Livonian Order
The Livonian Order was an autonomous Livonian branch of the Teutonic Order and a member of the Livonian Confederation
Livonian Confederation
Terra Mariana was the official name for Medieval Livonia or Old Livonia which was formed in the aftermath of the Livonian Crusade in the territories comprising present day Estonia and Latvia...

 from 1435–1561. After being defeated by Samogitians
Samogitians are a part of the Lithuanian ethnicity inhabiting the region of Samogitia in Lithuania. Many speak the Samogitian dialect of the Lithuanian language.-History:...

 in the 1236 Battle of Schaulen (Saule), the remnants of the Livonian Brothers of the Sword
Livonian Brothers of the Sword
The Livonian Brothers of the Sword were a military order founded by Bishop Albert of Riga in 1202. Pope Innocent III sanctioned the establishment in 1204. The membership of the order comprised German "warrior monks"...

 were incorporated into the Teutonic Knights and became known as the Livonian Order in 1237.

Between 1237 and 1290, the Livonian Order conquered all of Courland
Courland is one of the historical and cultural regions of Latvia. The regions of Semigallia and Selonia are sometimes considered as part of Courland.- Geography and climate :...

, Livonia
Livonia is a historic region along the eastern shores of the Baltic Sea. It was once the land of the Finnic Livonians inhabiting the principal ancient Livonian County Metsepole with its center at Turaida...

, and Semigallia, but the Order's attempts to invade the neighboring Novgorod Republic
Novgorod Republic
The Novgorod Republic was a large medieval Russian state which stretched from the Baltic Sea to the Ural Mountains between the 12th and 15th centuries, centred on the city of Novgorod...

 were unsuccessful and its army was eventually defeated in the Battle of Rakvere (1268). In 1346, the Order bought the Duchy of 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....

 from King Valdemar IV of Denmark
Valdemar IV of Denmark
Valdemar IV of Denmark or Waldemar ; , was King of Denmark from 1340 to 1375.-Ascension to the throne:...

. Life within the Order's territory is described in the Chronicle of Balthasar Russow
Balthasar Russow
Balthasar Russow was one of the most important Livonian and Estonian chroniclers.Russow was born in Reval . He was educated at an academy in Stettin in Pomerania...

 (Chronica der Provinz Lyfflandt).

The Teutonic Order fell into decline following its defeat in the Battle of Grunwald
Battle of Grunwald
The Battle of Grunwald or 1st Battle of Tannenberg was fought on 15 July 1410, during the Polish–Lithuanian–Teutonic War. The alliance of the Kingdom of Poland and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, led respectively by King Jogaila and Grand Duke Vytautas , decisively defeated the Teutonic Knights, led...

 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.

The Livonian Order's defeat in the Battle of Swienta (Pabaiskas) on September 1, 1435, which claimed the lives of the master and several high ranking knights, brought the order closer to its neighbors in Livonia. The Livonian Confederation
Livonian Confederation
Terra Mariana was the official name for Medieval Livonia or Old Livonia which was formed in the aftermath of the Livonian Crusade in the territories comprising present day Estonia and Latvia...

 agreement (eiine fruntliche eyntracht) was signed in Walk
Walk, Livonia
Walk was the historical German name for the town that is now divided into Valga in Estonia and Valka in Latvia. After 1419 it was the seat of the Landtag of the Livonian Confederation.-See also:*List of German exonyms for places in Estonia...

 on December 4. 1435 by the archbishop of Riga, the bishops of Courland
Bishopric of Courland
The Bishopric of Courland was the second smallest ecclesiastical state in the Livonian Confederation founded in the aftermath of the Livonian Crusade...

, Dorpat
Bishopric of Dorpat
The Bishopric of Dorpat was a medieval principality and a catholic diocese which existed from 1224 to 1558, generally encompassing what are now Tartu, Põlva, Võru and Jõgeva counties in Estonia. The Bishopric was part of Livonian Confederation...

, Ösel-Wiek and Reval
Bishopric of Reval
The Bishopric of Reval was created in Duchy of Estonia by Valdemar II of Denmark in 1240. Contradictory to canon law Valdemar II reserved the right to appoint the bishops of Reval to himself and his successor kings of Denmark. The decision to simply nominate the holy see of Reval was unique in the...

