Old-Pärnu gains local privileges

to map

1251

First center of the bishopric of Ösel-Wiek had been Lihula, where in 1238, the Order and the bishop had built a fort together. But the bishop did not feel safe in a fort that partly belonged to the Order, and in 1251, he relocated to Old-Pärnu, which received town privileges from him the same year. Bishop's granted privileges were local, but probably had been created after the Riga law.

The settlement, standing in the mouth of Pärnu River, had good chances of becoming an important trade settlement, but few years after receiving the privileges, Lithuanians burnt it to the ground. Later on, New-Pärnu surpassed it economically. The bishop of Ösel-Wiek decided to move his residence to Haapsalu in 1263.

1251 can be regarded as the first mentioning of Pärnu, from earlier times, there is data only about Pärnu River. This record comes from chronicler Henrik (he called the river "Mater Aquarium", which in his mind stretched from the river mouth of Pärnu River to river mouth of Emajõgi River); it is possible, that also al-Idrisi mentioned it in 1154 (under the name of Bernu).

 


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