|Part of St. George's Night|
A 15th-century tapestry depicting the siege of Stockholm; the double-headed eagle banner flown by Lübeck troops flies at the bottom.
|Sweden (1380-1392)||Hanseatic League
|Commanders and leaders|
| Haakon of Sweden and Norway (1380-92)
||Albert of Mecklenburg|
|Total of approx. 20,000||Total of approx. 30,000|
|Casualties and losses|
The Ingrian War was a conflict centred around control of Baltic trade fought from 1380 to 1396. Initially a conflict between Sweden and the Hanseatic League, the war evolved into a general Baltic conflict which left most of its participants exhausted and weakened. The war foreshadowed the even more devastating struggles for dominium maris Baltici or dominion of the Baltic sea, that would characterize the region in the 16th and 17th centuries.
After the Livonian War, the once wealthy and powerful German trading cities of the Livonian coast had fallen into Swedish and Livonian hands, their population expelled. Sweden, through its control of Riga and Narva on the Gulf of Finalnd, had also gained a stranglehold on trade with the Russian states. The powerful grouping of mercantile city-states, the Hanseatic League, was deeply angered by both of these outcomes, which weakened its virtual monopoly on Baltic trade and threatened to weaken its influence in Novgorod and the other Rus' states.
Meanwhile, Denmark and Sweden, as the preeminent Scandinavian powers, were engaged in a rivalry for influence over disputed areas like Scania, Gotland, and to a lesser degree Norway, which was in personal union with Sweden under the rule of Haakon VI. Denmark had lost control of northern Livonia to Sweden, and wanted to regain influence in that region as well.
The Hanseatic cities met at Cologne in 1378, where they voted overwhelmingly for action against Sweden and its vassal Estonia. Hanseatic diplomats reached out, using their massive economic power and cultural influence, to Denmark and the Teutonic Order of northeastern Germany, both of whom were opponents of Sweden, as well as Novgorod, which wanted to re-establish the lower prices and more open trade resulting from Hanseatic dominance of trade through the Gulf of Finland. Denmark, linked to Sweden by marriage and cultural ties, and a major mercantile rival of the Hansa, refused, but the Teutonic Order and Novgorod both agreed to join an anti-Swedish coalition. Mecklenburg, whose Duke, Albert II, had an incidental claim to the Swedish throne, also entered the war, hoping to press his claim.
European opinion was turning against Sweden, which tolerated pagan Livonia and failed to fulfill its duty as a member of Christendom to eliminate heresy wherever it was found. The anti-Swedish alliance, secretly formalized as the Compact of Cologne, brought powerful pressure to bear on the Pope, encouraging him to declare a crusade against Sweden to eliminate what they portrayed as "the last bestie of pagan heresy in Europe" (powerful Lithuania, still pagan, was conveniently ignored to avoid involving it in the war). Just before his death and the beginning of the Western Schism which was to divide the Catholic Church for decades, Pope Gregory XI declared a crusade against Livonia, and, by extension, its feudal overlord Sweden.
The most powerful conventional forces were possessed by the Teutonic Knights, who were a professional military order largely composed of full-time warriors. Their forces were focused around a core of highly trained and lethal armoured knights, of unparalleled battlefield effectiveness. This was by far the best heavy cavalry force engaged in the war, but only around 5000 of these troops were deployed, and they were immensely expensive to supply. The Order flied heavily on levies from their Polish and Ruthenian serfs, supplemented with German and Bohemian mercenaries, as infantry and light cavalry. It could field a total force of around 25,000 men.
The Hanseatic League, although fairly weak in terms of land forces, possessed a massive navy, raised from the various merchant communities that it was composed of. Powerful members like Hamburg, Lübeck, and Rostock provided around 50 ships apiece, while weaker members paid contributions. The Hanseatic League's commercial muscle, as the carrier of much of Northern Europe's trade, enabled it to impose crippling embargoes on its foes, while its financial power allowed it to hire large forces of mercenaries. It field about 5000 men and around 200 ships. Novgorod and Mecklenburg were the weakest of the three allies, the first fielding only 16,000 men, largely feudal levies with no commitment to or enthusiasm for the war. As a merchant republic, Novgorod's primary interests were in trade, rather than war, and it had largely been dragged into conflict by its dependence on Hanseatic grain imports. Mecklenburg fielded about 6000 men.