; the representatives of the Livonan Order and vassals, and the deputies of Riga, Reval and Dorpat city municipal councils.

During the Livonian War
Livonian War
The Livonian War was fought for control of Old Livonia in the territory of present-day Estonia and Latvia when the Tsardom of Russia faced a varying coalition of Denmark–Norway, the Kingdom of Sweden, the Union of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and the Kingdom of Poland.During the period 1558–1578,...

, however, the Order suffered a decisive defeat by troops of Muscovite Russia in the Battle of Ergeme
Battle of Ergeme
The Battle of Ērģeme was fought on 2 August 1560 in present-day Latvia as part of the Livonian War between the forces of Ivan IV of Russia and the Livonian Confederation. It was the last battle fought by the German knights in Livonia and an important Russian victory...

 in 1560. The Livonian Order then sought protection from Sigismund II Augustus
Sigismund II Augustus
Sigismund II Augustus I was King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania, the only son of Sigismund I the Old, whom Sigismund II succeeded in 1548...

, the King of Poland
Kingdom of Poland (1385–1569)
The Kingdom of Poland of the Jagiellons was the Polish state created by the accession of Jogaila , Grand Duke of Lithuania, to the Polish throne in 1386. The Union of Krewo or Krėva Act, united Poland and Lithuania under the rule of a single monarch...

 and the Grand Duke of Lithuania
Grand Duchy of Lithuania
The Grand Duchy of Lithuania was a European state from the 12th /13th century until 1569 and then as a constituent part of Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth until 1791 when Constitution of May 3, 1791 abolished it in favor of unitary state. It was founded by the Lithuanians, one of the polytheistic...

, who had intervened in a war between Bishop William
William of Brandenburg
Wilhelm von Brandenburg was the Archbishop of Riga from 1539 to 1561.A member of the House of Hohenzollern, Wilhelm was the son of Frederick I, Margrave of Brandenburg-Ansbach, the brother of Albert, Duke of Prussia, and the grandson of Albert III Achilles, Elector of Brandenburg and Casimir IV...

 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
Gotthard Kettler
Gotthard von Kettler was the last Master of the Livonian Order and the first Duke of Courland and Semigallia....

, secularized the Order and converted to Lutheranism
Lutheranism is a major branch of Western Christianity that identifies with the theology of Martin Luther, a German reformer. Luther's efforts to reform the theology and practice of the church launched the Protestant Reformation...

. In the southern part of the Brothers' lands he created the Duchy of Courland and Semigallia
Duchy of Courland and Semigallia
The Duchy of Courland and Semigallia is the name of a duchy in the Baltic region that existed from 1562 to 1569 as a vassal state of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and from 1569...

 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
Swedish Empire
The Swedish Empire refers to the Kingdom of Sweden between 1561 and 1721 . During this time, Sweden was one of the great European powers. In Swedish, the period is called Stormaktstiden, literally meaning "the Great Power Era"...


From the 14th to the 16th centuries, Middle Low German
Middle Low German
Middle Low German is a language that is the descendant of Old Saxon and is the ancestor of modern Low German. It served as the international lingua franca of the Hanseatic League...

 as spoken in the towns of the Hanseatic League
Hanseatic League
The Hanseatic League was an economic alliance of trading cities and their merchant guilds that dominated trade along the coast of Northern Europe...

 was the established language, but was subsequently succeeded by High German as official language in the course of the 16th and 17th centuries.

Masters of the Livonian Order

The Livonian Master like the grandmaster of the Teutonic Order was elected by his fellow knights for a lifetime term. The grandmaster exercised supervisory powers and his advice was considered equal to a command. The grandmaster of Teutonic knights did not limit local autonomy, he rarely visited Livonia or sent ambassadors for oversight.
  • Hermann Balk
    Hermann Balk
    Hermann Balk , also known as Hermann von Balk or Hermann Balke, was a Knight-Brother of the Teutonic Order and its first Landmeister, or Provincial Master, in both Prussia and Livonia. From 1219 to 1227, he served as the Deutschmeister in the Order's Province of Alemannia...

