Livonia

Livonia (Livonian: Līvõmō, Estonian: Liivimaa, Finnish: Liivinmaa, German and Scandinavian languages: Livland, archaic German: Liefland, Dutch: Lijfland, Latvian and Lithuanian: Livonija, Polish: Inflanty, archaic English: Livland,[1] Liwlandia; Russian: Лифляндия, romanized: Liflyandiya) is a historical region on the eastern shores of the Baltic Sea. It is named after the Livonians, who lived on the shores of present-day Latvia.

Livonia in 1534
Swedish Livonia, between Swedish Estonia and Courland (1600s)
Livonia in 1820

By the end of the 13th century, the name was extended to most of present-day Estonia and Latvia that had been conquered during the Livonian Crusade (1193–1290) by the Livonian Brothers of the Sword. Medieval Livonia, or Terra Mariana, reached its greatest extent after Saint George's Night Uprising that in 1346 forced Denmark to sell the Duchy of Estonia (northern Estonia conquered by Denmark in the 13th century) to the State of the Teutonic Order. Livonia, as understood after the retreat of Denmark in 1346, bordered on the Gulf of Finland in the north, Lake Peipus and Russia to the east, and Lithuania to the south.

As a consequence of the Livonian War in the 16th century, the territory of Livonia was reduced to the southern half of Estonia and the northern half of Latvia.

The indigenous inhabitants of Livonia were various Finnic tribes in the north and Baltic tribes in the south. The descendants of the crusaders formed the nucleus of the new ruling class of Livonia after the Livonian Crusade, and eventually became known as Baltic Germans.