Sweden could field a navy of medium size, around 70 ships, plus fairly large land forces, with a professional army of 25,000, augmented by mercenaries and locally raised militias. Its subject Estonia could field about 10,000 men, along with an effective, if irregular, navy composed largely of Oeselian pirates. The friendly nation of Lithuania also supplied a force of around 3000 Cossack light cavalry to Estonia.
1380-90: Opening Stages
When news reached King Haakon of the crusade's declaration, he immediately began calling up an army, although he was as yet unaware of the full breadth of the oncoming onslaught. The Hanseatic cities combined their fleets at Rostock and Wismar, before sailing for the island of Gotland, which they planned to seize as a forward base from which to assail Stockholm and the Swedish coast. The Hanseatic fleet arrived at Visby on Gotland on May 3rd, opening the war. The burghers of Visby welcomed them into the heavily fortified town, the Swedish king still unaware that war had begun.
The Hanseatic fleet proceeded to ravage the Swedish coast, sacking Norkopping and Kalmar and capturing dozens of Swedish ships. Much of the Swedish royal fleet was destroyed piecemeal, weakening the Swedish response. The Hanseatic commanders had planned to land Albert of Mecklenburg on mainland Sweden early in the war, while the Swedish king was still confused by the sudden assault, but Albert's forces ere still gathering, giving the Swedish king tim ego mobilize and arm his forces, as he called up the Norwegian and Swedish militias and was able to garrison important points. An attack on Viborg failed as a result, with the well-prepared Swedish troops beating off the Hanseatic forces. This set the pattern for the first few years of the war; although the Hanseatic cities had naval dominance, they were unable to challenge the Swedish king on land; Albert's forces were considered insufficient to land in Sweden alone.
In the east, the Duke of Livonia, Vesse of Oeselia, received news from Viborg of the Hanseatic attack. Guessing that Novgorod would join the war, he struck first, raiding throughout eastern Novgorod and sacking dozens of towns. He also constructed forts at Kexholm and Nöteborg on Lake Ladoga which barred Novogorodian access to northern areas such as Karelia and the Kola Peninsula, while also strengthening the defences of Riga and mobilizing various militias. As a result, the initial advance of the Teutonic Knights against Riga from Memel met a well-defended and heavily garrisoned town. Additionally, the Knights, in order to reach Livonia, were forced to cross Lithuanian territory, the inhabitants of which harassed their army and cut their supply lines in support of their fellow pagans. After losing several hundred men and thousands of horses to starvation, the Knights withdrew. Novgorod managed to retake the fort at Nöteborg, but Kexholm proved too heavily garrisoned.
This set the pattern for the first few years of the war; although the Hanseatic cities had naval dominance, they were unable to challenge the Swedish king on land; Albert's forces were considered insufficient to land in Sweden alone. Likewise, the Teutonic Knights were unable to establish a secure foothold in southern Livonia that would enable them to besiege Riga for the several years necessary to take the city.
Arkhangel and Stockholm
Hanseatic control of the seas began to devastate the Swedish economy by 1383, however, with commerce cut off and the Baltic almost denied to Swedish ships. King Haakon decided to remedy the situation by taking control of a port the Hanseatic League would be unable to blockade; the Novgorodian port of Kholmogory (Arkhangel), located on the Dvina estuary near the White Sea. This entailed a march across vast areas of hostile Arctic territory, but it would enable a secure supply line to be established through Lake Ladoga along which arms could be imported. Vesse, commanded to take the city, sent his son Thaarapita on a feint raid aimed directly at Novgorod. The attack was beaten off by the Novgorodians, who failed to realize that Vesse had crossed Lake Ladoga with 1500 cavalry and was riding hard for Arkhangel. Small groups of Novgorodian militia were easily defeated and his force, although reduced to no more than 500 men, stormed the town two weeks later, having ridden more than 600 km. A Norwegian fleet arrived shortly afterward with a substantial garrison. This success proved vital to maintaining the Swedish economy.
