Latvia the Republic of Latvia, is a country in the Baltic region of Northern Europe. Since its independence, Latvia has been referred to as one of the Baltic states, it is bordered by Estonia to the north, Lithuania to the south, Russia to the east, Belarus to the southeast, shares a maritime border with Sweden to the west. Latvia has 1,957,200 inhabitants and a territory of 64,589 km2; the country has a temperate seasonal climate. After centuries of Swedish and Russian rule, a rule executed by the Baltic German aristocracy, the Republic of Latvia was established on 18 November 1918 when it broke away and declared independence in the aftermath of World War I. However, by the 1930s the country became autocratic after the coup in 1934 establishing an authoritarian regime under Kārlis Ulmanis; the country's de facto independence was interrupted at the outset of World War II, beginning with Latvia's forcible incorporation into the Soviet Union, followed by the invasion and occupation by Nazi Germany in 1941, the re-occupation by the Soviets in 1944 to form the Latvian SSR for the next 45 years.
The peaceful Singing Revolution, starting in 1987, called for Baltic emancipation from Soviet rule and condemning the Communist regime's illegal takeover. It ended with the Declaration on the Restoration of Independence of the Republic of Latvia on 4 May 1990, restoring de facto independence on 21 August 1991. Latvia is a democratic sovereign state, parliamentary republic and a highly developed country according to the United Nations Human Development Index, its capital Riga served as the European Capital of Culture in 2014. Latvian is the official language. Latvia is a unitary state, divided into 119 administrative divisions, of which 110 are municipalities and nine are cities. Latvians and Livonians are the indigenous people of Latvia. Latvian and Lithuanian are the only two surviving Baltic languages. Despite foreign rule from the 13th to 20th centuries, the Latvian nation maintained its identity throughout the generations via the language and musical traditions. However, as a consequence of centuries of Russian rule and Soviet occupation, Latvia is home to a large number of ethnic Russians, some of whom have not gained citizenship, leaving them with no citizenship at all.
Until World War II, Latvia had significant minorities of ethnic Germans and Jews. Latvia is predominantly Lutheran Protestant, except for the Latgale region in the southeast, predominantly Roman Catholic; the Russian population are Eastern Orthodox Christians. Latvia is a member of the European Union, Eurozone, NATO, the Council of Europe, the United Nations, CBSS, the IMF, NB8, NIB, OECD, OSCE, WTO. For 2014, the country was listed 46th on the Human Development Index and as a high income country on 1 July 2014. A full member of the Eurozone, it began using the euro as its currency on 1 January 2014, replacing the Latvian lats; the name Latvija is derived from the name of the ancient Latgalians, one of four Indo-European Baltic tribes, which formed the ethnic core of modern Latvians together with the Finnic Livonians. Henry of Latvia coined the latinisations of the country's name, "Lettigallia" and "Lethia", both derived from the Latgalians; the terms inspired the variations on the country's name in Romance languages from "Letonia" and in several Germanic languages from "Lettland".
Around 3000 BC, the proto-Baltic ancestors of the Latvian people settled on the eastern coast of the Baltic Sea. The Balts established trade routes to Byzantium, trading local amber for precious metals. By 900 AD, four distinct Baltic tribes inhabited Latvia: Curonians, Selonians, Semigallians, as well as the Finnic tribe of Livonians speaking a Finnic language. In the 12th century in the territory of Latvia, there were 14 lands with their rulers: Vanema, Bandava, Duvzare, Megava, Pilsāts, Upmale, Sēlija, Jersika, Tālava and Adzele. Although the local people had contact with the outside world for centuries, they became more integrated into the European socio-political system in the 12th century; the first missionaries, sent by the Pope, sailed up the Daugava River in the late 12th century, seeking converts. The local people, did not convert to Christianity as as the Church had hoped. German crusaders were sent, or more decided to go on their own accord as they were known to do. Saint Meinhard of Segeberg arrived in Ikšķile, in 1184, traveling with merchants to Livonia, on a Catholic mission to convert the population from their original pagan beliefs.
