Administrative division of Estonia until the middle of the XIV century

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After conquering Estonia, foreign powers divided it amongst themselves. At first, there was a lot of confusion surrounding this, as the Order of the Brothers of the Sword seized Northern Estonia in 1227. It was in 1238, when, now named the Livonian Order, had to return the land to the king of Denmark according to Treaty of Stensby. Denmark's dominion in Northern Estonia was called "Harrien-Vironian" ("Harju-Viru"), and from the second half of the XIII century, the king was also the Duke of Estonia. The local vassals played a big part in the government, they maintained that role even after the end of the Danish rule.

The rest of Estonia was divided between the Order and bishoprics. In 1229, the Bishopric of Ösel-Wiek was created, holding the Western- and island areas. Already existing Bishopric of Dorpat held the South-Eastern Estonia (the former county of Ugaunia). The rest belonged to the Order of Livonia (since 1237). The most important local fortress of the Order was in Viljandi. Officially, the lands of Estonia belonged to the Holy Roman Empire. The link between the two was weak, and latter had almost no part in mundane life.

Source: A.Mäesalu, T. Lukas, M. Laur, T. Tannberg "Eesti ajalugu I" 1997 "Avita"

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