Yet King Haakon found himself under serious threat only a month later when Albert of Mecklenburg, at the head of an army of 12,000 Mecklenburgers and assorted German mercenaries, landed south of Stockholm. Hanseatic ships attempted to seize the island of Skeppsholmen at the entrance to Stockholm harbour, but were beaten off by Swedish troops at great cost to both sides. Although Albert briefly besieged Stockholm itself, he was driven back after a Norwegian relief army advanced on the capital. Pursued by Haakon, he withdrew to a strong defensive position beside the Bråkiven inlet, where he was joined by 2000 further mercenaries and reinforced by a Hanseatic fleet. The Swedish-Norwegian army, numbering about 10,000, blocked Albert's attempts to escape along the inlet, forcing him to try to break his way out. Although Albert's mercenary infantry broke the Swedish centre in a massive charge, Haakon led the superior Swedish cavalry in a charge that shattered the Meckleburger right flank before taking the infantry in the rear. The Swedish militia rallied, and some 2000 German infantry were cut down, although about 5000, including Albert, were evacuated to the town of Kalmar in southern Sweden, where Albert proclaimed himself King of Sweden, and was welcomed by the city's Hanseatic-allied burghers. Haakon besieged the city, but had to remain conscious of the threat posed by Hanseatic naval dominance to his capital, and eventually lifted the siege, withdrawing north and leaving a small force to watch the city. Haakon consequently revoked all the Hanseatic city charters in Sweden, restricting municipal freed drastically.
The battle of Bråkiven emphasized Sweden's disadvantage in the war; no matter how many battles it won, its enemies' heartlands were largely invulnerable, while a single lost battle would prove disastrous and likely result in total defeat for King Haakon. Only in the east did Swedish and Livonian forces hold the initiative. Vesse had spent the winter after taking Arkhangel establishing a series of forts along Lake Ladoga and the Neva River, enabling Finnish troops to consolidate their hold on Karelia and the Kola Peninsula, expelling Novgorodian fur traders and gaining the allegiance of the region's native Saami and Karelian tribes, who he recruited as auxiliaries in large numbers.
The Teutonic Knights, meanwhile, were massing for their fourth attempt to take Riga. This time, Grand Master Konrad von Jungingen was determined to remain in Livonia for multiple campaigning seasons, thereby reducing Riga entirely. In order to do so, he brought forty Hanseatic-supplied ships into the Curonian Lagoon and harboured them in Memel, using them to establish resupply his forces as they advanced north. The Knights' overconfidence, however, left them blind to stirrings among their own Old Prussian and Curonian subjects, who, although largely Christianized, resented the heavy taxation and pro-German policies of the Order. They were eagerly backed and supplied by the Lithuanians and Livonians.
In preparation for the 1385 campaign, von Junginen stripped many of his garrisons to the bone,a assembling a massive force of 12,000 men. When his army left Memel for Riga, however, the Curonians and Old Prussians revolted, seizing several dozen castles and taking control of the northern end of the Curonian Spit. Although they were unable to take Memel, a large army of disgruntled Lithuanians, angry at the Knights' repeated crossings of their territory, sacked and burned the lightly garrisoned city. The rebels managed to block the exit to the lagoon by scuttling ships there, trapping the Knights fleet and leaving von Juningen stranded in Livonia, blocked by a hostile Lithuanian army. Von Juningen negotiated humiliating terms with the Lithuanians for passage, surrendering several border castles and agreeing to pay 5000 ounces of gold, but arrived too late to save his fleet; frozen in, it had been seized by the rebels, who burnt the ships. The onset of winter enabled the rebels to consolidate their position along the Curonian Spit.