Pope Celestine III had called for a crusade against pagans in Northern Europe in 1193. When peaceful means of conversion failed to produce results, Meinhard plotted to convert Livonians by force of arms. In the beginning of the 13th century, Germans ruled large parts of today's Latvia. Together with Southern Estonia, these conquered areas formed the crusader state that became known as Terra Mariana or Livonia. In 1282, the cities of Cēsis, Limbaži, Koknese and Valmiera, became part of the Hanseatic League. Riga became an important point of east-west trading and formed close cultural links with Western Europe. After the Livonian War, Livonia fell under Lithuanian rule; the southern part of Estonia and the northern part of Latvia were ceded to the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and formed into the Duchy of Livonia. Gotthard Kettler, the last Master of
War of the Sixth Coalition
In the War of the Sixth Coalition, sometimes known in Germany as the War of Liberation, a coalition of Austria, Russia, the United Kingdom, Sweden, Spain and a number of German States defeated France and drove Napoleon into exile on Elba. After the disastrous French invasion of Russia of 1812, the continental powers joined Russia, the United Kingdom and the rebels in Spain who were at war with France; the War of the Sixth Coalition saw major battles at Lützen and Dresden. The larger Battle of Leipzig was the largest battle in European history before World War I. Napoleon's earlier setbacks in Russia and Germany proved to be the seeds of his undoing. With their armies reorganized, the allies drove Napoleon out of Germany in 1813 and invaded France in 1814; the Allies defeated the remaining French armies, occupied Paris, forced Napoleon to abdicate and go into exile. The French monarchy was revived by the allies, who handed rule to the heir of the House of Bourbon in the Bourbon Restoration; this was not, the end of the Napoleonic Wars.
Napoleon subsequently escaped from his captivity and returned to power in France, sparking the War of the Seventh Coalition in 1815, until he was defeated again for the final time. In June 1812, Napoleon invaded Russia to compel Emperor Alexander I to remain in the Continental System; the Grande Armée, consisting of as many as 650,000 men, crossed the Neman River on 23 June 1812. Russia proclaimed a Patriotic War, while Napoleon proclaimed a "Second Polish War", but against the expectations of the Poles, who supplied 100,000 troops for the invasion force, having in mind further negotiations with Russia, he avoided any concessions toward Poland. Russian forces fell back, destroying everything of use to the invaders until giving battle at Borodino where the two armies fought a devastating battle. Despite the fact that France won a tactical victory, the battle was inconclusive. Following the battle the Russians withdrew. By 14 September, the French had occupied Moscow but found the city empty. Alexander I refused to capitulate, leaving the French in the abandoned city of Moscow with little food or shelter and winter approaching.
In these circumstances, with no clear path to victory, Napoleon was forced to withdraw from Moscow. So began the disastrous Great Retreat, during which the retreating army came under increasing pressure due to lack of food and harsh winter weather, all while under continual attack by the Russian army led by Commander-in-Chief Mikhail Kutuzov, other militias. Total losses of the Grand Army were at least 370,000 casualties as a result of fighting and the freezing weather conditions, 200,000 captured. By November, only 27,000 fit soldiers re-crossed the Berezina River. Napoleon now left his army to return to Paris and prepare a defence of Poland against the advancing Russians; the situation was not as dire. However, they had the advantage of shorter supply lines and were able to replenish their armies with greater speed than the French because Napoleon's losses of cavalry and wagons were irreplaceable. On 9 January 1812, French troops occupied Swedish Pomerania to end the illegal trade with the United Kingdom from Sweden, in violation of the Continental System.
Swedish estates were confiscated and Swedish officers and soldiers were taken as prisoners. In response, Sweden declared neutrality and signed the secret Treaty of Saint Petersburg with Russia against France and Denmark–Norway on 5 April. On 18 July, the Treaty of Örebro formally ended the wars between Britain and Sweden and Britain and Russia, forming an alliance between Russia and Sweden. However, when Napoleon marched on Moscow in June–September 1812, neither Britain nor Sweden would give any military support to Russia, left on its own; the alliance existed only on paper. After the French Grande Armée retreated from Moscow on 18/19 October 1812 and suffered heavy casualties due to extreme cold, food shortages and repeated Russian attacks, Napoleon did not seem to be as invincible as before. On 14 December, the last French troops had left Russian soil, Paris' allies were considering rebellion and joining the Tsar's side; the Convention of Tauroggen was a truce signed 30 December 1812 at Tauroggen, between Generalleutnant Ludwig Yorck von Wartenburg on behalf of his Prussian troops, by General Hans Karl von Diebitsch of the Russian Army.