  • Dietrich von Grüningen 1238–42
  • Dietrich von Grüningen 1244–46
  • Andreas von Stierland 1248–53
  • Anno von Sangershausen 1253–56
  • Burchard von Hornhausen 1256–60
  • Werner von Breithausen 1261–63
  • Konrad von Mandern 1263–66
  • Otto von Lutterberg
    Otto von Lutterberg
    Otto von Lutterberg was the Ordensmeister of the Livonian Order of the Teutonic Knights from 1266 to 1270, and was in command of the Livonian Order in 1268 when the Knights were heavily defeated by a Russian army at the Battle of Rakvere...

  • Walther von Nortecken 1270–73
  • Ernst von Rassburg 1273–79
  • Konrad von Feuchtwangen
    Konrad von Feuchtwangen
    Konrad von Feuchtwangen was the 13th Grand Master of the Teutonic Knights, serving from 1291-96. He was a relative of the later Grand Master Siegfried von Feuchtwangen....

  • Wilken von Endorp 1281–87
  • Konrad von Herzogenstein 1288–90
  • Halt von Hohembach –1293
  • Heinrich von Dinkelaghe 1295–96
  • Bruno 1296–98
  • Gottfried von Rogga 1298–1307
  • Conrad von Jocke 1309–22
  • Johannes Ungenade 1322–24
  • Reimar Hane 1324–28
  • Everhard von Monheim 1328–40
  • Burchard von Dreileben 1340–45
  • Goswin von Hercke 1345–59
  • Arnold von Vietinghof 1359–64
  • Wilhelm von Vrymersheim 1364–85
  • Robin von Eltz 1385–89
  • Wennemar Hasenkamp von Brüggeneye 1389–1401
  • Konrad von Vietinghof 1401–13
  • Diderick Tork 1413–15
  • Siegfried Lander von Spanheim 1415–24
  • Zisse von Rutenberg 1424–33
  • Franco Kerskorff 1433–35
  • Heinrich von Bockenvorde 1435–37
  • Heinrich Vinke von Overbergen 1438–50
  • Johann Osthoff von Mengede 1450–69
  • Johann Wolthuss von Herse 1470–71
  • Bernd von der Borch 1471–83
  • Johann Fridach von Loringhofe 1483–94
  • Wolter von Plettenberg
    Wolter von Plettenberg
    Wolter von Plettenberg was the Master of the Livonian Order from 1494 to 1535 and one of the greatest leaders of the Teutonic knights. He was an important early Baltic German....

  • Hermann Hasenkamp von Brüggeneye 1535–49
  • Johann von der Recke 1549–51
  • Heinrich von Galen 1551–57
  • Johann Wilhelm von Fürstenberg 1557–59
  • Godert (Gotthard) Kettler
    Gotthard Kettler
    Gotthard von Kettler was the last Master of the Livonian Order and the first Duke of Courland and Semigallia....


Commanderies of the Livonian Order

  • Komtur
    Komtur was a rank within military orders, especially the Teutonic Knights. In the State of the Teutonic Order, the Komtur was the commander of a basic administrative division called Kommende . A Komtur was responsible for the alimentation of the Knights by the yield from the local estates, he...

    ei Reval
  • Komturei Pernau
  • Komturei Jerwen
  • Komturei Fellin
  • Komturei Talkhof
    Puurmani is a small borough in Jõgeva County, Estonia. It is the administrative centre of Puurmani Parish....

  • Komturei Marienburg
    Alūksne is a town on the shores of Lake Alūksne in northeastern Latvia near the borders with Estonia and Russia. It is the seat of Alūksne municipality.- History :...

  • Landmarschall Segewold
  • Ordensmeister (Komturei) Dünamünde
  • Komturei Ascheraden
  • Komturei Dünaburg
  • Komturei Bauske
  • Komturei Mitau
  • Komturei Doblen
  • Komturei Goldingen
    Kuldīga is a town in western Latvia. It is the center of Kuldīga municipality with a population of approximately 13,500.Kuldīga was first mentioned in 1242. It joined the Hanseatic League in 1368...

  • Komturei Windau
    Ventspils is a city in northwestern Latvia in the Courland historical region of Latvia, the sixth largest city in the country. As of 2006, Ventspils had a population of 43,806. Ventspils is situated on the Venta River and the Baltic Sea, and has an ice-free port...

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.