Suppression of uprising

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10. October 1560

In the middle of October 1560 the stift bailiff of Läänemaa Christoph von Münchhausen, brother of Johann, former Saare-Lääne bishop, decided to defeat the rebels under Koluvere. Hereby it is also interesting that Münchhausen also probably was first located in Koluvere, surrounded by the peasants, but left there some time before the middle of October and started to gather the troops on the areas not seized by uprising. He gathered total of 60 riders for regular troops which was probably too few for suppression of the rebels.

Therefore Münchhausen used the stratagem: as set off from Lihula, he forced the peasants who probably had not joined the uprising to follow him.
It is possible that the peasants joined him only due to the fear of getting severely punished in contrary case, but also one could consider probable that these could have been the persons loyal to Münchhausen and Duke Magnus who had prevented the plunder of Lihula one month earlier.

Münchhausen sent the peasants of Lihula in front of his other troops and these had to fake as if they had come to help the besiegers of Koluvere. The besiegers believed the stratagem and therefore the joint attack of Lihula peasants and Münchhausen's troops hit them unexpectedly. According to Renner they were taken "between two fences" which obviously means that the peasants remained in-between two troops (Lihula peasants and Münchhausen's riders). The rebels were defeated and about 70 of them died.

It is possible that the number of peasants killed was 200, such number is mentioned in one letter of Duke Magnus. The king of peasants and probably also several other leaders were imprisoned. All this happened before the night of 17 October when Münchhausen already arrived to Kuressaare. Herbert Ligi has guessed that the decisive battle took place either on 14 or 15 October.
The imprisoned king was also probably taken to Kuressaare where Münchhausen let him torn into four according to Renner. Other leaders of rebels were presumably also killed on the wheel.

This ended the uprising of peasants of Läänemaa and Harjumaa, remaining the last more extensive military uprising of peasants in Estonia before the end of the 18th century. The situation in the country remained still restless and from the year 1561 the notices about the contrariness of peasants to noblemen and landlord exist. This is unclear how much fear existed before the outbreak of the new uprising and how much the peasants actually fought against. The number of peasants having participated in the uprising is also unclear. The letter of order master Kettler of 8 October mentions the number 4000 which could be considered the obvious exaggeration. It is possible that Koluvere was besieged by couple of hundred of peasants, no detailed information can be obtained from anywhere.

 


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