According to the Treaty of Tilsit, Prussia had to support Napoleon's invasion of Russia. This resulted in some Prussians leaving their army to avoid serving the French, like Carl von Clausewitz, who joined Russian service; when Yorck's immediate French superior Marshal MacDonald, retreated before the corps of Diebitsch, Yorck found himself isolated. As a soldier his duty was to break through, but as a Prussian patriot his position was more difficult, he had to judge. The Convention of Tauroggen armistice, signed by Diebitsch and Yorck, "n
Battle of Trzciana
The Battle of Trzciana took place on 25 June 1629 and was one of the battles of the Polish-Swedish War or Second Swedish-Polish War. The Polish forces were led by Crown Field Hetman Stanisław Koniecpolski and imperial troops under Hans Georg von Arnim-Boitzenburg, sent by emperor Ferdinand II to aid Sigismund III, met with troops commanded by Swedish King Gustav II Adolf, who supported the Protestant Lutherans of Germany and northern Europe. Gustav Adolf was killed or captured twice. Fighting in Prussia continued after the battle into July and August and ended with stalemate and a truce accepted by Sigismund III. Swedish and Polish-Lithuanian king Sigismund III sought to hold on to the crown of Sweden, but was rejected by the Swedish people, Sigismund's uncle Karl became king of Sweden instead. Sigismund wanted to regain the Swedish crown and he wanted to gain the crown of Russia. Russia requested help from Karl of Sweden; the Holy Roman Empire under the Habsburgs attempted to regain European countries for Catholicism and to gain control of northern German Baltic Sea trading cities, namely the Hansa, to reverse the North having become Lutheran and thereby Sweden gaining supremacy over the Baltic Sea.
The Trade routes for some time had been controlled by a powerful Denmark, which controlled and collected at the Sound in its territory. Sigismund III of Poland-Lithuania sought to wrest the Baltic Sea with its lucrative trade routes for himself and he requested Swedish king Gustav Adolph to renounce his title of Swedish king as a prerequisite for a truce and peace negotiations; the Swedes saw through these delaying tactics by Sigismund III and so the battles and skirmished went on for years. In early 1629 the Polish king Sigismund III Vasa received military support from the emperor Ferdinand II; the reinforcements, 5000 infantry and reiters, led by Hans Georg von Arnim, arrived in Prussia in late spring 1629, set up camp near Grudziądz. After wintering in Sweden, Gustav Adolf arrived in Prussia in May. Several skirmishes, broke out, one on June 27, 1629 at Honigfelde south of Sztum, where Gustav Adolph led his army of total of 4,000 cavalry and 5,000 infantry from Marienburg against the Imperial and Polish forces.
The Swedish objective to confront one opposing force before the enemy could link up failed, Gustav was forced to withdraw towards Marienburg to avoid their now superior numbers. However, discovering his withdrawal, Polish hetman and von Arnim dispatched a force of 1,300 hussars, 1,200 light cavalry and 2,000 reiters to harry the Swedes; this force caught up with the Swedish army at the village of Honigfelde on the Sztum Heath. On learning of the proximity of the Polish and Imperial forces, Gustav II Adolf had ordered the troops of Rhinecount Otto Ludwig to continue the march. Otto Ludwig did not follow orders and instead maintained a position at Honigfelde with 1,950 cavalry, 60 infantry and 10 3x pounder leather guns. Meanwhile, Koniecpolski ordered his Polish cossack horse to advance through the woods northwest of Sadowe and his hussars to make a flanking manoeuvre behind the hills south-east of Honigfelde. Von Arnim's slower and heavier horse regiments reached the battlefield last and formed into battle order to attack the Swedes frontally.
