German campaigns in Northern Estonia and the "christening race"

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March 1220

Germans, Latgalians and Livonians, together with conquered Estonians, continued to attack the counties of Vironia and Järva, in the second half of 1219.

Elders of both counties agreed with the conditions of peace and gave hostages. In the beginning of 1220, another raid to Harrien was organized.

Near Kareda village, in Järvamaa, Germans and Latgalians unexpectedly met Oeselians, who had come to punish locals for surrendering to the crusaders. Germans managed to crush the Oeselian army.

Army, consisting of Livonians and mainland Estonians, did not participate in the Battle of Kareda, but moved straight to Harrien; after destroying the Oeselians, Germans and Latgalians joined them. People of Varbola sent their elders to negotiate with the crusaders, and after giving hostages and allowing people to be christened, peace was made.

In Harrien, the Germans had their first more direct contact with the Danes, and it became apparent, that the sides understood the promises made in Schleswig differently. Danes said, that despite the efforts made by the Germans in conquering Estonia, the Livonian bishops had promised all of Estonia to Denmark. Such claims brought forward a "christening race" in Northern Estonia in 1220: Danish and German priests tried to convert as many people as possible in as many places as possible, destroying old holy groves in the process.

Image: Friedrich von Maydell gaving "Missionaries cutting down Estonian groves" (1842), from the art collection of the Libabry of the University of Tartu.

Allikad: Sulev Vahtre. Muinasaja loojang Eestis: vabadusvõitlus 1208-1227. Tallinn: Olion. 1990
Eesti ajaloo atlas. Tallinn: Avita, 2006.                                                                                                    Allikas (pilt):

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