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By A. Kasekamp

ISBN-10: 0230019412

ISBN-13: 9780230019416

Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania were the battleground for neighbouring powers and the positioning of severe contention, but in addition interplay, among East and West. A background of the Baltic States masterfully strains 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 certainly one of medieval Europe's largest
states, to their incorporation into the Russian Empire and the production in their glossy nationwide identities.

Drawing upon the newest scholarship, Andres Kasekamp can pay specific recognition to the tumultuous 20th century, within which the Baltic States completed independence, but in addition persisted career via either the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany. eventually, he explores how the Baltic States recovered their statehood and remodeled themselves into participants of the ecu Union. in actual fact and accessibly written, this is often one of many first English-language books to supply a comparative survey of Baltic heritage.

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Extra resources for A history of the Baltic States

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Neverthe­ less, Riga, Reval and Narva prospered as the growing demand for grain in the Low Countries made Dutch companies circumvent Liibeck and the 37 A HISTORY OF THE BA L T IC STATES northern German cities to trade directly with the towns of eastern Baltic littoral. There was also growing demand for timber and other products used for shipbuilding such as tar, pitch and hemp. Protecting access to the Baltic ports where they obtained supplies for naval stores became a strategic priority for the Dutch and the English.

This led to a dramatic expansion of corvee (labour rent) and a corre­ sponding decline of money rent paid by ‘free wages’, which resulted in an increased enserfment of the peasantry. 18 The serfdom of the peasants was codified by the third Lithuanian Statute of 1588. Lithuania’s eastward expansion was halted, and gradually reversed, by the growing power of Muscovy. After the fall of Constantinople to the Ottoman Turks in 1453, Muscovy had begun to develop the powerful ideological message of its succession to Constantinople as the capital of Orthodox Christianity, with a mission to unite all the Rus’ian Orthodox lands under its dominion.

Unlike in Prussia, the colonisers never embarked on a programme of the settlement of German peasants and the assimilation of the natives. The conquerors did not intend a class of free peasantry to be a major component of the social structure. Furthermore, the harsh climate and the fact that Livonia could only be reached by sea militated against peasant colonisation. An exception was the Bishop of Osel-Wiek who, in the latter part of the thir­ teenth century, began to attract Swedish settlers to his thinly inhabited territory along the north-western coast and islands of Estonia.

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A history of the Baltic States by A. Kasekamp

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