The Swedish leather cannons began to fire on the approaching cossacks as they came out of the woods and the Rheincount ordered his arquebusiers to attack them. Both the cossacks and arquebusiers were mobile cavalry with good firepower but the Germans arquebusiers gained the upper hand and began pushing the outnumbered cossacks back towards the forest. At this moment the Polish hussars arrived from their flanking manoeuvre, a few companies were sent to deal with the Swedish artillery and the 60 musketeers supporting them but the majority advanced to charge the engaged arquebusiers; the arquebusiers collapsed as the hussars charged their flank and rear and fled in great disorder towards the north towards the rest of their army. Gustav Adolf arrived to aid the Rheincount and they regrouped by charging with Zacharias Pauli's squadron and Reinhold Anrep's Finnish squadron of 700 cavalry, but most of these were demoralised by the flight of the rearguard and joined within it. Gustav Adolf was at great risk as the remaining cavalry were pursued by Polish cossacks.
He was captured by a cossack but escaped when one of his officers, Erik Soop, shot the attacker and enabled Gustavus to rejoin the rest of the cavalry. The situation was critical as the Swedes reached the village of Straszewo, but Field Marshal Wrangel momentarily stabilised the situation by charging the pursuing Poles with his entire force of 2,150 cavalry; this gave Gustav Adolf the time to rejoin battle. Von Arnim's cuirassiers and Koniecpolski's hussars once again charged and the Swedes were thrown back once again, but this time in better order; the Swedes began a withdrawal to Pułkowice 7 km from Trzciana, where the Swedish guard cuirassiers and Streiff's squadron of 750 men took up a defensive position. During their retreat, the Swedes were subjected to a fierce pursuit; as they neared Pułkowice, they were relieved by a counterattack by Streiffs squadron. The battle now reached a deadlock until von Arnim once again caught up with his cuirassiers and turned the battle against the Swedes.
The Swedes again withdrew, this time to Neudorf where the infantry of 1,260 with 8 6x–12x pounder guns had taken up position
Jindřich Matyáš Thurn
Count Jindřich Matyáš Thurn-Valsassina, was a Czech nobleman, one of leaders of Protestant Bohemian Revolt against Emperor Ferdinand II. He took part in events that led to the Thirty Years War, after the war he became a military leader and diplomat in Swedish service, who resided in Swedish Estonia, he was the son of a member of the geheimrat of Ferdinand II, Archduke of Austria, Franz Napus von Thurn-Valsassina, count of Linz and his second wife countess Barbora of Schlick, daughter of Hieronymus Schlick count of Bassano and Weißkirchen and countess Katharina von Gleichen-Tonna. Both of his parents were Protestants. Count Jindrich Matyas was born on in Lipnice nad Sázavou castle in the Crown of Bohemia. After the death of his father, he was fostered to his Catholic uncle John Ambrose. Young count Thurn served in the Imperial Habsburg embassy, visited Istanbul, Syria and Jerusalem. From 1592 he served in the imperial army against Turks. In imperial service, Thurn rose to the ranks of War Councillor.
By marriage, he came in Croatian Krajina among other places. The Emperor granted him the burgraviate of Karlštejn Castle in central Bohemia as reward for his accomplishments in the battles against the Turks in Hungary. In northeast Bohemia he purchased 1605 the lordship of Veliš manor, which brought him to the membership of the Bohemian estate of nobles. Politically, Thurn joined the Protestants of Bohemia. In 1617, the devout Catholic archduke Ferdinand of Styria was put forward as Habsburg successor to the aged, childless emperor Matthias, to be elected to the Bohemian throne. Bohemian nobles required him to commit to honor their freedom of religion, enshrined in the Decree of the late emperor Rudolph II. Thurn was one of signatories of Bohemians' critical reply to Ferdinand. Despite his accession to the crown of Bohemia in 1617, Ferdinand was not willing to agree to the demands of the Bohemian nobility. Furthermore, their demands failed to prevent Ferdinand's election as Holy Roman Emperor in 1619.
