Treaty of Melno

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Map of the State of the Teutonic Order between 1260 and 1410 Teutonic Order 1410.png
Map of the State of the Teutonic Order between 1260 and 1410

The Treaty of Melno (Lithuanian : Melno taika; Polish : Pokój melneński) or Treaty of Lake Melno (German : Friede von Melnosee) was a peace treaty ending the Gollub War. It was signed on 27 September 1422, between the Teutonic Knights and an alliance of the Kingdom of Poland and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania at Lake Melno (German: Melnosee, Meldensee; Polish: Jezioro Mełno), east of Graudenz (Grudziądz). The treaty resolved territorial disputes between the Knights and Lithuania regarding Samogitia, which had dragged on since 1382, and determined the Prussian–Lithuanian border, which afterwards remained unchanged for about 500 years. A portion of the original border survives as a portion of the modern border between the Republic of Lithuania and Kaliningrad Oblast, Russia, making it one of the most stable borders in Europe. [1]

Contents

Background

The First Peace of Thorn of 1411 did not resolve long-standing territorial disputes between the Teutonic Knights and the Polish–Lithuanian union. The peace transferred Samogitia to the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, but only for the lifetimes of Polish King Jogaila (Władysław II Jagiełło) and Lithuanian Grand Duke Vytautas. At the time both rulers were aged men. Soon disagreements arose as to the Samogitian borders: Vytautas claimed that the entire northern bank of the Neman River, including the port of Memel (Klaipėda), was Samogitian territory. [2] The dispute was mediated at the Council of Constance and by Sigismund, Holy Roman Emperor. When Sigismund delivered an unfavorable judgment to the Lithuanians, Jogaila and Vytautas invaded the monastic state of the Teutonic Knights in July 1422, starting the Gollub War. [3] The Teutonic Knights, led by Grand Master Paul von Rusdorf, were unable to mount a suitable defense. However Poland–Lithuania decided to end the conflict before reinforcements from the Holy Roman Empire could arrive through Farther Pomerania. [4] A truce was signed on 17 September 1422. Each side named eight representatives, [nb 1] gave them full authority to negotiate, and sent them to the Polish Army camp near Lake Melno. [5] The Treaty of Melno was concluded ten days later, on 27 September. [6]

Provisions

According to the terms of the treaty, the Teutonic Knights for the first time renounced all territorial, political, and missionary claims against the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. [3] Samogitia was permanently ceded to Lithuania. The Prussian–Lithuanian border ran from sparsely inhabited wilderness in Suvalkija, through the triangle north of the Neman River, to Nemirseta on the Baltic Sea. Thus the Knights still controlled Neman's lower reaches and Memel (Klaipėda), an important seaport and trade center. Lithuania retained access to the Baltic Sea between the towns of Palanga (Polangen) [nb 2] and Šventoji (Heiligen Aa) – a distance of about 15 kilometres (9.3 mi). [7] However, Lithuania failed to develop harbors in Palanga or Šventoji as there was stiff competition with the nearby established ports Memel and Libau (Liepāja) [8] and unfavorable natural conditions. [9] Thus it could not be considered a real access to the sea. [10] For the Knights this short coastline strip was a major sacrifice as it separated the Teutonic Knights in Prussia from their branch in Livonia. The treaty is often described as a mutual Prussian–Lithuanian compromise. [3] The Kingdom of Poland received Nieszawa and half of the Vistula channel from the mouth of the Drwęca River; in return Poland renounced any territorial claims to Pomerelia, Culmerland, and the Michelauer Land. [7] These results were described as a "disappointment" for Poland. [10]

