ca. 1260.

The 5 Ecclesiastical states of the Holy Roman Empire in Medieval Livonia were organized into the Livonian Confederation in 1418 [3] A diet or Landtag was formed in 1419. The city of Walk was chosen as the site of the diet.

Livonian War 1558-1582

Europe, 1550.

Ferdinand I, Holy Roman Emperor once again asked for help of Gustav I of Sweden, and The Kingdom of Poland (1385–1569) also began direct negotiations with Gustavus, but nothing resulted because on September 29, 1560, Gustavus I Vasa died. The chances for success of Magnus and his supporters looked particularly good in 1560 (and 1570). In the former case, he had been recognised as their sovereign by The Bishopric of Ösel-Wiek and The Bishopric of Courland, and as their prospective ruler by the authorities of The Bishopric of Dorpat; The Bishopric of Reval with the Harrien-Wierland gentry were on his side; Livonian Order conditionally recognised his right of ownership of Estonia (Principality of Estonia). Then along with Archbishop Wilhelm von Brandenburg of The Archbishopric of Riga and his Coadjutor Christoph von Mecklenburg, Kettler gave to Magnus the portions of The Kingdom of Livonia, which he had taken possession of, but they refused to give him any more land. Once Eric XIV of Sweden became king he took quick actions to get involved in the war. He negotiated a continued peace with Muscovy and spoke to the burghers of Reval city. He offered them goods to submit to him as well as threatening them. By June 6, 1561 they submitted to him contrary to the persuasions of Kettler to the burghers. The King's brother Johan married the Polish princess Catherine Jagiellon. Wanting to obtain his own land in Livonia, he loaned Poland money and then claimed the castles they had pawned as his own instead of using them to pressure Poland. After Johan returned to Finland, Erik XIV forbade him to deal with any foreign countries without his consent. Shortly after that Erik XIV started acting quickly lost any allies he was about to obtain, either from Magnus or the Archbishop of Riga. Magnus was upset he had been tricked out of his inheritance of Holstein. After Sweden occupied Reval, Frederick II of Denmark made a treaty with Erik XIV of Sweden in August 1561. The brothers were in great disagreement and Frederick II negotiated a treaty with Ivan IV on August 7, 1562 in order to help his brother obtain more land and stall further Swedish advance. Erik XIV did not like this and The Northern Seven Years' War between The Free City of Lübeck, Denmark, Poland, and Sweden broke out. While only losing land and trade, Frederick II and Magnus were not faring well. But in 1568 Erik XIV became insane and his brother Johan III took his place. Johan III ascended to the throne of Sweden and due to his friendship with Poland he began a policy against Muscovy. He would try to obtain more land in Livonia and exercise strength over Denmark. After all parties had been financially drained, Frederick II let his ally, King Sigismund II Augustus of Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, know that he was ready for peace. On December 15, 1570, the Treaty of Stettin was concluded. It is, however, more difficult to estimate the scope and magnitude of the support Magnus received in Livonian cities. Compared to the Harrien-Wierland gentry, the Reval city council, and hence probably the majority of citizens, demonstrated a much more reserved attitude towards Denmark and King Magnus of Livonia. Nevertheless, there is no reason to speak about any strong pro-Swedish sentiments among the residents of Reval. The citizens who had fled to The Bishopric of Dorpat or had been deported to Muscovy hailed Magnus as their saviour until 1571. The analysis indicates that during the Livonian War a pro-independence wing emerged among the Livonian gentry and townspeople, forming the so-called "Peace Party". Dismissing hostilities, these forces perceived an agreement with Muscovy as a chance to escape the atrocities of war and avoid the division of Livonia. That is why Magnus, who represented Denmark and later struck a deal with Ivan the Terrible, proved a suitable figurehead for this faction.

The Peace Party, however, had its own armed forces – scattered bands of household troops (Hofleute) under diverse command, which only united in action in 1565 (Battle of Pärnu, 1565 and Siege of Reval, 1565), in 1570 – 1571 (Siege of Reval, 1570-1571; 30 weeks), and in 1574 – 1576 (first on Sweden’s side, then came the sale of Wiek to the Danish Crown, and the loss of the territory to Muscovites). In 1575 after Muscovy attacked Danish claims in Livonia, Frederick II dropped out of the competition as well as the Holy Roman Emperor. After this Johan III held off on his pursuit for more land due to Muscovy obtaining lands that Sweden controlled. He used the next two years of truce to get in a better position. In 1578, he resumed the fight for not only Livonia, but also everywhere due to an understanding he made with Rzeczpospolita. In 1578 Magnus retired to Rzeczpospolita and his brother all but gave up the land in Livonia.

