Baltic German nobility
The Baltic or Baltic German nobility was the privileged social class in the territories of today's Estonia and Latvia. It existed continuously since the Northern Crusades and the medieval foundation of Terra Mariana. Most of the nobility were Baltic Germans, but with the changing political landscape over the centuries, Polish, Swedish and Russian families also became part of the nobility, just as Baltic German families re-settled in locations such as the Swedish and Russian Empires. The nobility of Lithuania is for historical, social and ethnic reasons often separated from the German-dominated nobility of Estonia and Latvia.