At the time of the treaty, the parties did not have their official seals and therefore it was not immediately ratified. [5] Grand Master Rusdorf attempted to exploit the recess and renegotiate the treaty because his subjects were not satisfied with the terms. He hoped to wage a war with assistance from the Holy Roman Emperor. However, Sigismund and Jogaila met in Käsmark (Kežmarok) and agreed to an alliance: Sigismund would end his support to the Knights and Poland–Lithuania would stop their assistance to the Hussites in the Hussite Wars. [5] This meant that Vytautas had to abandon his interventions in Bohemia. [11] The agreement was signed on 30 March 1423. [7] The Treaty of Melno was subsequently ratified on 9–18 May in Veliuona and approved by Pope Martin V on 10 July 1423. [12] Poland–Lithuania affixed some 120 official seals to the treaty. [13] The first Lithuanian signatories were voivode of Vilnius Albertas Manvydas, starosta of Vilnius Kristinas Astikas, voivode of Trakai Jonas Jaunius, elder of Samogitia Mykolas Skirgaila. [14]

Aftermath

Monument commemorating the treaty in the village of Melno, Poland Treaty of Melno monument.jpg
Monument commemorating the treaty in the village of Mełno, Poland

The treaty effectively ended warfare between the Teutonic Knights and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, which had continued with brief interruptions since the 13th century. The last volunteer crusaders arrived in October 1422; after that the Knights had to rely on their own men or on mercenaries. [15] It was a welcome development to Lithuania, as the treaty allowed it to direct its attention towards its Eastern territories and to internal reforms. [3] War-devastated border regions in Samogitia and Suvalkija began to recover. However, the Polish–Teutonic disputes were not resolved. In a telling episode shortly after the treaty had been signed, the Knights and the Poles disputed a watermill in Lubicz, a strategic post that had been turned into a fortress. [16] Vytautas was angered by the dispute and threatened to give up Palanga to the Knights if Poland did not surrender its claims to Lubicz. The Knights won this dispute. [16]

The treaty put an effective end to the Polish–Lithuanian cooperation against the Knights. [17] The Teutonic Knights attempted to befriend the Lithuanians, offering a royal crown to Vytautas in hopes of breaking up the Polish–Lithuanian union. During the Lithuanian Civil War (1431–1435), Lithuanian Duke Švitrigaila was able to employ the Polish–Teutonic animosity for his own advantages – the Knights invaded Poland, starting the Polish–Teutonic War. The two states battled again during the Thirteen Years' War (1454–66), a civil war that tore Prussia in half.

The agreement drew the Prussian–Lithuanian border roughly and imprecisely, resulting in local demarcation disputes. The border was redrawn with greater detail and precision in 1532 and 1545. [18] The border survived without major changes until World War I. In 1919, the Treaty of Versailles detached the Klaipėda Region (Memel Territory) from Germany as a League of Nations mandate. Lithuania annexed the region in 1923. The southern portion of the border, with small modifications, still survives as the border between Lithuania and Kaliningrad Oblast, Russia. [1]

Notes

  1. Teutonic Knights sent two Teutonic officers, Bishop of Ermland, Bishop of Pomesania, Livonian marshal, and three secular knights.
  2. According to the Bychowiec Chronicle, Birutė, mother of Lithuanian Grand Duke Vytautas, hailed from Palanga.

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Gollub War conflict

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Lithuanian Civil War (1389–1392)

The Lithuanian Civil War of 1389–92 was the second civil conflict between Jogaila, King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania, and his cousin Vytautas. At issue was control of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, then the largest state in Europe. Jogaila had been crowned King of Poland in 1386; he installed his brother Skirgaila as ruler of Lithuania. Skirgaila proved unpopular and Vytautas attempted to depose him. When his first attempt to take the capital city of Vilnius failed, Vytautas forged an alliance with the Teutonic Knights, their common enemy – just as both cousins had done during the Lithuanian Civil War between 1381 and 1384. Vytautas and the Knights unsuccessfully besieged Vilnius in 1390. Over the next two years it became clear that neither side could achieve a quick victory, and Jogaila proposed a compromise: Vytautas would become Grand Duke and Jogaila would remain Superior Duke. This proposal was formalized in the Ostrów Agreement of 1392, and Vytautas turned against the Knights. He went on to reign as Grand Duke of Lithuania for 38 years, and the cousins remained at peace.

