What was the status of Latvian and Estonian aristocrats/chiefs in the 18th century?

Dec 2017
801
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During the 18th century, in the territories of what is now Latvia and Estonia, what was the status of the descendants of indigenous nobility/chiefs? I am asking about all areas, such as those under Swedish control, Russian control, Duchy of Kurland-Semigalia, and Polish-Lithuanian control.

I am aware of a few indigenous groups, like the "Curonian Kings", who survived the German crusader era into the early-modern period. But I don't know what was the status of people like that, or other descendants of indigenous Latvian and Estonian nobility, by the 18th century?
Curoniian kings were a privileged group. But they were not a nobility group.
 
Sep 2018
101
transitory
Curoniian kings were a privileged group. But they were not a nobility group.
I know they were not nobility under the Baltic-German states, but I had heard that they were privaleged because they were the descendants of old tribal nobility/chiefs from before the Crusaders conquered the region. Do you know if that's true? Also, can you elaborate on what their status was during the 18th century?
 
Dec 2017
801
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I know they were not nobility under the Baltic-German states, but I had heard that they were privaleged because they were the descendants of old tribal nobility/chiefs from before the Crusaders conquered the region. Do you know if that's true? Also, can you elaborate on what their status was during the 18th century?
Curonian Kings were. Likely , they were not the only descendants of tribal leaders. They became privileged because they were loyal to the Order accepting Christianity willingly. They served in cavalry. They provided guarding service, mail delivery. They were vassals of the Order given more rights in comparison to other locals.
 
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sparky

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Jan 2017
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the local nobility of the Baltic states were German noble families descendants of the crusaders states
there were some Danish and Swedish ones
they integrated into the Russian imperial system and gave good service to the czar
same for the Georgian nobility
the czarist Empire was noble friendly
To some degree Lithuania had a different system with more local in its nobility which became more Polish than Lithuanian by choice

I'm not aware of any ethnically Balt noble

Baltic nobility - Wikipedia
 
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pikeshot1600

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Jul 2009
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It might be mentioned that the nobility of the Baltic Livonian lands (Latvia/Estonia) were almost all German. There were some vestiges of Swedish influence, and also of some Scots (intermarried in many cases with Germans). By the early 18th century, the Baltic nobility had understood their interests as a social class, and their economic interests, as identifying with the Russian Empire. The indigenous groups of "Livonians" had hierarchies, as any society has, but it was not compatible with that of the German crusading military orders.

The 18th century peasantry were the descendants of the Baltic tribal groupings over which the Brethren of the Sword and the Teutonic Order had imposed Christianity and a semi-feudal social model. As so often in eastern Europe, the condition of the peasantry was better early on, and degenerated into serfdom as economic conditions changed and the Baltic (German) nobility acted in their own interests. In occasional situations, some Livonians may have attained noble status and recognition, but it was likely very rare.

The Baltic German nobility had little difficulty after about 1710 in exchanging obedience to the Swedish Crown for that to the Czar. The Baltic nobility were similar to the Prussian nobility (all being known generally as Junkers), and their common identity and economic interests were not unlike those of the Russian land owning nobility. That is why the Balts were comfortable with, and welcomed in, the Russian society of the time. That lasted until the Russian Revolution.
 
Last edited:
Dec 2017
801
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the local nobility of the Baltic states were German noble families descendants of the crusaders states
there were some Danish and Swedish ones
they integrated into the Russian imperial system and gave good service to the czar
same for the Georgian nobility
the czarist Empire was noble friendly
To some degree Lithuania had a different system with more local in its nobility which became more Polish than Lithuanian by choice

I'm not aware of any ethnically Balt noble

Baltic nobility - Wikipedia
Lithuania had separate history and nobility. Different to those of Latvia and Estonia. Except Latgale (eastern Latvia) . As result Latgale remained Roman Catholic.
 
Dec 2017
801
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As far as I can remember Peter the Great , after northern war bought part of Karelia, Ingria (St-Petersburg region), Swedish Estonia (northern Estonia), Swedish Livonia (southern Estonia, north-eastern Latvia) . I don't what Russian empire gained other than access to the Baltic sea. A very important victory for Russia in that regard.
 

sparky

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Jan 2017
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it was not so much a "gain" as the neutralization of a constant threat
from the Teutonics to the Swedish crown
Livonia and Estonia had been for centuries the staging ground of foreign armies hostile to Russia
once incorporated into the Czarist Empire it became a political backwater
the Russian rule was not exactly a barrel of laugh but it was quite peaceful and ,on the whole , socially and religiously tolerant
 
Dec 2017
801
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it was not so much a "gain" as the neutralization of a constant threat
from the Teutonics to the Swedish crown
Livonia and Estonia had been for centuries the staging ground of foreign armies hostile to Russia
once incorporated into the Czarist Empire it became a political backwater
the Russian rule was not exactly a barrel of laugh but it was quite peaceful and ,on the whole , socially and religiously tolerant
Teuton Order controlled eastern Prussia. They were a threat to Lithuania and Poland. Grand Duke of Lithuania Kęstutis successfully defended western borders of Lithuania against Teuton Order. After the defeat at Grunwald the order was no longer a real threat. Livonia Order was in Latvia and Estonia. They were a constant threat to Novgorodian Republic. Novgorodian Republic was a separate state. Not Russia, as Russia emerged from Moscow principality. Crusade, Livonian Order, Lithuania, Moscow principality were a constant threat to Novgorodians. The republic fell to Moscow in 1478. From Ivan III Moscow had encounters with Livonian Germans/Swedes in the Baltic. Moscow, later Russian tsardom always sought access to the Baltic sea.The entrance to Europe was Archangel , then above Arctic circle for 3-4 months in year at best. Or through Mogilev city (hostile Lithuania, then Poland)
 
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Larrey

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Sep 2011
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it was not so much a "gain" as the neutralization of a constant threat
from the Teutonics to the Swedish crown
More like tje elimination of competition to the Muscovite state by use of force...

Russia as a historical concept is a bit of a moving target. A lot of telescoping of preferred post-fact outcomes into history goes on with it.

The Muscovite state turned out to be as much threat to the Novgorodian state as the Teutonic Order state, or eventually the Swedish kingdom.