Main Page | See live article | Alphabetical index


This article is about the region in Europe. For other uses see Livonia (disambiguation).

Livonia is a historical region on the eastern coasts of the Baltic Sea in modern Latvia and Estonia. Its frontiers are Riga Bay and Finnish Bay in the north-west, Pejpus Lake and Russia to the east, and Lithuania to the south.

In the Middle Ages the region was inhabited by various Baltic and Finnish tribes. From the 12th century it was an area of economic and political expansion of Denmark and Germany and especially of the Hanse Cities Union presided by Lübeck and of the Cistercian order. In ca. 1160 traders of Lübeck established their trading post in the place of future Riga. From the 13th century Livonia was confederation of lands ruled by the Order of the Sword Knights (established 1202, joined with the Teutonic Knights in Prussia 1237) and the territories belonging to the archbishop of Riga and bishops of Couronia (Piltyn), Ozylia, Revel (Tallinn) and Dorpat.

In 1561 Livonia fell to the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. Organisation of Livonia in the Commonwealth:

Next wars between Poland, Sweden, Denmark and Russia for control of Livonia.

The Livonian language is still spoken in parts of Latvia, but is understood to be fast approaching extinction.

Polish Livonia was the remainder of Livonia, that was kept Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth after the Treaty of Oliva in 1660. Livonia, which had been a common territory of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth from 1561, was conquered by Sweden in 1620s, in the course of the Polish War, and conquest of the majority was completed by 1629. Under Swedish rule of the country became known as Swedish Livonia, which was formally recognised in Oliva, 1660.

See also: Courland, Swedish Livonia, History of Poland, History of Lithuania