Duchy of Livonia 1561-1621

Outline of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth with its major subdivisions after the 1618 Peace of Deulino, superimposed on present-day national borders.      The Crown      Duchy of Prussia, Polish fief      Grand Duchy of Lithuania      Duchy of Courland, Lithuanian fief      Duchy of Livonia      Swedish and Danish Estonia

In 1561, during the Livonian War, Livonia fell to the Grand Duchy of Lithuania[4][5][6] with vassal dependency from Lithuania.[6] Eight years later, in 1569, when the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and Kingdom of Poland formed Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, Livonia became a joint domain administered directly by the king and grand duke.[4][6][7][8][9][10] Having rejected peace proposals from its enemies, Ivan the Terrible found himself in a difficult position by 1579, when Crimean Khanate devastated Muscovian territories and burnt down Moscow (see Russo-Crimean Wars), the drought and epidemics have fatally affected the economy, Oprichnina had thoroughly disrupted the government, while The Grand Principality of Lithuania had united with The Kingdom of Poland (1385–1569) and acquired an energetic leader, Stefan Batory, supported by Ottoman Empire (1576). Stefan Batory replied with a series of three offensives against Muscovy, trying to cut The Kingdom of Livonia from Muscovian territories. During his first offensive in 1579, with 22,000 men, he retook Polotsk; during the second, in 1580, with 29,000-strong army, he took Velikie Luki, and in 1581 with a 100,000-strong army he started the Siege of Pskov. Frederick II of Denmark and Norway had trouble continuing the fight against Muscovy unlike Sweden and Poland. He came to an agreement with John III in 1580 giving him the titles in Livonia. That war would last from 1577 to 1582. Muscovy recognized Polish-Lithuanian control of Ducatus Ultradunensis only in 1582. After Magnus von Lyffland died in 1583, Poland invaded his territories in The Duchy of Courland and Frederick II decided to sell his rights of inheritance. Except for the island of Œsel, Denmark was out of the Baltic by 1585. As of 1598 Inflanty Voivodeship was divided onto:

Based on a guarantee by Sigismund II Augustus from the 1560s, the German language retained its official status.[2]

Kingdom of Livonia 1570-1578

The armies of Ivan the Terrible were initially successful, taking Polock (1563) and Parnawa (1575) and overrunning much of Grand Duchy of Lithuania up to Vilnius. Eventually, Grand Duchy of Lithuania and Kingdom of Poland formed Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth in 1569 under the Union of Lublin. Eric XIV of Sweden did not like this and The Northern Seven Years' War between Free City of Lübeck, Denmark, Poland, and Sweden broke out. While only losing land and trade, Frederick II of Denmark and Magnus von Lyffland of Œsel-Wiek were not faring well. But in 1569, Erik XIV became insane and his brother John III of Sweden took his place. After all parties had been financially drained, Frederick II let his ally, King Zygmunt II August, know that he was ready for peace. On December 15, 1570, the Treaty of Stettin was concluded.

Livonia, as shown in the map of 1573 of Joann Portantius.

In the next phase of the conflict, in 1577 Ivan IV took opportunity of the Commonwealth internal strife (called the war against Gdańsk in Polish historiography), and during the reign of Stefan Batory in Poland invaded Livonia, quickly taking almost the entire territory, with the exception of Riga and Rewel. In 1578, Magnus of Livonia recognized the sovereignty of Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth (not ratified by the Sejm of Poland-Lithuania, or recognized by Denmark). The Kingdom of Livonia was beaten back by Muscovy on all fronts. In 1578, Magnus of Livonia retired to The Bishopric of Courland and his brother all but gave up the land in Livonia.

Swedish Livonia 1629-1721

Europe, 1648.

