in 1198 in what is now Latvia's dramatic events have occurred.Local tribes rebelled against the expansion of their lands of the Roman-German Emperor Otto IV.When the revolt was suppressed, to prevent future similar revolts command of German bishop Albrecht was created by military order of the Sword.
Order, to conquer the pagans
One of the victims was the rebellious tribes of the local bishop Berthold.Appointed his successor Albrecht von Buxhowden started with the fact that the Livonian Knights called for a crusade against the rebellious pagans.Hundreds of adventurers who want an easy booty, and along with the remission of sins, landed in 1200 with his militant pastor at the mouth of the Daugava River, where he laid a fortress of Riga.
However, over time it became obvious that the control over the whole territory of one of the Crusaders is not enough, and on the initiative of the same bishop Albrecht in 1200, founded a new military-religious order, called the Sword.Order took over in addition to caring for the local treatment of the Gentiles in the true faith, and more purely military functions.After two years of its creation it was legitimized by a special papal bull, which gave full legitimacy of the Order and unleashes all future enterprises.
Cross and Sword
His name he is obliged red swords, with shown to the Maltese crosses on white cloaks of the Knights.Initially, when it was created was used as the basis flourished while the Templars.The combination of Christian doctrine to military force was equally characteristic for them and for the Sword.The Order, founded by Bishop Albrecht, officially called "Brothers of Christ in Livonia chivalry ', which also suggests a similarity with fellow Templars.However, this resemblance all and stop there.
Ground Order of the Sword was a major step leading to the formation of a new state in the Baltics - Livonia.It is from its very birth was not complete.It consisted of two distinct economic zones - the Bishopric of Riga and the new, just created the Order.Local formation of a new state called as Estonia, Livonia and Courland.These words were derived from the names of local tribes living there.Supreme authority over the whole territory belonged to the bishop.
conquest of new lands
From the first days of his stay in Livonia Knights of the Sword raided the territory, control of which was still in the hands of local tribes.On the reclaimed land to build a fortress, later become the reference military and administrative items.But not only with the local tribes had to fight Livonian invaders.The main and most formidable opponent they were Russian princes, widely regarded as his appanage Livonian land holdings.
Over the years, this struggle went on with varying success.In historical documents, covering the events of those years, a lot of evidence as the Russian troops victory and defeat.Often another military operation ended with the death or capture of the one, the other participants.In addition, the history of the Order of the Sword is full episodes of their ongoing struggle with the Estonians - the people have long populated the the land.In many ways it complicates the situation and existed here before the Livonian Order, also imposes its law in the territory.
Searches venous ally
situation was complicated.In order to maintain such a large-scale actions were needed considerable military force, and they are clearly lacking at the Sword.Order was forced to seek a powerful ally in Europe, united with that, could continue the colonization of new territories.But not only the military advantage could give such an alliance.The fact that the Order of the Sword knight's endless political struggle led by Bishop Albrecht - the official ruler of Livonia.The aim of the fight was way out of his jurisdiction.
That could be a powerful ally of the Teutonic Order.Founded during the Third Crusade to the described historical period which had at its disposal a large army, staffed by well-armed and trained by German knights, he could be a force that would ensure Swordbrothers decisive advantage in all military and political disputes.
Negotiations to merge the two orders
After their Master Folkvin Teutons turned to such a proposal, then for a long time he had no response from them.Their head, gohmeyster Hermann von Salza, was a man of caution and circumspection, not in its rules would make hasty decisions.When, finally, he sent his envoys to Swordbrothers for detailed examination of all the circumstances of their life and activity, they were extremely dissatisfied with what he saw.
In their reports point to an unacceptable abuse of the whole way of life of the Livonian Knights and contempt with which they treat their own statutes.It is possible that this was true, but most likely the main reason for their negative reviews was marked by the desire of the Sword after the merger retain their independence and prevent their complete absorption of the Teutons.
defeat Sword River Saul
not known how long the talks would continue, if not for the misfortune that befell the Order of the Sword in one of the regular military operations.They were defeated by the Lithuanian pagans at the battle on the river Saul.Relying on the support of Latgale and baptized Estonians, they have been betrayed by them and suffered heavy losses.On the battlefield remained lying fifty noble Livonian Knights.The forces of Order have been undermined and save him could only help the Teutons.
decisive role in the unification of the two orders played Pope Gregory IX.He knew that after such an impressive defeat of the Sword Livonia threatened again be at the mercy of the Gentiles.
Being a man of resolute, he immediately signed a decree according to which in 1237 merged with the Order of the Teutonic Knights of the Sword.From now on, before an independent conquerors Livonia became a branch of the Teutonic Order, but the choice they did not have.
new owners Livonia
Teutonic Order immediately sent to Livonia whole army of fifty-four knights, accompanied by a myriad of servants, squires and mercenaries.In the short term resistance of the Gentiles were crushed, and the process of Christianization of lands continued without any incidents.Since then, however Swordbrothers lost all independence.Even their leader - lanmeyster, not elected, as before, and was appointed by the Supreme gohmeysterom of Prussia.
further historical development of territories belonging to Livonia, characterized by extreme political instability.Unlike the Sword, are subject to the local bishop, their new owners were full jurisdiction from the Pope, and in accordance with the law of those years had to pass in his possession a third of them land Christianized.This caused a protest of the local episcopate was the reason for many subsequent conflicts.
Order of the Sword, Livonian Order, Teutonic Knights and claim these lands Russian princes constantly held the edge in a state of semi-military.Long standoff episcopate and the Order of the authorities, claiming the leading role in both the religious and political issues, has led to a steady decline in the standard of living of the indigenous population, and periodically provoked social explosions.