Duchy of LivoniaTimeline: The Once and Never Kings
OTL equivalent: Livonia
Location of Livonia in green.
|Regional Languages||Latvian, Estonian|
|-||Treaty of Kraków||1525|
The Livonian region was conquered during the Livonian Crusades in the Thirteenth Century by the Livonian Order, a branch of the Teutonic Order. The area was split between the Order and Denmark, the Danish portion becoming its Duchy of Estonia. Despite this, the Order wished to expand further into the Orthodox Russian states. Those ambitions were ended in 1242, when the Livonian Order and its Danish allies were defeated by Novgorod at the Battle on the Ice.
The region controlled by the Order, now known as Terra Mariana, became closely associated with the State of the Teutonic Order to the south. Eventually, the two states merged in 1385.
The Teutonic Order, however, soon became an enemy of the Kingdom of Poland, and the two would engage in several wars. The Orders had effectively by this time run out of new recruits, as the crusading zeal for the Baltic had vanished with the areas conquest, resulting in the Teutonic state being desperately short on manpower, and numerically inferior to the Poles and their Lithuanian allies. The final war ended in 1525 with the complete capitulation of the Teutonic and Livonian Orders. The territory was divided and secularized. While Albert von Hohenzollern, Grandmaster of the Teutonic Order, was made Duke of Prussia, Gotthard Kettler, Grandmaster of the Livonian Order, was made the first Duke of Livonia. Both however, became vassals of the Polish Crown (Poland now being in personal Union with Lithuania).
The dukes of Prussia and Livonia often became friends following the secularizations, due to their common history. When the Duchy of Prussia was inherited by Brandenburg in 1618 (incidentally just before the start of the Forty Years War), the Livonian Dukes became hopeful that their vassalage would be broken.
Lutheranism also took hold in Livonia during the run up to the Forty Years War. While initially opposed by the Dukes and the Archbishop of Riga, it was cemented by the conversion of Duke Peter II in 1583.
When the Forty Years War did break out, Brandenburg-Prussia joined the Protestant side, shunning Poland who began to support the Catholics (despite embracing Religious freedom, the majority of the population of Poland remained Catholic, and demanded they support the Catholic states). Livonia also decided to break from Poland, declaring war on the Catholic League. This declaration was met by a dual invasion by Danish troops coming south from Estonia, and Polish troops advancing north. Riga fell within two weeks, and the last Livonian army was defeated four days later. Denmark was unable to take land from Livonia only because Skåne, Sjæland, and Jutland fell in quick succession to the Sveadlandic armies only days later.
Livonia was confirmed as a Polish vassal in the Peace of Hamburg, much to the disdain of the populace. Afterwards, the Dukes began looking outside Europe. Several trading forts were established in Eriksbjod and India. The small colony of Gutthardsland in East Africa grew out of the fort (later town) of New Riga.
Livonia would follow Poland into the Polish-Imperial War, where the Livonian army was tasked with defending the port of Paganda (the Commonwealths only Baltic Port), and Vilnius (the Lithuanian capital). Both cities famously held off the Prussian advances, while the main Polish armies met only defeat when they stood to fight. Following the war, the Livonian population came to have the feeling they didn't need Poland to survive. This sentiment managed to hold through the decades, culminating in the 1921 Student Protests.
The Duke at the time, John I, sent the army not to disperse the protesters, but to protect them. The move prompted Poland to send its own army to dispel the movement, resulting in a clash with Livonian troops and militia. What became known as the "Battle of Riga", saw the deaths of 256 Livonian troops and protesters, and 61 Polish troops. Duke John fled to Svealand, and the Poles installed Casmir Pulaski as the new Duke, but in reality a puppet.
But Livonia wouldn't fall for that. The Livonian legislature indicted Casmir on corruption charges, prosecuted him, and sentenced him to life in prison (in all fairness, the charges were more likely than not trumped up). The Legislature then invited John I to return. There was a cheering crowd of thousands waiting for him in Riga when he disembarked. Poland, although furious, had to back down when Muscovy and Svealand threatened to side with Livonia. As a compromise, Poland agreed to let John rule, in return Livonia will continue to pay annual tribute.
In recent years, Livonia has begun allocating a larger portion of its budget to its military, increasing its army to 200,000 (though only 125,000 standing), and modernizing its navy. This, and rumored secret talks with the Holy Roman Empire and Muscovy, have lead some to believe it's going to make a new move for complete independence in the coming years.
The Duchy of Livonia has a unicameral legislature headed by the prime minister. The Dukes power is largely limited, though his final approval is needed for a law to go into effect.
Livonia is divided into 105 municipalities, each sending one representative to the legislature.