The alliance between the Knights and the Hanseatic League now began to fray; having lost forty of their ships and broke after paying off the Lithuanians, von Juningen was forced to allow the Knights' army to be used in combat in Sweden for the 1386 campaign, thereby giving up any hope of conquering Riga in the next few years. In the event, with covert Lithuanian support, the rebels proved able to hold their ground against Teutonic forces, now weakened by troops dispatched to Sweden. Although von Juningen drove the rebels back, inflicting several vicious defeats, they simply withdrew into the charred castle of Memel, where they withstood a Teutonic siege until winter. Not only had the Knights failed to take Riga, the key to entering Livonia, they had handed Livonia the key to entering Prussia - a fact that became increasingly clear as Livonian raids began to enter the Knights' territory.
In 1387-8, Sweden found itself facing a concerted effort by the allies to break the stalemate. Combing the forces of the Teutonic Knights and Mecklenburg, hiring mercenaries, and bolstered by thousands of crusaders only now arriving from southern Europe, France, and Germany, the allied forces mustered around 35,000 men, backed by a huge navy. In comparison, Swedish and Norwegian forces numbered around 20,000, only 13,000 of whom were in and around Stockholm, where the first blow fell. 15,000 troops, including thousands of crusaders, were landed at Gavle north of Stockholm; when the Swedish king marched north to combat them, Albert of Mecklenburg, reinforced by 10,000 mercenaries, force-marched north to seize Norrkoping, forcing Haakon to fall back on Stockholm.
Meanwhile, 5,000 Teutonic Knights joined the northern army, enabling them to outflank and crush a Swedish blocking force on the Dalälven River. By spring 1388, Stockholm was besieged by a massive combined army. In the city, Haakon had around 2000 highly motivated troops, confident and well-supplied, but also had to feed a civilian population of around 10,000. Messengers managed to sneak out through the siege lines, ordering relief armies to be raised in Norway and Jamtland. The besiegers decided to let the garrison weaken through starvation before attacking, spending their time digging an elaborate system of siege lines, including palisades, to prevent anyone escaping the encirclement.
By the time the winter of 1389 was closing in, hunger was beginning to grip the city, while the besiegers enjoyed supplies transported by Hanseatic ships that kept them well-fed. Disease struck Albert of Mecklenburg's troops, however, killing several thousands and leaving him ever more dependent on his Hanseatic backers. Meanwhile, the crusaders, led by Louis of Guyenne, the Dauphine of France, were increasingly disillusioned with fighting the Christian Swedes and eager to move on to what they perceived as the real enemy; the pagan Estonians. In response, Hanseatic leaders warned that they would abandon the crusaders in Sweden, refusing to transport them home; their control of Baltic sea alines made this a credible threat, and the crusaders agreed to rejoin the siege. In spring 1390, with supplies in the city running low, the besiegers unleashed a barrage of missiles against the walls; specially hired Italian siege engineers constructed dozens of trebuchets, while others sapped closer and closer to the city's weakening walls.
Aware of the worsening situation in the city, Swedish generals determined to relieve the city, but with control over much of southern Sweden lost, they could muster few troops. Scraping together 15,000 men, mainly Norwegians, they marched against the city, managing, with the cooperation of Swedish peasants, to remain concealed until only 15 miles from the city. However, the well-trained German mercenaries and the Teutonic Knights responded quickly, shattering the Swedish vanguard in a massive charge of armoured horse which bought time for the other troops to debouch from their siege lines and meet the Swedish infantry. Although the Swedish infantry pressed back their opponents, one even unhorsing Albert of Mecklenburg, the Swedish cavalry, outnumbered, broke, terrifying the infantry, who also routed. A mistimed sortie by King Haakon was repelled.
