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Papal Legate Settling a Border Conflict in Rakvere

Bishop Albert, the Order of the Brethren of the Sword, and King of Denmark at odds about Estonia. A papal emissary making peace in Estonia. 

In 1224 when the Continental Estonia was ultimately conquered by German and Danish crusaders, quarrels broke out between the parties. Albert – the Bishop of Riga, the Order of the Brethren of the Sword, and the King of Denmark quarrelled over the ownership of Läänemaa, Harjumaa, Järvamaa and Virumaa and would not be able to come to an agreement. Fearing that the quarrels might lead the young colony to ruin, on 31 December 1224, Pope Honorius III, at the request of Bishop Albert, appointed Guillelmus, the Bishop of Modena (called Modena Wilhelm in German-speaking regions), as his legate (emissary) in Livonia. Wilhelm arrived in Livonia in the spring of 1225 and stayed here until the summer of 1226 when he returned to his homeland.

During his sojourn in Livonia, he travelled around, acquainted himself with the situation, and met the bickering parties. Among other places, Wilhelm also went to Virumaa, visited Pudiviru and made a longer stay at Tarvanpää where he also made arrangements for the counties under dispute. He returned Harjumaa to the Danish and placed Läänemaa, Järvamaa, and Virumaa under the direct rule of the Pope and appointed his chaplain Johannes to superintend the possessions.

The papal state in Estonia was, however, short-lived. Already in the summer of 1227, the Order of the Brethren of the Sword conquered the papal possessions as well as Harjumaa and Tallinn, expelling Danes from the country. In the early 1230s, Alna Balduin, another papal legate, attempted to restore the papal state in Northern Estonia, but failed because the Order’s opposition.

Rakvere linnus - piiritüli