Sweden was given roughly the same area as the former Duchy of Livonia after the 1626-1629 Polish-Swedish War. The area, usually known as Swedish Livonia, became a very important Swedish dominion, with Riga being the second largest Swedish city and Livonia paying for one third of the Swedish war costs. Sweden lost Swedish Livonia, Swedish Estonia and Ingria to Russia almost 100 years later, by the Capitulation of Estonia and Livonia in 1710 and the Treaty of Nystad in 1721.

Livonian Voivodeship 1620s-1772

Inflanty Voivodeship, 1620s-1772.

The Livonian Voivodeship (Lithuanian: Livonijos vaivadija; Polish: Województwo inflanckie) was a unit of administrative division and local government in the Duchy of Livonia, part of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, since it was formed in the 1620s out of the Wenden Voivodeship till the First Partition of Poland in 1772.

Inflanty 1660-1772

The portion of Livonia remaining in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth after the Treaty of Oliva in 1660 was known as Polish Livonia, or Inflanty Voivodeship. It consisted mainly of the southern Latvian region Latgale within the Inflanty Voivodeship with the capital of Daugavpils, or Dyneburg. This division of Livonia was codified in the Treaty of Oliva in 1660.

Riga Governorate 1721-1796

Europe, 1740.

The Russian Empire conquered Swedish Livonia during the course of the Great Northern War and acquired the province in the Capitulation of Estonia and Livonia in 1710, confirmed by the Treaty of Nystad in 1721. Peter the Great confirmed German as the exclusive official language.[2] Russia then added Polish Livonia in 1772 during the Partitions of Poland.

Governorate of Livonia 1796-1918

Europe, 1815.

In 1796 the Riga Governorate was renamed as the Governorate of Livonia (Russian: Лифляндская губерния / Liflyandskaya guberniya, Latvian: Vidzemes guberņa, Estonian: Liivimaa kubermang). Livonia remained within the Russian Empire until the end of World War I, when it was split between the newly independent states of Latvia and Estonia. In 1918–1920, both Soviet troops and German Freikorps fought against Latvian and Estonian troops for control over Livonia, but their attempts were defeated.

Governors-General of Estonia, Livonia, and Courland 1845-1876

Livonia, 1898.

From 1845 to 1876, the Baltic governorates of Estonia, Livonia, and Courland—an area roughly corresponding to the historical medieval Livonia —were administratively subordinated to a common Governor-General.[11] Amongst the holders of this post were Count Alexander Arkadyevich Suvorov[12] and Count Pyotr Andreyevich Shuvalov.

United Baltic Duchy 1918-1919

The United Baltic Duchy (German: Vereinigtes Baltisches Herzogtum) was an attempt to create a state in 1918. This attempt was made possible through the German Empire's occupation of the territory covering what are now Latvia and Estonia before the end of World War I. On March 8 and April 12, 1918 the local Baltic German-dominated Kurländische Landesrat and the Vereinigter Landesrat of Livland, Estland, Riga, and Ösel had declared themselves independent states, known as the Duchy of Courland (Herzogtum Kurland) and Baltic State (Baltischer Staat), respectively. Both "states" proclaimed themselves to be in personal union with the Kingdom of Prussia, although the German government never responded to acknowledge that claim. These Baltic lands were nominally recognized as a sovereign state by Kaiser William II only on September 22, 1918, half a year after Soviet Russia had formally relinquished all authority over its former Imperial Baltic provinces to Germany in the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk. On November 5, 1918, a temporary Regency Council (Regentschaftsrat) for the new "state" led by Baron Adolf Pilar von Pilchau was formed on a joint basis from the two local Land Councils. But the government had never any control of the country and its population at all.

Vidzeme in Independent Latvia 1918-1940

Latvia around Riga, Estonia around Tallinn in 1920.

In independent Latvia between the World Wars, southern Livonia became an administrative region under the traditional Latvian name Vidzeme, encompassing the then much larger counties of Riga, Cēsis, Valmiera, and Valka.

Ostland 1941-1944

Nazi German advances 22 June to 25 August 1941.

