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Chapter Summary

The Latvian tribes living on the banks of the Daugava river became the first target of Christian merchants. The Estonians managed to fight the German crusaders with the active support of Russian princes, who also retained a traditional interest in the area. The weakening status of the Teutonic Order gave Ivan IV (the Terrible) an opportunity to open the landlocked Muscovite State to the Baltic Sea. Russian troops invaded Livonia in 1558, which launched a process of successive wars involving Russia, Sweden, Poland and Denmark. These Livonian wars lasted for a quarter of a century (1558-1583) and dramatically changed the balance of power in the Baltic Sea region. The Swedish domination lasted until the end of the seventeenth century. With the accession to the throne of the young and inexperienced Karl XII in 1697, Russia, Poland and Denmark saw an opportunity to regain lost territories.

Keywords: German crusaders; Latvian tribes; Livonian wars; Russian troops; Swedish domination



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