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Vesse Lepitamatu
Vesse.jpg
Vesse of Oeselia as depicted in the Livonian Chronicle
Duke of Livonia
Reign 1342-1380
Predecessor None, position established
Successor Thaarason I
Spouse Ylva Niklasson
Issue Thaarason Lepitamatu
House Lepitamatu (founder)
Father Unknown
Mother Unknown
Born 1319
Island of Saaremaa, Livonia
Died 8 June, 1380
outside Pskov

Vesse Lepitamatu, commonly known as Vesse of Oeselia (and also Vesse Churchburner, the Implacable, and Hammer of the Monks) was the first Duke of Livonia, reigning from 1342 to 1380. He is a major national figure in Livonia, and among pagans in general, and plays a major role in Livonian folklore. An Oeselian chieftain who helped lead the Livonian uprising on St. George's Night, Vesse later established himself as sole leader of the rebels, and was crowned Duke of Livonia under the Swedish Crown upon its victory. A successful general, Vesse fought on behalf of Sweden in campaigns against Novgorod, the Teutonic Knights, and the Hanseatic League, ultimately dying of cholera at the age of during a campaign against Pskov at the age of 61.

Since his death, Vesse has acquired a supernatural and semi-deified status in Livonia, where he is often accorded magical powers and has become a figure in various successful folktales, such as The Chief and the Burning Abbot. The national anthem of Livonia, Süüdata Tõrvikud (Light the Torches), the subject of which is the successful uprising, memorializes Vesse's actions; his burning of Padise Abbey, supposedly assisted by the pagan god Thaara, is shown on the Livonian flag, and the city of Vesselinn in Ingria is named after him.