Livonians attempt to extend peace with Russia

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In 1551, the ambassadors of Livonia went to Russia to extend the truce with Russia that was ending that year. The last truce had been made in 1531, during the time of Wolter von Plettenberg.

Although Livonians hoped the new peace agreement can also be signed for the same length of time, the hopes were small as Russia had become considerably stronger in the meantime: the Khanate of Kazan was being conquered and Ivan the Terrible, who had been ruling on his own since 1547, kept getting greater and greater ambitions.

Thus, the czar could not have liked the current peace treaty with Livonians, either, as the superiority of Russia had not been emphasised clearly enough. Also, Russian merchants were against the extension of the current peace treaty because they wanted more trade privileges in Livonia.

According to the opinion of the historian Norbert Angermann, it was opposition from merchants that was the reason why the long-term peace treaty was not signed in 1551. Livonians only managed to get a one-year extension to the peace treaty on the same conditions, even though they were promised that if they do what the Russians require (extension of trading rights and setting of Russian churches in order in Livonia), the treaty could be extended to four years. But Livonians did not do that. This is why there was probably no legal relationship between Livonia and Russia in the years 1552-1554 and it meant war could break out at any moment.


Mati Laur. Eesti ajalugu varasel uusajal 1550-1800. Tallinn: Eesti Entsüklopeediakirjastus, 1999

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