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By A. Kasekamp

Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania were the battleground for neighbouring powers and the location of extreme contention, but in addition interplay, among East and West. A historical past of the Baltic States masterfully lines the advance of those 3 Baltic nations, from the northern crusades opposed to Europe's final pagans, and Lithuania's upward thrust to develop into one in every of medieval Europe's largest
states, to their incorporation into the Russian Empire and the production in their sleek nationwide identities.

Drawing upon the latest scholarship, Andres Kasekamp can pay specific recognition to the tumultuous 20th century, within which the Baltic States accomplished independence, but in addition persevered career through either the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany. eventually, he explores how the Baltic States recovered their statehood and remodeled themselves into contributors of the eu Union. in actual fact and accessibly written, this can be one of many first English-language books to supply a comparative survey of Baltic historical past.

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The success of the Protestant Reformation was greatly facilitated by the invention of the printing press and the spread of the written word. A fundamental tenet of Protestantism was that people should be able to read the word of God themselves, a notion that resulted in the first publications in the vernacular. 36 The first Estonianlanguage Lutheran catechism was published in 1535 in Wittenberg, and the first Lithuanian-language book, also a Lutheran catechism, was printed in Konigsberg in 1547.

The order’s own officials administered its territory. In their daily lives the brothers of the order were engaged in religious services and in directing the economic activities on their lands. Donation of land to vassals was most intense in Estonia because the Danish Crown was unable to exercise effective control over its overseas possessions. 23 The weakness of the Danish Crown also tempted the order increasingly to encroach on its territory. The more numerous vassals in Danish Estonia meant that feudal relations developed more swiftly and the establishment of manors spread more rapidly than in Livonia.

After Muscovy annexed Novgorod in 1478, the Hanse office there was closed down. The Livonian ports thus became the last outposts for western trade with Russia. 30 The total pop­ ulation of Livonia reached 650,000 by the mid-sixteenth century. A sign of this affluence was the slender spire of St Olaf’s Church in Reval, an important landmark for navigators, which at 159 metres was the tallest building in the world from 1549 until struck by lightning in 1625. The Hanseatic League declined in the sixteenth century as the role of Dutch trading companies steadily increased in the Baltic trade.

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