Over-Estonian rebellion

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February 1223

News about capturing the fort and driving away the Danes, reached all over Estonia, and drove Estonians to rise up to the conquerors.

In the beginning of 1223, locals begun to destroy the garrisons of the Brotherhood and kill their bailiffs in Varbola, Viljandi, Leole, Järvamaa, Otepää and Tartu. Heathen procedures were held all over the land, to mark apostasy.

Over a short period of time, more than third of the Brotherhood's members were killed - the Brotherhood suffered great losses. After the Germans had been murdered, Estonians sent their messengers to Russia, to make peace and form an alliance. This was successful and Russians sent their warriors to Viljandi, Tartu and other Estonian towns.

Forts were strengthened, siege weapons built and locals learned how to use crossbows. Estonians swapped hostages with the Germans, thus the elders got back their sons that the enemy had used as leverage for years.

People from Wiek, Varbola, Järva and Vironia begun to siege Tallinn again, but unsuccessfully. Danish made a successful charge and the attackers were forced to pull back. In March 1223, Germans, together with Livonians and Latgalians raided Saccalia. Forts in Viljandi and Leole were surrounded, but not captured. Germans plundered the county of Nurmekunde and got revenge for killed Germans.

In spring 1223, Estonians organized a larger campaign to the lands of Livonians and Latgalians. The land was razed, but then the Order started to pursue attackers. At the bridge of Ümera River, big battle was fought, that remained the last open-air battle for the Estonians. According to Henrik, Estonians fought bravely but were ultimately crushed and forced to retreat.

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

Image source: A. Mäesalu, T. Lukas, M. Laur, T. Tannberg. Eesti ajalugu I, Avita 1997 lk 48

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