Great Merchants Guild

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Great Merchants’ Guild


a class union consisting primarily of merchants and property owners. It arose no later than the middle of the 14th century in the large cities of Livonia—Tallin, Riga, Tartu, and other cities—and was modeled on the guild of German cities. The guild influenced the activities of the city council (Rat or Magistrat), which perpetuated itself only by electing guild members. The Great Merchants’ Guild, which consisted of Germans, severely exploited and oppressed the local inhabitants of the Baltic cities—Latvians, Estonians, and Livonians, as well as Russians. It existed until the promulgation of the all-Russian statute on urban government in 1877.


Istoriia Latviiskoi SSR, vol. 1. Riga, 1952. Pages 126–28.
Istoriia Estonskoi SSR, vol. 1. Tallin, 1961. Pages 206–08.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.