Ordensburg (plural Ordensburgen) is a German term meaning "castles/fortresses of (military) orders", and is used specifically for such fortified structures built by crusading German military orders during the Middle Ages.
The Ordensburgs were originally constructed by the Livonian Brothers of the Sword and later the Teutonic Knights to fortify territory in Prussia and Livonia captured from the native populations - Old Prussians, Lithuanians and native peoples of what is now Latvia and Estonia. Later, Ordensburgs were used to attack Lithuania. Since they were built and used by religious military orders, the Ordensburgs often resembled cloisters. While they were considerably larger than those in the Holy Roman Empire, they were much scarcer in the Monastic state of the Teutonic Knights. While a normal castle in the Reich would control about 38 km2, a castle would control 370 km2 in Prussia and 789 km2 in Livonia, Courland and Estonia. The few small castles are considered to be of vassals, while the larger ones might have served as arsenals and strongholds during the Northern Crusades and were purpose-built to colonize the respective countries and peoples by capturing (and holding) territory.
Most Ordensburgs were rectangular, even quadratic in form, built from red brick and lacking a Bergfried. Many castles had no towers at all, as the bailey, a mighty quadrangle, was considered sufficient for defence.
Livonia is a historical region on the eastern shores of the Baltic Sea. It is named after the Livonians, who lived on the shores of present-day Latvia.
The Northern Crusades or Baltic Crusades were Christian colonization and Christianization campaigns undertaken by Catholic Christian military orders and kingdoms, primarily against the pagan Baltic, Finnic and West Slavic peoples around the southern and eastern shores of the Baltic Sea, and to a lesser extent also against Orthodox Christian Slavs.
The Order of Brothers of the German House of Saint Mary in Jerusalem, commonly the Teutonic Order, is a Catholic religious order founded as a military order c. 1190 in Acre, Kingdom of Jerusalem.
Malbork is a town in northern Poland, within the historical region of Pomerelia. Situated in the Pomeranian Voivodeship since 1999, it was previously assigned to Elbląg Voivodeship (1975–1998). It is the capital of Malbork County and the population was estimated at 38,723, as of 2018.
The Livonian Brothers of the Sword was a Catholic military order established by Albert, the third bishop of Riga, in 1202. Pope Innocent III sanctioned the establishment in 1204 for the second time. The membership of the order comprised German "warrior monks" who fought Baltic and Finnic pagans in the area of modern-day Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. Alternative names of the Order include Christ Knights, Swordbrothers, Sword Brethren, Order of the Brothers of the Sword, and The Militia of Christ of Livonia. The seal reads: +MAGISTRI ETFRM MILICIE CRI (Christi) DE LIVONIA.
The Livonian Order was an autonomous branch of the Teutonic Order, formed in 1237. From 1435 to 1561 it was a member of the Livonian Confederation.
Bartoszyce is a town on the Łyna River in northern Poland, with 23,482 inhabitants. It is the capital of Bartoszyce County within the Warmian-Masurian Voivodeship.
The State of the Teutonic Order, also called Deutschordensstaat or Ordensstaat was a medieval crusader state, located in Central Europe along the southeastern shore of the Baltic Sea. It was formed by the knights of the Teutonic Order during the 13th century Northern Crusades in the region of Prussia, and was disestablished in 1525. At its greatest territorial extent, in the early 15th century, it encompassed Chełmno Land, Courland, Gotland, Livonia, Neumark, Pomerelia, Prussia and Samogitia, i.e. territories nowadays located in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Germany, Poland, Russia and Sweden.
Neman, prior to 1946 known by its German name Ragnit, is a town and the administrative center of Nemansky District in Kaliningrad Oblast, Russia, located in the historic East Prussia, on the steep southern bank of the Neman River, where it forms the Russian border with the Klaipėda Region in Lithuania, and 130 kilometers (81 mi) northeast of Kaliningrad, the administrative center of the oblast. Population figures: 11,798 (2010 Census); 12,714 (2002 Census); 13,821 (1989 Census).
Balga was a medieval castle of the Teutonic Knights in Kaliningrad Oblast, Russia. The castle ruins are located on the shore of the Vistula Lagoon, north of Mamonovo in the Pogranichny municipality of Bagrationovsky District, about 30 km (19 mi) southwest of Kaliningrad.
