Sweden's first holdings in Estonia

to map

1561

Already during the Baltic Crusade, the Swedes had been trying to get a foothold in Estonia, but their advance in Läänemaa (Wiek) in 1220 was repelled by the Estonians. Their next attempt to participate in the events in Estonia, was during the St. George's Night Uprising in 1343. The Swedish forces, that had been called to help by the Estonians, did reach Tallinn, but had to turn back, because the opportune moment to enter the conflict had passed.


By 1561, the Livonian Order, hopelessly weakened by the Livonian War, was facing the powerful Russia, country that had already conquered half of Livonia, and the Order started looking for new and stronger masters. Their choices were Poland, Sweden and Denmark; and initially, the Order gave their forts to Poland. In Northern Estonia and especially in Tallinn, they leaned more towards Denmark, and even more towards Sweden, from whom they hoped better trade conditions. In 1561, Swedish seized Toompea castle, and immediately Tallinn and the Noble Corporation of Harju-, Viru- and Järvamaa capitulated. Even though Sweden had lost a great part of these areas to Russia, by the end of the war it managed to recapture them, and thus, Sweden had Hiiumaa, all of northern Estonia and Ingeria.

Image: King of Sweden, Erik XIV

Source: Ain Mäesalu, Tõnis Lukas, Mati Laur, Tõnu Tannberg. Eesti ajalugu I. Avita, Tallinn 1995
Image source: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/8c/Erik_XIV_(1533-1577)_Domenicus_Verwildt.jpg


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