The Master of the Order and archbishop sign the Pacta Subjectionis with Sigmund II Augustus

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28. November 1561

By fall of 1561, Old Livonia had mostly crumbled. From the summer of 1560, half of Estonia and Eastern Latvia were under the influence of Ivan the Terrible. From 1559 on, the bishopric of Ösel-Wiek and Courland was controlled the brother of the king of Denmark, Magnus, and in the summer of 1561 Northern Estonia placed itself under Sweden's rule.

The only independent Livonian states were those of the bishopric of Riga and the Livonian Order. The last Master of the Order, Gotthard Kettler had as of 1559, above all, hoped for the aid of Poland and Lithuania, but by 1561, it was clear that king Sigismund II August had no intention to actively intervene in the conflict. This created the situation, where Russia could conquer all of the rest of Livonia, the Order and the bishopric had no more resources to keep up military resistance anyway.

Thus, Kettler and the archbishop Wilhelm were left without choice but to give in to Poland's demands, by which all of their domain was directly subjected to king Sigismund II Augustus. Initially the lands of Livonia remained separate from Poland and Lithuania, additionally, it was decided to form the Duchy of Courland in Southern Estonia, and first duke was to be Kettler. On November 28, the representatives of king Sigismund presented conditions to the representatives of Livonia in Vilnius.

The only ones to refuse surrender were the people of Riga; Riga did, formally, become a free city for 20 years, and answered only to the Kaiser. The archbishop and master of the order decided to agree to the king's terms. These changes came into effect in March, 1562.


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