The War between the Order and Pihkva, and about the background of the St. George's Night Uprising

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1341

The war between the Order and town of Pihkva erupted after a border conflict in 1341, during which Russian messengers were killed. As a result, two strong forts were built on the eastern border of the Livonian Order: Aluliina (Aluksne) and Vastseliina.

The conflict seems to have had a significant influence on what was going to happen in Northern Estonia, as already for some time, the Order had planned to buy the area from Denmark. Vassals opposed this plan, as they wanted to stay under the rule of a weak king, which allowed them to enjoy relatively wide privileges. But the local Estonians had also some say in the matter, several of them had become small vassals to the Danes. They, above all, would have preferred the Swedish rule, as its peasantry was free of serfdom, and the estate obligations were almost nonexistent. By the XIV century, an awe inspiring number of estates - 20 - had been established in Harjumaa county.

Discontent of the peasantry increased, it is likely that also Estonian small vassals were not pleased with the politics, which was favoring large German vassals. It is possible, that in the beginning of either 1342 or 1343, Estonians sent their ambassadors to the Danish king, to complain about their mistreatment, but other vassals found out about the plan, and probably foiled the diplomatic plans of the Estonians. In the chronicles, this has been considered to be directly accountable for the uprising of St. George's Night.


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