Helmold von Lode's attempt to found the towns of Lodenrode and Koila

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During the Middle Ages, in an attempt found towns in their dominions, several vassals granted town privileges to small market places and, in some extreme cases, even to empty spots, later trying to build them into trade centers.

Town privileges granted the merchants free trade inside the town limits, also offered protection, and the townsfolk were free people. Therefore, the town privileges were very desirable. Yet, most of the towns evolved naturally, artificially created towns did not succeed.

This happened also to Helmold von Lode, one of the big vassals in Läänemaa, who in 1296 made an attempt to found two towns, Lodenrode and Koila, somewhere at the coast of Läänemaa. But it seems, that the "founding" was nothing more than granting two places, where, at most, a fishing village was located, a paper with town privileges. Evolving those places into cities was too big of a task for Lode. In any case, nothing has been heard about his towns afterwards. Founding a town in Livonia, where the population was sparse and the vassals not very wealthy, was even more difficult. Most successful private town was Raupa (Latvian Straupe, German Roop), founded by von der Ropp family, which became the member of the Hanseatic League in the XIV century.

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