What the nobles did achieve was that in 1618, in a stormy event at the Royal Castle of Prague, count Thurn was a key leader of that faction of the nobility who incited a crowd that defenestrated two of Ferdinand's representatives, Bořita of Martinice and Slavata of Chlum together with their scribe, Philip Fabricius. Following the defenestration, Thurn was elected as one of the thirty Defenders of the Protestant Faith elected by the Estates of Bohemia; the revolt of the Protestant population of Bohemia began on 23 May 1618 and Thurn took command of the national army. His command was signified by a series of ineffective campaigns, faults in the campaign plan in some cases beyond his control, which frustrated imperial efforts to crush the revolt, he participated in deposing Ferdinand of Bohemia from the throne and in the election of Frederick V, Elector Palatine as the new Bohemian king. Count Thurn was commander of a regiment at the inauspicious Battle of White Mountain in 1620. After the Bohemians' defeat there, Ferdinand exiled him, like all the other Protestant nobility and townspeople.
Thurn lost his estates in Bohemia. After being exiled, Thurn continued to take part in the fighting and political negotiations of the Thirty Years' War against the Habsburgs, acting in the roles of both diplomat and as a soldier. In 1626 he took command of some troops in Silesia, he served as lieutenant general in the army of King Gustav Adolf of Sweden. His only son, count Frantisek Bernard, who rose to the rank of colonel in Swedish service, fell ill during the Polish campaign and died in 1628. On 11 October 1633 Thurn and his force of 8000 soldiers were confronted by Wallenstein's army near Steinau an der Oder in Saxony, where he was captured, he was ransomed soon from the captivity, retired to the family's new holdings in Pärnu, Estonia. Count Thurn died there, was buried in the St Mary's Cathedral of Tallinn, his heir was his underage grandson, count Heinrich von Thurn-Valsassina of Pärnu, son of František Bernard and Magdalena von Thurn-Valsassina. Count Thurn wrote a booklet in German, titled Defensionsschrift, the work justifying his role in the events of 1618 as a deliberate, conscious defence of his religious beliefs.
The booklet was published in Sweden. In Czech
Lew Sapieha was a nobleman and statesman of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. He became Great Secretary of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania in 1580, Great Clerk of the Grand Duchy in 1581, Court Chancellor in 1585, Grand Chancellor from 1589 until 1623, Voivode of Vilnius in 1621, Great Lithuanian Hetman in 1623 and governor of Slonim and Mogilev, he was of Ruthenian ethnicity, modern Belarusian sources interpret his Ruthenian heritage as BelarusianLew is considered as a great political figure of the Commonwealth. A rich and powerful magnate, he was known for his wisdom as a statesman and military commander, he was one of the greatest leaders of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania at the times of the Duchy's highest cultural flourishing, he was born near Vitebsk. He was educated in Leipzig and worked in the royal chancellery of King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania Stefan Báthory under direction of Jan Zamoyski. Raised Eastern Orthodox, in his youth he converted to Calvinism and founded a number of Calvinist churches in his former estates.
In the 1570s he turned to Unitarianism. Disillusioned by the squabbles within the Protestant camp, in 1586 he converted with his first wife to Roman Catholicism of which he became a zealous defender. After the Union of Brest he enforced conformity on the unwilling Eastern Orthodox, he supported a political union with Muscovy in 1584–1600 and led the diplomatic mission to Moscow in 1600 that proposed the union to tzar Boris Godunov, who declined the proposal. He participated in wars with Muscovy under rule of Stephen Báthory and King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania Sigismund III Vasa, he became an adviser of Sigismund III and supported his radical plans to take over the Muscovite throne. As Chancellor he was the main editor and publisher of the last version of the Statute of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, he laid grounds for the establishment of the Law Faculty in the University of Vilnius, created in 1641. He was co-initiator and a participant in the military expedition to Moscow in 1618 by King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania Władysław IV.