Ostland was one of the Reichskommissariats established, by a Decree of the Führer dated 17 July 1941, as administrative units of the "Großdeutsches Reich" (Greater Germany). They were subject to Reichsleiter Alfred Rosenberg[citation needed], Minister für die besetzten Ostgebiete (Reich Ministry for the Occupied Eastern Territories). The structure of the Reichskommissariats was defined by the same decree. Local administration in the Reichskommissariats was to be organized under a "National Director" (Reichskomissar) in Estonia, a "General Director" in Latvia and a "General Adviser" in Lithuania. The local administration of the Reichskommissariat Ostland was under Reichskomissar Hinrich Lohse. Below him there was an administrative hierarchy: a Generalkomissar led each Generalbezirke, Gebietskomissars and Hauptkommissars administered Kreigsbietes and Hauptgenbietes, respectively. Rosenberg's ministerial authority was, in practice, severely limited. The first reason was that many of the practicalities were commanded elsewhere: the Wehrmacht and the SS managed the military and security aspects, Fritz Saukel (Reich Director of Labour) had control over manpower and working areas, Hermann Göring and Albert Speer had total management of economic aspects in the territories and the Reich postal service administered the East territories' postal services. These German central government interventions in the affairs of Ostland, overriding the appropriate ministries was known as "Sonderverwaltungen" (special administration). Later, from September, the civil administration that had been decreed in the previous July was actually set up. Lohse and, for that matter, Koch would not bow to his authority seeking to administer their territories with the independence and authority of gauleiters. on 1 April 1942 an arbeitsbereich (lit. "working sphere", a name for the party cadre organisation outside the reich proper) was established in the civil administration part of the occupied Soviet territories, whereupon Koch and Lohse gradually ceased communication with him preferring to deal directly with Hitler through Martin Bormann and the party chancellery. In the process they also displaced all other actors including notably the SS, except in central Belarus where HSSPF 'Erich von dem Bach-Zelewsky had a special command encompassing both military and civil administration territories and engaged in "anti-partisan" atrocities.

Baltic countries since 1990

The historical land of Livonia has been split between Latvia and Estonia ever since. The native Livonian language is still spoken by some individuals (far less than 100), but is understood to be fast approaching extinction. The anthem (unofficial) of Livonians is Min izāmō, min sindimō sharing the melody of Finnish and Estonian anthems.

See also

External links

Notes and references

  1. ^ Letter by Pope Gregory IX. In Latin. Hosted by the National Archive of Finland. See and Diplomatarium Fennicum from the menu.
  2. ^ a b c Koch, Kristine (2002) (in German). Deutsch als Fremdsprache im Russland des 18. Jahrhunderts. Die Geschichte des Deutschen als Fremdsprache. 1. Berlin/New York: Walter de Gruyter. p. 59. ISBN 3110175037. 
  3. ^ The History of the Baltic States By Kevin O'Connor; ISBN 0313323550; p. 23
  4. ^ a b (Lithuanian) Alfredas Bumblauskas (2005). Senosios Lietuvos istorija 1009 - 1795. Vilnius: R. Paknio leidykla. pp. 256–259. ISBN 9986-830-89-3. 
  5. ^ Robert Auty (1981). D. Obolensky. ed. Companion to Russian Studies: Volume 1 Vol 1 Introduction to Russian History. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 101. ISBN 0-521-28038-9. 
  6. ^ a b c Szilvia Rédey, Endre Bojtár (1999). Foreword to the Past: a cultural history of the Baltic People. Central European University Press. pp. 172. ISBN 963-9116-42-4. 
  7. ^ Norman Davies (1996). Europe: a History. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 555. ISBN 0-19-820171-0. 
  8. ^ George Miller (1832). "Modern History". History, philosophically issustrated, from the fall of the Roman empire to the French revolution. pp. 258. 
  9. ^ Alfrēds Bīlmanis (1945). Baltic Essays. The Latvian Legation. pp. 69–80. OCLC 1535884. 
  10. ^ Beresford James Kidd (1933). The Counter-reformation, 1550-1600. Society for promoting Christian knowledge. pp. 121. 
  11. ^ The Baltic
  12. ^ Suvorov A.A. governor-general in 1861-66 :: ENCYCLOPAEDIA OF SAINT PETERSBURG

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Livonia is a city in Wayne County in the state of Michigan.

