Livonian Ordinances of 1589 and 1598

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Livonian Ordinances of 1589 and 1598


the fundamental laws of the Trans-Dvina Duchy in Latvia.

The laws were adopted under the Polish king Sigismund III Vasa. They continued the centralizing policy of Stephen Báthory. The Livonian Ordinance of 1589 closed access to the post of elder to the German nobility; it declared illegal the fiefs conferred on the German nobility by the last archbishop of Riga. The Ordinance of 1598 was issued at a time when war with Sweden was imminent, and it contained significant concessions to the top stratum of the German nobility. The king promised in the future to appoint as elders “worthy Livonians.” The Ordinance of 1598 guaranteed representation in the Sejm of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth to the German nobility. It placed them on an even footing with the Polish and Lithuanian nobility in the award of fiefs.


Volumina legum, vol. 2. St. Petersburg, 1859. Pages 278–80, 377–78.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.