Swedish Livonia

Coordinates: 56°58′00″N 24°08′00″E / 56.9667°N 24.1333°E / 56.9667; 24.1333
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Swedish Livonia
Svenska Livland
Baltic provinces of Swedish Empire in the 17th century.
Baltic provinces of Swedish Empire in the 17th century.
StatusDominion of the Swedish Empire
Common languagesSwedish, Estonian, Latvian, Livonian, Low German (Latin as lingua franca)
King of Sweden 
• 1611–1632
Gustav II Adolf
• 1720–1751
Frederick I
• 1622–1628
Jacob De la Gardie
• 1696–1702
Erik Dahlberg
• Conquered by Sweden
• Truce of Altmark
25 September 1629
• Treaty of Oliva
23 April 1660
• Great Northern War
• Conquered by Russia
• Treaty of Nystad
30 August 1721
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Duchy of Livonia
Danish province of Øsel
Governorate of Livonia (Russian Empire)
Today part ofEstonia

Swedish Livonia (Swedish: Svenska Livland) was a dominion of the Swedish Empire from 1629 until 1721. The territory, which constituted the southern part of modern Estonia (including the island of Ösel ceded by Denmark after the Treaty of Brömsebro) and the northern part of modern Latvia (the Vidzeme region), represented the conquest of the major part of the Polish-Lithuanian Duchy of Livonia during the 1600–1629 Polish-Swedish War. Parts of Livonia and the city of Riga were under Swedish control as early as 1621 and the situation was formalized in the Truce of Altmark 1629, but the whole territory was not ceded formally until the Treaty of Oliva in 1660. The minority part of the Wenden Voivodeship retained by the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth was renamed the Inflanty Voivodeship ("Livonian Principality"), which today corresponds to the Latgale region of Latvia.

Riga was the second largest city in the Swedish Empire at the time. Together with other Baltic Sea dominions, Livonia served to secure the Swedish dominium maris baltici. In contrast to Swedish Estonia, which had submitted to Swedish rule voluntarily in 1561 and where traditional local laws remained largely untouched, the uniformity policy was applied in Swedish Livonia under Karl XI of Sweden: serfdom was abolished, peasants were offered education as well as military, administrative or ecclesiastical careers, and nobles had to transfer domains to the king in the Great Reduction.

The territory in turn was conquered by the Russian Empire during the Great Northern War and, following the Capitulation of Estonia and Livonia in 1710, formed the Governorate of Livonia. Formally, it was ceded to Russia in the Treaty of Nystad in 1721, together with Swedish Estonia and Swedish Ingria.


The dominion was ruled by appointed governors-general, but retained its own diet.


Coat of arms of Swedish Livonia (1660)

Swedish infantry and cavalry regiments[edit]

Infantry regiments
Cavalry regiments

Temporary cavalry regiments:

See also[edit]


  • Andrejs Plakans, A Concise History of the Baltic States, Cambridge University Press, 2011, pp. 105ff

Further reading[edit]

  • Heikki Pihlajamäki. Conquest and the Law in Swedish Livonia, ca. 1630–1710: A Case of Legal Pluralism in Early Modern Europe. Northern World Series. Leiden: Brill Academic Publishers, 2017

56°58′00″N 24°08′00″E / 56.9667°N 24.1333°E / 56.9667; 24.1333