Baltic nobility
The Baltic nobility was the privileged social class
Social class
Social classes are economic or cultural arrangements of groups in society. Class is an essential object of analysis for sociologists, political scientists, economists, anthropologists and social historians. In the social sciences, social class is often discussed in terms of 'social stratification'...

 in the territories of today's Estonia
Estonia , officially the Republic of Estonia , is a state in the Baltic region of Northern Europe. It is bordered to the north by the Gulf of Finland, to the west by the Baltic Sea, to the south by Latvia , and to the east by Lake Peipsi and the Russian Federation . Across the Baltic Sea lies...

 and Latvia
Latvia , officially the Republic of Latvia , is a country in the Baltic region of Northern Europe. It is bordered to the north by Estonia , to the south by Lithuania , to the east by the Russian Federation , to the southeast by Belarus and shares maritime borders to the west with Sweden...

. It existed continuously since the medieval foundation of Terra Mariana. Most of the gentry
Gentry denotes "well-born and well-bred people" of high social class, especially in the past....

 were Baltic German
Baltic German
The Baltic Germans were mostly ethnically German inhabitants of the eastern shore of the Baltic Sea, which today form the countries of Estonia and Latvia. The Baltic German population never made up more than 10% of the total. They formed the social, commercial, political and cultural élite in...

s, but Poles
Poland , officially the Republic of Poland , is a country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north...

 and Swedes
Sweden , officially the Kingdom of Sweden , is a Nordic country on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe. Sweden borders with Norway and Finland and is connected to Denmark by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund....

 joined as well, and Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

ns later under the Russian empire
Russian Empire
The Russian Empire was a state that existed from 1721 until the Russian Revolution of 1917. It was the successor to the Tsardom of Russia and the predecessor of the Soviet Union...


This nobility was a source of officers and other servants to Swedish and Polish kings in 16th and particularly 17th centuries, when Couronian, Estonia
Duchy of Estonia
The Duchy of Estonia may refer to:*Danish Estonia, Hertugdømmet Estland, a Dominum directum of King of Denmark from 1219 until 1346.*Swedish Estonia, Hertigdömet Estland a dominion of Swedish Empire from 1561 until 1721....

n, Livonia
Duchy of Livonia
The Duchy of Livonia was a territory of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania — and later the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth — that existed from 1561 to 1621...

n and Oeselian lands belonged to them. Russian emperors used Baltic nobles in government.

They were organized in the Estonian Noble Corporation in Reval, Couronian Noble Corporation in Mitau, and Livonian Noble Corporation in Riga
Riga is the capital and largest city of Latvia. With 702,891 inhabitants Riga is the largest city of the Baltic states, one of the largest cities in Northern Europe and home to more than one third of Latvia's population. The city is an important seaport and a major industrial, commercial,...

. Viborg also had an institution to register rolls of nobles in accordance with Baltic models in the 18th century. Most of the nobility was recalled by Hitler to Germany in late 1939, a few months prior to the annexation of Estonia and Latvia by the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

in June 1940, although, nowadays it is possible to find the successors of the Baltic nobility all around the world.

External links

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