  • Laurel Park Place (Laurel Park Mall), 37700 W Six Mile Road, Livonia, MI 48152, 734-462-1100, [1]. Upscale shopping center in northwestern Livonia, includes movie theater  edit
  • Comfort Inn Livonia, 29235 Buckingham Street, 800-664-6385 [2]. 112 guest rooms.
  • Detroit Marriott Livonia, 17100 N Laurel Park Drive, 734-462-3100 [3]. 221 guest rooms.
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1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

LIVONIA, or Livland (Russian, Liflandia), one of the three Baltic provinces of Russia, bounded W. by the Gulf of Riga, N. by Esthonia, E. by the governments of St Petersburg, Pskov and Vitebsk, and S. by Courland. A group of islands (iiio sq. m.) at the entrance of the Gulf of Riga, of which Oesel, Mohn, Runo and Paternoster are the largest, belong to this government. It covers an area of 18,160 sq. m., but of this the part of Lake Peipus which belongs to it occupies 1090. Its surface is diversified by several plateaus, those of Haanhof and of the Livonian Aa having an average elevation of 400 to 700 ft., while several summits reach Boo to loon ft. or more. The edges of the plateaus are gapped by deep valleys; the hilly tract between the Dvina and its tributary the Livonian Aa has received, from its picturesque narrow valleys, thick forests and numerous lakes, the name of "Livonian Switzerland." The plateau of Odenpah, drained by tributaries of the Embach river, which flows for 93 m. from Lake Virz-yarvi into Lake Peipus, occupies an area of 2830 sq. m., and has an average elevation of soo ft. More than a thousand lakes are scattered over Livonia, of which that of Virz-yarvi, having a surface of 106 sq. m. (115 ft. above sea-level), is the largest. Marshes and peat-bogs occupy one-tenth of the province. Of the numerous rivers, the Dvina, which flows for 90 m. along its frontier, the Pernau, Salis, Livonian Aa and Embach are navigable.

The Silurian formation which covers Esthonia, appears in the northern part of Livonia, the remainder of the province consisting of Devonian strata. The whole is overlaid with glacial deposits, sometimes 400 ft. thick. The typical bottom moraine, with erratics from Finland, extends all over the country. Glacial furrows, striae and elongated troughs are met with everywhere, running mostly from north-west to south-east, as well as asar or eskers, which have the same direction. Sand-dunes cover large tracts on the shores of the Baltic. No traces of marine deposits are found higher than loo or 150 ft. above the present sea-level. The soil is not very fertile. Forests cover about two-fifths of the surface. The climate is rather severe. The mean temperatures are 43° F. at Riga (winter 23°, summer 63°) and 40 at Yuriev. The winds are very variable; the average number of rainy and snowy days is 146 at Riga (rainfall 24.1 in.). Fogs are not uncommon.

The population of Livonia, which was 621,600 in 1816, reached 1,000,876 in 1870, and 1,295,231 in 1897, of whom 43.4 were Letts, 39.9% Ehsts, 7.6% Germans, 5.4% Russians, 2% Jews and 1.2% Poles. The estimated pop. in 1906 was 1,411,000. The Livs, who formerly extended east into the government of Vitebsk, have nearly all passed away. Their native language, of Finnish origin, is rapidly disappearing, their present language being a Lettish patois. In 1846 a grammar and dictionary of it were made with difficulty from the mouths of old people. The Ehsts, who resemble the Finns of Tavastland, have maintained their ethnic features, their customs, national traditions, songs and poetry, and their harmonious language. There is a marked revival of national feeling, favoured by "Young Esthonia." The prevailing religion is the Lutheran (79.8%); 1 4.3% belong to the Orthodox Greek Church; of the Russians, however, a considerable proportion are Raskolniks (Nonconformists); the Roman Catholics amount to 2.3%, and the Jews to 2%. The Russian civil code was introduced in the Baltic provinces in 1835, and the use of Russian, instead of German, in official correspondence and in law courts was ordered in 1867, but not generally brought into practice.