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The Treaty of Königsberg was signed in Königsberg (Królewiec) on 30 January 1384, during the Lithuanian Civil War (1381–1384) between Vytautas the Great and representatives of the Teutonic Knights. Vytautas waged a civil against his cousin Jogaila, Grand Duke of Lithuania and future King of Poland, and allied himself with the Teutonic Knights. In order to secure Teutonic support in the civil war, Vytautas signed the treaty and granted Samogitia up to the Nevėžis River and Kaunas to the Knights. In 1382 Jogaila promised the Knights Samogitia only up to the Dubysa River, but never ratified the Treaty of Dubysa. Samogitia was important for the Knights as this territory physically separated them from uniting with the Livonian order in the north. Vytautas also promised to become Order's vassal. In February several Samogitian regions acknowledged their support to Vytautas and the Knights.

The Treaty of Lyck was a treaty between Vytautas the Great, future Grand Duke of Lithuania, and the Teutonic Knights, represented by Marquard von Salzbach, komtur Arnold von Bürglen, and Thomas, son of Lithuanian duke Survila. It was signed on 19 January 1390 in Lyck, State of the Teutonic Order,. Vytautas, in exchange for a military alliance against his cousin Jogaila during the Lithuanian Civil War (1389–1392), agreed to cede Samogitia up to the Nevėžis River and become the Order's vassal. In essence Vytautas confirmed the Treaty of Königsberg (1384) that he had signed with the Knights during the Lithuanian Civil War (1381–1384). Once betrayed, the Knights now asked for hostages as a guarantee of Vytautas' loyalty. The Order demanded as hostages his two brothers Sigismund and Tautvilas, wife Anna, daughter Sophia, sister Rymgajla, brother-in-law Ivan Olshanski, and a number of other nobles.

Samogitian uprisings

Samogitian uprisings refer to two uprisings by the Samogitians against the Teutonic Knights in 1401–1404 and 1409. Samogitia was granted to the Teutonic Knights by Vytautas the Great, Grand Duke of Lithuania, several times in order to enlist Knights' support for his other military affairs. The local population resisted Teutonic rule and asked Vytautas to protect them. The first uprising was unsuccessful and Vytautas had to reconfirm his previous promises to transfer Samogitia in the Peace of Raciąż. The second uprising provoked the Knights to declare war on Poland. Hostilities escalated and resulted in the Battle of Grunwald (1410), one of the biggest battles of medieval Europe. The Knights were soundly defeated by the joint Polish–Lithuanian forces, but Vytautas and Jogaila, King of Poland, were unable to capitalize on their victory. Conflicts regarding Samogitia, both diplomatic and military, dragged until the Treaty of Melno (1422).

Treaty of Christmemel

The Treaty of Christmemel was a treaty signed on 19 June 1431 between Paul von Rusdorf, Grand Master the Teutonic Knights, and Švitrigaila, Grand Duke of Lithuania. Švitrigaila was preparing for a war with Poland to defend his claim to the Lithuanian throne and sought allies. The treaty established an anti-Polish alliance and prompted the Knights to invade the Kingdom of Poland, starting the Polish–Teutonic War (1431–35). Lithuania also surrendered Palanga and three miles of the coastline on the Baltic Sea, thus modifying the Treaty of Melno of 1422.

Rumbaudas Valimantaitis was an influential Lithuanian noble of Zadora coat of arms. He was a son of Valimantas and brother of Mykolas Kęsgaila. He became Elder of Samogitia (1409–1411) and Grand Marshal (1412–1432).

Benedict Makrai was a well-educated Hungarian noble and diplomat in the service of Sigismund of Luxemburg, King of Hungary and later Holy Roman Emperor. He is best known for his 1412–13 mission to Poland–Lithuania to mediate their territorial dispute with the Teutonic Knights over Samogitia and Masovia in the aftermath of the Battle of Grunwald (1410). His mission did not resolve the dispute and only heightened the tensions.

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Coordinates: 53°26′15″N19°00′15″E / 53.43750°N 19.00417°E / 53.43750; 19.00417