Most of the city's burghers were now losing confidence of relief, as were their troops. Swedish troops defending the island of Stadtsholmen in the harbour went over to the enemy, led by their commander Bo Jonsson Grip, who had been promised the post of chancellor under Albert of Mecklenburg. This allowed Hanseatic ships to sail into the harbour, landing troops along the docks as simultaneous assaults struck the outer walls. Demoralized, the Swedish troops fell back, enabling the besiegers to pour into the city. Haakon was cut down defending the northern gate; the city was sacked for three days, with an estimated 5000 of the civilian population killed. The triumphant Albert of Mecklenburg finally took possession of the Swedish capital and royal palace, and was crowned a second time.
His hopes that the rest of Sweden's possessions would shift to his rule proved overoptimistic. Norway, along with Northern Sweden, Iceland and Greenland, simply acclaimed Haakon's wife, Margaret of Denmark, as their new Queen. Finland and Livonia likewise declined to acknowledge Albert as their overlord; Oeselian raiders launched an attack on Stockholm harbour in which they managed to burn some thirty Hanseatic ships, wrecking any prospect of transporting the Teutonic army back to Prussia in time for the campaigning season. Meanwhile, Vesse met with Finnish nobles at Viborg, where they determined to fight on until some reasonable alternative to submitting to Albert appeared; Vesse made overtures to friendly Lithuania, as well as more distant Muscovy and Denmark, for assistance.
Denmark Enters the War
Denmark, the main remaining Baltic power un-involved in the war, had been sympathetic to Sweden throughout the war, as a fellow Norse nation resisting German mercantile dominance. However, its queen, Margaret, Haakon's wife, was focused on expanding her own power, and saw that a Swedish victory, even with Danish aid, would likely result in a Baltic dominated by Sweden. Now, with Sweden on the verge of becoming wholly dominated by the Hanseatic League, Danish interests had shifted entirely toward full support of Sweden, particularly as Margaret saw a chance to unite Scandinavia using her claim to the Swedish throne. Danish troops and ships began to gather over the winter, while supplies were stockpiled and the Finns and Livonians were reassure that help was coming.
Meanwhile, Danish and Norwegian troops easily occupied much of eastern and northern Sweden, with Swedish garrisons admitting them to fortresses and acclaiming Margaret as their ruler. Demands by Albert for them to withdraw from his territory were wholly ignored. Albert, who relied on German mercenaries for most of his forces, was unwilling to arouse Danish anger by attempting to force them out; he did, however, blockade several Danihh-held fortresses in eastern Sweden. Albert also owed immense quantities of money to the Hanseatic League and to his mercenaries, leading him to raise taxes on his new territories, provoking peasant unrest; the King was nearly killed by angry peasants outside of Stockholm in February 1390.
As spring broke in 1390, the full efforts of the Teutonic Knights and the Hanseatic League were focused on still-defiant Livonia and Finland. The Teutonic Knights' forces moved to retake Memel from Curonian rebels. As their army approached the walls, they were met by several rebels, who carried a notice announcing that the Curonians and Old Prussians had accepted Lithuanian protection. They were accompanied by a Lithuanian emissary, who pointedly warned that the Grand Duke would take any violation of his territory as cause for war. Shaken, the Knights' moved into Livonia by sea, to besiege Riga. This time, supplied by a large Hanseatic fleet, they were determined to take the port. Its defences had been massively strengthened, however, and their advance was slow. Vesse, meanwhile, faced a Novgorodian offensive meant to break through to Finland and retake the Karelian territories. The Livonian professional army was small and mainly infantry, numbering around 8000, with Vesse relying heavily on locally raised militia troops. Through a series of forced marches, Vesse, leaving his heir Thaarason to shadow the Knights' advance on Riga, rush north to meet the Novgorodians. Through a series of forced marches, Vesse outflanked the Novgorodians and advanced directly on their capital, forcing the Novgorodians to pursue him. Evading them in the marshes of Lake Ladoga, Vesse, having lost 3000 men mainly to exhaustion, advanced back east. He was too late, however; the Knights' strange hold on Riga, strengthened by a blockade, had grown steadily as they sapped closer to the wall. The city fell in October, leaving the Knights' triumphant. Further progress was delayed until the next campaigning season, however.