Nearly all the soil belongs to the nobility, the extent of the peasants estates being only 15% of the entire area of the government. Serfdom was abolished in 1819, but the peasants remained under the jurisdiction of their landlords. The class of peasant proprietors being restricted to a small number of wealthy peasants, the bulk have remained tenants at will; they are very miserable, and about one-fourth of them are continually wandering in search of work. From time to time the emigration takes the shape of a mass movement, which the government stops by forcible measures. The average size of the landed estates is 9500 to 11,000 acres, far above the general average for Russia. Agriculture has reached a high degree of perfection on the estates of the landlords. The principal crops are rye, oats, barley, flax and potatoes, with some wheat, hemp and buckwheat. Dairy-farming and gardening are on the increase. Fishing in Lake Peipus gives occupation to nearly 100,000 persons, and is also carried on in the Gulf of Riga and in the rivers. Woollen, cloth, cotton and flax mills, steam flour and saw mills, distilleries and breweries, machinery works, paper mills, furniture, tobacco, soap, candle and hardware works are among the chief industrial establishments. Livonia carries on a large export trade, especially through Riga and Pernau, in petroleum, wool, oilcake, flax, linseed, hemp, grain, timber and wooden wares; the Dvina is the chief channel for this trade.

Education stands on a much higher level than elsewhere in Russia, no less than 87% of the children receiving regular instruction. The higher educational institutions include Yuriev (Dorpat) University, Riga polytechnic and a high school for the clergy.

The government is divided into nine districts, the chief towns of which, with their populations in 1897, are: Riga, capital of the government (282 ,943); Arensburg, in the island of Oesel (4621); Yuriev or Dorpat (42,421); Fellin (7659); Pernau (12,856); Walk (10,1 39): Wenden (6327); Werro (4154); and Wolmar (5124). The capital of the government is Riga.

Coins of the time of Alexander the Great, found on the island of Oesel, show that the coasts of the Baltic were at an early period in commercial relation with the civilized world. The chronicle of Nestor mentions as inhabitants of the Baltic coast the Chudes, the Livs, the Narova, Letgola, Semigallians and Kors. It was probably about the 9th century that the Chudes became tributary to the Varangian-Russian states. As they reacquired their independence, Yaroslav I. undertook in 1030 a campaign against them, and founded Yuriev (Dorpat). The Germans first penetrated into Livonia in the 11th century, and in 1158 several Lubeck and Visby merchants landed at the mouth of the Dvina. In 1186 the emissaries of the archbishop of Bremen began to preach Christianity among the Ehsts and Letts, and in 1201 the bishop of Livonia established his residence at Riga. In 1202 or 1204 Innocent III. recognized the order of Brothers of the Sword, the residence of its grand master being at Wenden; and the order, spreading the Christian religion by the sword among the natives, carried on from that time a series of uninterrupted wars against the Russian republics and Lithuania, as well as a struggle against the archbishop of Riga,. Riga having become a centre for trade, intermediate between the Hanseatic towns and those of Novgorod, Pskov and Polotsk. The first active interference of Lithuania in the affairs of Livonia took place immediately after the great outbreak of the peasants on Oesel; Olgierd then devastated all southern Livonia. The order, having purchased the Danish part of Esthonia, in 1347, began a war against the bishop of Riga, as well as against Lithuania, Poland and Russia. The wars against those powers were terminated respectively in 1435, 1466 and 1483. About the end of the 15th century the master of the order, Plettenberg, acquired a position of great importance, and in 1527 he was recognized as a prince of the empire by Charles V. On the other hand, the authority of the bishops of Riga was soon completely destroyed (1566). The war of the order with Ivan IV. of Russia in 1558 led to a division of Livonia, its northern part, Dorpat included, being taken by Russia, and the southern part falling under the dominion of Poland. From that time (1561) Livonia formed a subject of dispute between Poland and Russia, the latter only formally abdicating its rights to the country in 1582. In 1621 it was the theatre of a war between Poland and Sweden, and was conquered by the latter power, enjoying thus for twenty-five years a milder rule. In 1654, and again at the beginning of the 18th century, it became the theatre of war between Poland, Russia and Sweden, and was finally conquered by Russia. The official concession was confirmed by the treaty of Nystad in 1721.

See E. Seraphim, Geschichte Liv-, Esth-, and Kurlands (2nd ed., Revel, 1897-1904) and Geschichte von Livland (Gotha, 1905, &c.). (P. A. K.; J. T. BE.)

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Up to date as of January 15, 2010

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Proper noun


  1. A historical region in the Baltic, south of the Gulf of Finland, now divided and constituting southern Estonia and northern Latvia.
  2. Any of various places in the USA.

Derived terms



Proper noun


  1. Livonia (historical region in the Baltic)

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