As Sejm Marshal he led the ordinary Sejm in Warsaw from October 4 to November 25, 1582. He was a benefactor of many catholic churches in the Grand Duchy, he established the long-term wealth of the Sapieha family. Sapieha died on 1633 and was interred in the cellars of the Church of St. Michael the Archangel in Vilnius, which he himself has commissioned, his tomb remains there to the present day and is still the largest piece of art of its kind in the territory of Lithuania
Hans Georg von Arnim-Boitzenburg
Johann or Hans Georg von Arnim-Boitzenburg was a German general. At different times during the Thirty Years' War, he was a Field Marshal for the Holy Roman Empire and its opponent the Electorate of Saxony, he pursued various diplomatic tasks. Arnim was born in Brandenburg. After studies at Frankfurt and Rostock, he entered into service at the Prussian court at Königsberg in 1612, a post he had to leave the next year because of a duel, he aided the Swedish army under Gustavus Adolphus against Russia from 1613 to 1617. During a number of years he was sent on secret mission between Gustav Adolph of Sweden and the Elector of Brandenburg to arrange the marriage to Maria Eleonora of Brandenburg 1621-22 with his German regiment aided the king of Poland-Lithuania in action against the Ottoman Empire. In 1626, although a Protestant, he was persuaded by Wallenstein to enter into the army of the Holy Roman Empire, he rose to the rank of field marshal, won the esteem of his soldiers as well as that of his commander, whose close friend and faithful ally he became.
This attachment to Wallenstein, a spirit of religious toleration, were the leading motives of a strange career of military and political inconstancy. Arnim, a devoted Lutheran himself, was sent with his imperial troops by the emperor Ferdinand II to aid Swedish-Polish King Sigismund III in the battle against the Lutheran Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden on 17 June 1629 at Stuhm. Arnim and his troops carried out this task reluctantly; when the Polish did not pay the troops they went over to the Swedish side. Arnim left the imperial service on account of Wallenstein's dismissal, he entered that of the Elector John George of Saxony, was in command of the left wing of the army of Gustavus Adolphus at Breitenfeld. He invaded Bohemia, took Prague, was victorious at Nimburg, in 1632 returned to Saxony fought in Brandenburg and Silesia, he was one of the principal agents in the negotiations between John George and Wallenstein, which were terminated by the latter's death in 1634. After this, he defeated the imperial army at Liegnitz and operated in conjunction with Bauer in Bohemia.
In protest at the Peace of Prague, Arnim retired from active life. He was kidnapped by Axel Oxenstierna, for alleged intrigues against Sweden, was taken to Stockholm in 1637, but escaped to Hamburg in November 1638 and thereafter devoted himself to freeing Germany from foreign domination, he was carrying on a campaign, as lieutenant general of the imperial and Saxon forces against the French and Swedes, when he died in Dresden. Gilman, D. C.. "Arnim, Hans Georg von". New International Encyclopedia. New York: Dodd, Mead. Ripley, George. "Arnim, Johann Georg". The American Cyclopædia. Heinz Gollwitzer, "Hans Georg Arnim v. Boitzenburg", Neue Deutsche Biographie, 1, Berlin: Duncker & Humblot, pp. 372–373. Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie gives his birth year as 1581, as do 1905 New International Encyclopædia and the Encyclopædia Britannica Eleventh Edition. Attribution: This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed.. "Arnim-Boytzenburg, Hans Georg von". Encyclopædia Britannica.
2. Cambridge University Press. P. 631. This work in turn cites: K. G. Helbig, “Wallenstein und Arnim” in Kaumer, ed. Historisches Taschenbuch K. G. Helbig, “Der Prager Friede,” in Kaumer, ed. Historisches Taschenbuch E. D. M. Kirchner, Das Schloss Boytzenburg, &c. Archiv für die sachsische Geschichte, vol. viii
Great Northern War
The Great Northern War was a conflict in which a coalition led by the Tsardom of Russia contested the supremacy of the Swedish Empire in Northern and Eastern Europe. The initial leaders of the anti-Swedish alliance were Peter I of Russia, Frederick IV of Denmark–Norway and Augustus II the Strong of Saxony–Poland–Lithuania. Frederick IV and Augustus II were defeated by Sweden, under Charles XII, forced out of the alliance in 1700 and 1706 but rejoined it in 1709 after the defeat of Charles XII at the Battle of Poltava. George I of Great Britain and of Brunswick-Lüneburg joined the coalition in 1714 for Hanover and in 1717 for Britain, Frederick William I of Brandenburg-Prussia joined it in 1715. Charles XII led the Swedish army. Swedish allies included Holstein-Gottorp, several Polish magnates under Stanisław I Leszczyński and Cossacks under the Ukrainian Hetman Ivan Mazepa; the Ottoman Empire temporarily hosted Charles XII of Sweden and intervened against Peter I. The war began when an alliance of Denmark–Norway, Saxony and Russia, sensing an opportunity as Sweden was ruled by the young Charles XII, declared war on the Swedish Empire and launched a threefold attack on Swedish Holstein-Gottorp, Swedish Livonia, Swedish Ingria.
