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It is St. George's Night, 1343, and Estonia has been subject to the rule of the Danish Crown and the Teutonic Order since the Livonian Crusade of the 1260s. Yet their rule has grown weak and their taxes heavy, and Estonia is in a ferment. Finally, on this night, it boils over. In a coordinated attack, all of the foreigners, both Germans and Danes, in Central Estonia are slaughtered. The rising spreads across Livonia, with the Estonians renouncing Christianity and killing their former overlords indiscriminately. Soon Reval is under siege, abbeys and manors across Livonia are in flames, and the Livonian Order calls on the Estonian leaders to negotiate. In our timeline, the leaders duly went to negotiate, only to be killed, leading to the defeat of the Estonian army and the suppression of the revolt.
But what if an Estonian traitor had warned the leaders of the impending treachery, enabling the revolt to continue long enough for Sweden and Novgorod to take notice? How would the survival of a pagan Baltic state have changed the development of Eastern Europe and, eventually, the world? Welcome to the world of St. George's Night.
Point of Divergence
The leaders of the Estonian revolt, warned of the fate awaiting them if they negotiate, refuse to place themselves into the hands of the Livonian Order. As a result, the Estonian army remains sufficiently organized to evade destruction at the Battle of Warhill. This buys enough time for aid to arrive from Sweden, resulting in a long but ultimately successful revolt that establishes Livonia as a Duchy under the Swedish crown, albeit with paganism and a native Baltic aristocracy surviving.
- German influence on the Baltic region is greatly reduced - Christianization is never completed and a German aristocracy fails to become emplaced. The Hanseatic League also loses much power with its loss of Livonian ports.
- The Teutonic Knights unable to expand into Livonia, and the Knights' are never secularized into a Protestant duchy, instead remaining a crusading order and fighting pagans until significantly later. The Knights focus on Poland instead.
- Baltic paganism survives as a religion, adding significantly different cultural elements to eastern Europe.
- Lithuania christianizes much later and maintains a pagan element into the present day. Consequently, Poland-Lithuania forms later and under very different circumstances.
- Muscovy is never able to open cultural links with the West, due to Swedish control of the White Sea, and focuses more on southern and eastern expansion.
- The disruption of the Hanseatic League propels Aragon and Venice into greater mercantile power; Aragon declines to unite with Castile, instead focusing on Italian wars.
- As a result of the death of both Richard of Bordeaux and the future Charles VII of France on crusade in Livonia, Henry IV succeeds to the English throne earlier, strengthening England's position in the Hundred Years' War, and his son Henry V successfully unites England and France.
- Consequently, English and French culture never exists, being largely replaced by a united Anglo-Norman aristocracy and language. English is considered a rustic vernacular and is little spoken by modern times.
- A weakened Byzantium, lacking the aid of crusaders more focused on the Baltic, is hacked apart by the Serbs and Turks more easily; the Ottomans rise sooner and are able to expand into Granada, Sicily, and, eventually, the New World.
- A note on the timeline's geographical scope: more distant regions are only gradually affected by the butterfly effect of the point of divergence, meaning that they only come into the timeline later. For example, the ripples reach Central Europe around the middle 1300s and the Mediterranean around 1400, but fails to reach East Asia until much later. Consequently, these regions are not mentioned and their events continue to happen as OTL until they enter the timeline.
- Wars (St. George's Night)
- Nations (St. George's Night)
- Overview Timeline (St. George's Night)