Semigallia, also spelt Semigalia, is one of the Historical Latvian Lands located in the south of the Daugava river and the north of the Saule region of Samogitia. The territory split between Latvia and Lithuania, previously inhabited by the Semigallian Baltic tribe. They are noted for their long resistance (1219–1290) against the German crusaders and Teutonic Knights during the Northern Crusades. Semigallians had close linguistic and cultural ties with Samogitians.
Bagrationovsk, prior to 1946 known by its German name Preußisch Eylau is a town and the administrative center of Bagrationovsky District in Kaliningrad Oblast, Russia, located 37 kilometers (23 mi) south of Kaliningrad, the administrative center of the oblast. It has a population of 6,400 (2010 Census).
The Battle of Durbe was a medieval battle fought near Durbe, 23 km (14 mi) east of Liepāja, in present-day Latvia during the Livonian Crusade. On 13 July 1260, the Samogitians soundly defeated the joint forces of the Teutonic Knights from Prussia and Livonian Order from Livonia. Some 150 knights were killed, including Livonian Master Burchard von Hornhausen and Prussian Land Marshal Henrik Botel. It was by far the largest defeat of the knights in the 13th century: in the second-largest, the Battle of Aizkraukle, 71 knights were killed. The battle inspired the Great Prussian Uprising and the rebellions of the Semigallians, the Couronians, and the Oeselians. The battle undid two decades of Livonian conquests and it took some thirty years for the Livonian Order to restore its control.
The Livonian Crusade refers to the various Christianization campaigns in the area constituting modern Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia during the Papal-sanctioned Northern Crusades. It was conducted mostly by Germans from the Holy Roman Empire and Danes. It ended with the creation of the Terra Mariana and Duchy of Estonia. The lands on the eastern shores of the Baltic Sea were the last corners of Europe to be Christianized.
The Thirteen Years' War, also called the War of the Cities, was a conflict fought in 1454–1466 between the Prussian Confederation, allied with the Crown of the Kingdom of Poland, and the State of the Teutonic Order.
Lielvārde Castle is a castle in Lielvārde - town in the historical region of Vidzeme, in northern Latvia. Castle has been built at the steep bank of Daugava River, overseeing this important medieval waterway. Built before 1248 by Albert of Buxthoeven, an archbishop of Riga. During the Livonian War, Lielvārde Castle was destroyed by Russian troops in 1579. Conserved ruins up to the level of second floor.
The Treaty of Vilnius or Vilna was concluded on 28 November 1561, during the Livonian War, between the Livonian Confederation and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania in Vilnius. With the treaty, the non-Danish and non-Swedish part of Livonia, with the exception of the Free imperial city of Riga, subjected itself to the Grand Duke of Lithuania, Sigismund II Augustus with the Pacta subiectionis . In turn, Sigismund granted protection from the Tsardom of Russia and confirmed the Livonian estates' traditional privileges, laid out in the Privilegium Sigismundi Augusti.
Terra Mariana was the official name for Medieval Livonia or Old Livonia. It was formed in the aftermath of the Livonian Crusade, and its territories were composed of present-day Estonia and Latvia. It was established on 2 February 1207, as a principality of the Holy Roman Empire, but lost this status in 1215 when Pope Innocent III proclaimed it as directly subject to the Holy See.
Siege of Marienburg occurred during the Thirteen Years' War between the Teutonic Knights and the Kingdom of Poland. Marienburg was the capital of the state of the Teutonic Order, in particular, the residence of the Grand Master of the order. An alliance of Prussians and Poles besieged the city beginning 27 February 1454 with mercenaries from Danzig, and the necessary artillery.
Landmeister in Livland was a high office in the Teutonic Order. The Landmeister administered the Livonia of the Teutonic Order. These lands had fallen to the Teutonic Order in 1237 by the incorporation of the former Livonian Brothers of the Sword. The seat of the Landmeister was castle Wenden. The Landmaster's function in Livonia lasted until 1561, when in aftermath of Livonian War the last Landmeister Gotthard Kettler relinquished the northern parts of the Mastery and in the Union of Vilna secularized the part still left to him and, as the Duchy of Courland and Semigallia, took fief from the Polish king and Grand Duke of Lithuania Sigismund II Augustus. The non-recognition of this act by Pope, Holy Roman Empire and the Grand Master of the Teutonic Order had no factual effect.