Sweden parried the Danish and Russian attacks at Travendal and Narva and in a counter-offensive pushed Augustus II's forces through the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth to Saxony, dethroning Augustus on the way and forcing him to acknowledge defeat in the Treaty of Altranstädt. The treaty secured the extradition and execution of Johann Reinhold Patkul, architect of the alliance seven years earlier. Meanwhile, the forces of Peter I had recovered from defeat at Narva and gained ground in Sweden's Baltic provinces, where they cemented Russian access to the Baltic Sea by founding Saint Petersburg in 1703. Charles XII moved from Saxony into Russia to confront Peter, but the campaign ended in 1709 with the destruction of the main Swedish army at the decisive Battle of Poltava and Charles' exile in the Ottoman town of Bender; the Ottoman Empire defeated the Russian-Moldavian army in the Pruth River Campaign, but that peace treaty was in the end without great consequence to Russia's position. After Poltava, the anti-Swedish coalition revived and subsequently Hanover and Prussia joined it.
The remaining Swedish forces in plague-stricken areas south and east of the Baltic Sea were evicted, with the last city, falling in 1710. The coalition members partitioned most of the Swedish dominions among themselves, destroying the Swedish dominium maris baltici. Sweden proper was invaded from the west by Denmark–Norway and from the east by Russia, which had occupied Finland by 1714. Sweden defeated the Danish invaders at the Battle of Helsingborg. Charles XII opened up a Norwegian front but was killed in Fredriksten in 1718; the war ended with the defeat of Sweden, leaving Russia as the new dominant power in the Baltic region and as a new major force in European politics. The Western powers, Great Britain and France, became caught up in the separate War of the Spanish Succession, which broke out over the Bourbon Philip of Anjou's succession to the Spanish throne and a possible joining of France and Spain; the formal conclusion of the Great Northern War came with the Swedish-Hanoverian and Swedish-Prussian Treaties of Stockholm, the Dano-Swedish Treaty of Frederiksborg, the Russo-Swedish Treaty of Nystad.
By these treaties Sweden ceded her exemption from the Sound Dues and lost the Baltic provinces and the southern part of Swedish Pomerania. The peace treaties ended her alliance with Holstein-Gottorp. Hanover gained Bremen-Verden, Brandenburg-Prussia incorporated the Oder estuary, Russia secured the Baltic Provinces, Denmark strengthened her position in Schleswig-Holstein. In Sweden, the absolute monarchy had come to an end with the death of Charles XII, Sweden's Age of Liberty began. Between the years of 1560 and 1658, Sweden created a Baltic empire centred on the Gulf of Finland and comprising the provinces of Karelia, Ingria and Livonia. During the Thirty Years' War Sweden gained tracts in Germany as well, including Western Pomerania, the Duchy of Bremen, Verden. During the same period Sweden conquered Norwegian provinces north of the Sound; these victories may be ascribed to a well-trained army, which despite its comparatively small size, was far more professional than most continental armies, to a modernization of administration in the course of the 17th century, which enabled the monarchy to harness the resources of the country and its empire in an effective way.
Fighting in the field, the Swedish army was able, in particular, to make quick, sustained marches across large tracts of land and to maintain a high rate of small arms fire due to proficient military drill. However, the Swedish state proved unable to support and maintain its army in a prolonged war. Campaigns on the continent had been proposed on the basis that the army would be financially self-supporting through plunder and taxation of newly gained land, a concept shared by most major powers of the period; the cost of the warfare proved to be much higher than the occupied countries could fund, Sweden's coffers, resources in manpower, were drained in the course of long conflicts. The foreign interventions in Russia during the Time of Troubles resulted in Swedish gains in the Treaty of