The St. George's Night Uprising

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23. April 1343

The St. George's Night Uprising started in April 1343, in Harjumaa (Harrien). The causes most likely being the high-handed treatment of the peasants by the nobles, and the fact that the land was about to change hands. In a short amount of time, the Estonians killed every German they could get their hands on, and captured Padise monastery, which was burned to the ground. The 28 monks residing there were slain. Thus all of Harju County (except Tallinn), was freed from foreign power. Next a army, allegedly of 10,000 men, set up a camp near Tallinn. Help was asked from the bailiff of Turu (in service to the king of Sweden), who promised his help.

The uprising started in Lääne County (Wiek) as well. The Livonian Order intervened and the Estonian leaders ("kings") were called to Paide for negotiations, but were killed there in a clash of arms. Following that, the forces of the Order moved swiftly towards Tallinn to quell the Estonian forces.

On May 14, the Order crushed the Estonians in the battle of Sõjamäe, near Tallinn. The Swedish forces arrived from Finland, but it was too late and they had to turn back. Earlier on, the Estonians must have asked the Russians for help as well; an army of 5000 made it to Southern Estonia, but could not accomplish there much.

The uprising, however, was not over yet: in July, it also started in Saaremaa, from where the Germans were quickly kicked out. It was not until 1344, when the Order was able to send its forces there, but which were unable to completely beat the Oeselians. In 1345, however, the Order prevailed.

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


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