As spring broke in 1392, the Hanseatic fleet, made up primarily of merchant ships serving as military vessels, was mustering at Rostock and Wismar in preparation to sail east. As the Hanseatic ships approached the ports, however, they found themselves facing the full might of the Danish royal fleet, which had sailed from Copenhagen as soon as the thaw broke. The unprepared Hanseatic ships were snapped up piecemeal. A contingent sent out from Lübeck to confront the Danes was defeated. A second Danish force, waiting in the Kattegat, took dozens of Hanseatic merchants entering the Baltic with the thaw. In a single stroke, the Danish had severely reduced the Hanseatic naval superiority, taking dozens of ships. Meanwhile, a Danish force launched an invasion of Mecklenburg, besieging the ducal seat at Schwerin, while a Danish-Norwegian force advanced into northern Sweden, attempting to retake Stockholm.
The Holy Roman Emperor, Sigismund of Luxembourg, was on campaign in Bohemia, but was greatly angered by news of the Danish incursions into his vassal's territory. He authorized Nicholas, Count of Schauenburg and Holstein, and a close relative of Duke Albert, to raise troops under his banner to repel the Danes. Joined by Hamburgian forces and others from the Hanseatic cities, the Count advanced north, hoping to cut the Danes off from Jutland and trap them against the Trave river. The Danish and German vanguards clashed in northern Holstein in November, but both, concerned about the consequences of a defeat, were content to let the winter prevent further clashes and withdrew into billets. The Danes were forced, however, to abandon their effort to occupy Mecklenburg.
Königsberg and Holstein Campaigns
In the east, Livonia and the Teutonic Knights were still locked in their mortal struggle, with both determined to end the war. Vesse, shamed by the loss of Riga, aimed to inflict an equal humiliation on the Knights, mustering his troops as early as march. Taking around 2000 men, he slipped across the frozen Curonian Lagoon and landed east of Königsberg before marching through the snow on the city. The Knights hurried to muster their troops, as Vesse circled Königsberg, unable to take the strongly-held city. He did sack several dozen nearby towns, burning churches and putting several hundred monks to the sword. The Knights, with around 20,000 men, including 5000 crusaders from England, France and Castile, advanced on Vesse, thinking him trapped and vastly outnumbered, in April.
Vesse had negotiated passage with the Lithuanians beforehand, however, and he was joined by his son, leading around 8,000 Livonian militia, along with a Finnish contingent of 2000 and 2000 Lithuanian light cavalry loaned by the Grand Duke. Vesse withdrew south to near the town of Allenburg, placing his largely infantry-based force beside a lake, on which he anchored his left flank. Most of his small force of cavalry were placed on the right, with his militia in the middle and regular infantry on the right. The Livonian force numbered perhaps 25,000. The Knights' army had a vast superiority in both numbers and the vital heavy cavalry, which composed perhaps half their force. They arrived in Allenburg on April 12th, but declined to fight that day while Grand Master Konrad von Juningen took counsel with the crusaders' commanders. They decided to simply charge the Livonian force, confident that their cavalry would easily smash it. The crusaders' took position on the left, under the Charles, Dauphin of France and Richard of Bordeaux, a relative of the English king. They had around 5000 Portuguese, Castilian, English and German knights under his command, but in practice these obeyed their own lords or only themselves. The rest of the line consisted of Teutonic cavalry under the Grand Master's command.
