Livonian War - a brief history

The Livonian War lasted from 1558 to 1583rd year. She was the main opposition during the reign of Ivan IV the Terrible. Many states were involved in this conflict. At the same time, Sweden, Russia, the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, the Livonian Order directly fought, and Denmark, England, the Ottoman Empire and the Pope of Rome provided all kinds of help and influence.

livonian war

Livonian war, the reasons for its beginning

The developing Moscow state had the need to gain access to foreign markets. And above all to the markets of Western Europe. For this, an exit to the Baltic was needed, and it was held in the hands of the Livonian Order. And Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth wanted to own the Baltic. England needed a short way through the Baltic Sea, while Denmark and Sweden fought for the right to collect duty on the transit of goods. Livonian Order to the time being described is greatly weakened. He was torn apart by religious and social contradictions. The fact that Moscow wants to take advantage of the situation and is preparing a war was understood well in the Order.To the Russian tsar, delegations were repeatedly sent with a proposal for an armistice. However, in 1557 the war still began. The reason was the non-payment by Livonians of the tribute for their city Derpt (Yuriev).

Livonian war results

The course of the conflict

The Livonian War is conditionally divided into 3 periods. The first (from 1558 to 1561) was marked by the successes of the Russian troops and the complete destruction of the Livonian Order. In the second (1561-1578) period, the Rzeczpospolita entered the war, the fighting continued with varying success. In the third period (1579–1583), the position of the Moscow kingdom deteriorated sharply, Sweden joined the Poles and Lithuanians, and the Nogai horde resumed in the Volga region. As a result of several defeats and a complicated internal situation, Ivan the Terrible was forced to accept an unfavorable peace.

The end and the results of the confrontation

In September 1582, the Swedish army took Narva and the cities of Koporye, Yam, Ivangorod. Wanting to return Narva at any cost, the king decided to make peace with the Poles in order to turn all his forces against the Swedes. Polish king Stefan Batory, whose army was greatly weakened by the siege of Pskov, agreed. In September of the same year, peace negotiations began in the village of Kiverova Gora, near Yam Zapolsky (with the mediation of the papal envoy, the legate Antonio Possevino).livonian war causesAfter a month of discussions and debates, which were often of a formal nature, a 10-year armistice agreement was signed. According to this treaty, Rzeczpospolita received Livonia and returned the city of Velikie Luki to Russia, as well as several other minor cities, while keeping Polotsk and Velizh. Three months later, the Russian troops launched an offensive against the Swedes. However, due to the threat of war with the Turks and the difficult situation in the Volga region, despite the first military successes, the king had to abandon Narva. In August 1583, a Plusus truce was concluded between Sweden and Moscow for a period of three years.


This is how the Livonian War ended. Its results for Russia were depressing: the country did not get access to the Baltic, but lost the Ladoga area. The state was ravaged, many areas were deserted. The Livonian Order was defeated, and its territory was divided between the rivals of Russia.

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