The era of Old-Livonia in Estonian towns

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1248

During the Middle Ages, from the second quarter of the XIII century, towns started to develop. Tallinn, Narva and Rakvere were established under the Lübeck law (1248, 1345 and 1302 accordingly), Tartu, Viljandi, Paide and New-Pärnu under the Riga law (1262, 1283, 1291, 1318). Several other towns like Haapsalu and Old-Pärnu, had their own law. The Town Council served as the governing- and judiciary body. The highest officials in towns were the burgomaster, among other important people were the syndics (working as a scribe and a advocate), and town bailiff (fulfilling law enforcement duties). Market towns like Lihula, Keila, Otepää and Põltsamaa came into existence. All the towns in Estonia belonged to the Hanseatic League, with the exceptions of Narva and Old-Pärnu.

The tradesman's union was the Great Guild, and young merchants formed the Brotherhood of the Blackheads.

There were two small craftsman's guilds in Tallinn, Kanuti and Oleviste.

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


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