Hanseatic League

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The following describes the historical rift between the Baltic and Hanseatic League.

After having defeated Russians in 1557, Sweden continued the war with Hanseatic League, started in 1532. East Estonia fell in 1561, Lübeck 1571, West Estonia 1581 and most of Livonia 1621 and Curland 1630. Sweden conquered them at the expense of the (German) Livonian order, a close relative of the Teutonic Order. Untill 1630, Sweden took over almost all former Hanseatic cities and members on the Baltic Sea shore, except of those in RTC. The peace in 1631 resulted in weakend Hansa and strong Sweden. The Great Baltic Wars had decisive winner - Sweden, new great power. Sweden decided to destroy Hansa system.

Under Swedish occupation, all former members were forced to leave Hansa. After the Oresund incident, in 1653, although it was still functional, the Hansa was in difficult situation: the west part, consisting of e.g. Hamburg, Bremen and several Dutch cities, survives without many problems. The east part was weakend by the Swedish conquest and Danish policy. Thus, the Hansa split at that time. Through the initiative of Danzig and RTC, two major players in east part of Hansa in this region, it was re-constituted as the Baltic League. All other former Hanseatic cities now in Swedish Balticum (Viborg (Sedigord), Reval (Tallinn), Dorpat (Tartu) and Riga), were not members until 1721, when due to the peace process of Nystadt, Sweden was forced by the RTC to join Baltic League along with its dependecies.

(Contributed by Jan II.)