Posvol deals are made

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14. September 1557

On September 14, 1557, three deals were signed in Posvol, a place near Lithuanian northern border. The Order and rest of the Livonians were on the one side, and Poland-Lithuania on the other. First of the deals reinstated Wilhelm as the archbishop of Riga and Christoph as his coadjutor, but they had to promise not to turn the bishopric into a secular state, and that they would rule by Livonian laws.

The only exception was the Volmari compromise from 1546, which was cast aside as "damaging to bishop's interest". The second deal was made between the Order and Lithuania, which ended the martial law and fixed the borders. But the most interesting was the third deal, which was made between the Master of the Order and king Sigismund. A secret alliance was formed against Russia.

The conditions of the deal were rather peculiar: it came to power only after the peace treaties the both parties had with Russia had ended, which would not happen before 1562, when the Russian-Lithuania peace was to end. The rest of Livonia joined with the treaty, but only the Master of the Order was directly tied with the deal. Therefore the main goal of the deal was to directly tie the strongest state unit in Livonia to the politics of king Sigismund; earlier, the Order had always tried to avoid any sort of alliance with Poland.

Whole different question is what role the Posvol treaties played in the end of the coadjutor conflict and the beginning of the Livonian war. It has been claimed that Ivan the Cruel knew about the deal and thus decided to attack Livonia, but contemporary sources do not support this claim. Czar most probably knew about the meeting of the Master and king in Posvol, but probably not about the content of the treaty. On the other hand, the fact that the Master had personally responded to king's invitation and came to Posvol, could have angered the czar and pushed him to levy war.

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