Danish forces reach Tallinn

to map

June 1219

In the beginning of 1219, Lithuanians made a surprise attack on Central- and Western Estonia, thus significantly decreasing the resistance potential of the Estonians.

At the same time, the Order, together with Lithuanians and Latgalians, was advancing towards Revalia county, across sea ice. On their way, army suffered great losses due to the cold.

Around this time, Denmark started to take interest in Estonia again. It had already been decided at the Danish Diet in 1218, taking place in Schleswig, that Denmark will join the Estonian crusade. Bishop Albert and representatives of the crusaders in Riga were also present on that meeting.

In June 1219, the ships of the Danish king, Valdermar II, arrived in Tallinn's Bay. They landed near Lindanise hill fort in Toompea, in Revalia county, bringing large Danish army and several high standing bishops and vassals. Newcomers started to quickly construct a new fort on the hill. Revalians and Harriens (from Harjumaa) gathered a large army, and surprised the Danes with an attack from five different sides.

Initially, the Estonians were successful, but soon, on the initiative of Slavic tribes of Rygen, new advance began. This inspired the Danes and the Germans, and Estonian army was driven back. According to the myth, as an answer to the prayers of the bishops, a red flag with a white cross fell from the sky at the most difficult moment. King Valdermar's forces got new strength from this, and won the battle. This miraculous flag became the national flag of Denmark, Danneborg. One of the most important figures of the Estonian Crusade, bishop Teoderich, fell in the battle. He had wanted to create his own dominion in Estonia with the help of the Danes.

Valdemar left his garrison to Tallinn and returned to homeland. Step by step, the Danes started to capture areas around the fort and converting the Revalians. This did not go peacefully everywhere, but the Danes had built a stronghold to Estonia, and thus secured their position.

Source: Sulev Vahtre. Muinasaja loojang Eestis: vabadusvõitlus 1208-1227. Tallinn: Olion. 1990
Eesti ajaloo atlas. Tallinn: Avita, 2006.                                                                                                

Image source: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/0/00/Anders_Sunesen.jpg/200px-Anders_Sunesen.jpg                      http://www.historyfiles.co.uk/images/Europe/Estonia/Medieval_Tallinn1219_01_full.jpg

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