Bishop Damerow organizes anti-Order opposition

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In the second half of the XVI century, the archbishop and the Order were fiercely fighting for power. Even though the Order held military upper hand, the archbishop was more apt at taking advantage of diplomacy, thus the Pope initially supported the archbishop. The Order managed to surpass archbishop's diplomacy by 1390; the archbishop of Riga had to leave Livonia in 1393.

The Order captured the bishopric and managed to get Pope's support: in the future, the archbishops had to be members of the Order, also the chapter had to be part of the Teutonic Knights. This meant that the archbishop answered, at least temporarily, to the Order. Simultaneously, Order managed to appoint their favorite to the position of the bishop of Ösel-Wiek: a namesake and a relative of the High Master of the Order, Winrich von Kniprode. The bishop of Courland had been the member of the Order since the XIII century.

The supremacy of the Order threatened all of Livonia, as the only unit to remain independent was the bishop of Dorpat, who at that time was the former secretary of kaiser Karl IV, a man called Dietrich Damerow. He began to actively organize an opposition to the Order: in 1395, deal was made with Mecklenburg and its pirates, also with Pommern and Lithuania; in addition, Wenzel, the king of Germany, supported Damerow's actions against the Order.
Hence, an opposition formed, which at first seemed very threatening to the Order, but the allies held few common interests and the Order eliminated Mecklenburg and Lithuania with diplomatic tools. It was also clear that Pommern will not attack the Order, and thus in July 1396, the Master of the Livonian Order, Wennemar von Brüggene, launched a campaign against the bishopric of Dorpat.

Damerow tried to organize resistance, but the Order conquered all of the bishopric, except Tartu, by November. The fort in Otepää was razed to the ground, and was never rebuilt (thus it has provided numerous archaeologically important finds, including Otepää rifle, which is considered to be one of the oldest firearms in Europe). Damerow was forced to give up his anti-Order activities.

The issue of Livonia was solved in 1397, in the second Gdansk meeting. The bishop of Riga was incorporated to the Order, but latter had to made some concessions too.


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