The battle began early in the morning, when the Teutonic forces launched a massive cavalry charge. Hugely intimidated by the wall of onrushing cavalry, the Livonian militia almost broke, and where wholly shattered by the impact of the charge. Vesse, who had placed his banner behind the militia, had positioned them in from of a boggy stream, however, preventing them from fleeing. The Knights; began to hack their way through the routing militia. On the left, the crusader force charged, but found itself facing an equal force of cavalry. The Lithuanian light cavalry feigned a retreat, drawing off the crusaders into a pursuit. They suddenly found that the supposedly fleeing cavalry were turning on them. Their horses blown, the crusaders were unable to escape and were slaughtered. Meanwhile, the Finnish cavalry charged the Teutonic reserve, routing it, before turning on the rear of the main Teutonic force. The Livonian regular infantry now advanced to take this force in the flank as well, with the militia rallying. Trapped, the Knights were gradually destroyed, with Richard of Bordeaux unhorsed and decapitated by a Finnish knight. The Grand Master was captured, as were most of the crusader nobles. Vesse marched on the Knights' castle at Marienburg - when the garrison of the supposedly impregnable fortress was shown the captured Grand Master, they surrendered immediately; Vesse garrisoned the castle and marched on Königsberg. Before he arrived, however, the Grand Master professed himself willing to negotiate terms. A truce was declared, and the two sat down to negotiate terms.
The terms eventually stipulated that an indemnity of half a million marks would be paid to Livonia in compensation for the war, while the Knights' would recognize Livonian possession of its current territories. Vesse also forced the Knights to concede the area around Memel, including much of the Curonian Spit, to the Lithuanians. He also used the opportunity of the victory to instal his son as Count of Oeselia, effectively confirming him as heir. Vesse was angered by the news of Riga's transfer, but decided not to provoke Brandenburg into joining the war by trying to regain it, accepting its loss for now. He still had Novgorod to deal with, and upon reaching terms most of the Livonian army marched off north. The Grand Master was released pending his ransom, and was replaced by several dozen burghers as hostages. The Crusader nobles were brought north to Narva for captivity; the badly wounded Dauphin Charles died on the way. Vesse's heir Thaarason remained in Marienburg until January, when a Lithuanian commander replaced him; he then returned north to Oeselia. The Lithuanians promptly began a programme of paganization, expelling Germans and Christians from their newly acquired territories to the benefit of pagan locals.
Novgorod had never been strongly engaged in the war; it was threatened by other Russian states to its south. Its economy, however, had been severely damaged by the loss of its Karelian territories, which cut it off from the furs that had formed a key part of its exports. Nevertheless, after Vesse arrived in spring 1393 and routed a Novgorodian force besieging Kexholm, again expressed his intent to march on Novgorod and raze the city, and began moving toward it, most of the Novgorodian burghers willingly dropped out of the war, particularly after Vesse offered to return Arkhangel, enabling the Novgorodians to resume an export trade with the West. They could, after all, expand eastward into the vast forests of the Urals and Siberia.
End of the War
In 1394, efforts to negotiate an end to the war began in Visby. None of the parties to the conflict could wholly defeat the others, and the war had long ago become expensive and exhausting. Although low-level raiding and skirmishes continued for the next two years, and would between the Knights and Livonians indefinitely, a settlement was reached with minimal disagreement. Margrethe's control of Norway, Denmark, northern Sweden and Finland in personal union (afterward referred to as the Union of Visby) was acknowledged by all. She, in turn, accepted Albert's rule over southern Sweden. Albert assumed the title of King of Smaland, although, never able to speak Swedish himself, he used the Latinized title "King of Smolandia". Margrethe willingly accepted another new title as Queen of Svealand, although she lacked control of much of this region, particularly Stockholm. She had no particular desire to deal with the powerful and independent Swedish nobility, however. A rough border was drawn between the central Swedish lakes of Malaren and Vanern. Although the Knights refused to negotiate with the Livonians directly, Margrethe accepted the re-establishment of a Christian Archbishopric of Riga, and promised to convert her vassal Vesse, although she made no such effort. Indeed, compared to before the war, Danish overlordship of Livonia was much looser than Sweden's had been, reflecting its greater distance. The treaty did not resolve mercantile rivalries between Denmark and the Hanseatic League, but it did shift these into a largely peaceful form, at least until the civil war that followed Margrethe's successor's death in the mid-1400s.