Governorate of Livonia

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Governorate of Livonia
Лифляндская губерния
Liflyandskaya guberniya
Governorate of the Russian Empire

Flag Coat of arms
Flag Coat of arms
Location of Livonia
Capital Riga
 •  Established (de facto) 28 July 1713
 •  Established (de jure) 10 September 1721
 •  Renamed 1796
 •  Divided 1917
 •  Treaty of Brest-Litovsk 3 March 1918
 •  Disestablished 12 April 1918
 •  (1897) 1,299,365 
Political subdivisions 9
Today part of  Estonia,

The Governorate of Livonia[1] (Russian: Лифляндская губерния, Liflyandskaya guberniya (meaning Livonia province); German: Gouvernement Livland (meaning Livonia Province), also Gouvernement Riga; Estonian: Liivimaa kubermang, Latvian: Vidzemes guberņa) or Livland Governorate, also known as the Government of Livonia or Province of Livonia, was one of the Baltic governorates of the Russian Empire, now divided between the Republic of Latvia and the Republic of Estonia.


It was originally called the Riga Governorate (1721–1796) (Russian: Рижская губерния) after the city of Riga, the capital of Livonia. It was created 28 July [O.S. 17 July] 1712 out of Swedish Livonia, territories conquered from Sweden in the Great Northern War. Livonia had capitulated in 1710 and was formally ceded to Russia in the Treaty of Nystad in 1721. During subsequent administrative reordering, the governorate was renamed in 1796 into the Governorate of Livonia. It was also included uzeyds of Smolensk, Dorogobuzh, Roslavl and Vyazma between 1713 and 1726 due to dissolving of Smolensk Governorate.

Until the late 19th century, the governorate was not ruled by Russia but was administered independently by the local Baltic German nobility through a feudal Regional Council (German: Landtag).[2] After the Russian February Revolution in 1917, the northern part of the Governorate of Livonia was combined with the Governorate of Estonia to form a new Autonomous Governorate of Estonia.

The Autonomous Governorate of Estonia issued the Estonian Declaration of Independence on 24 February 1918, one day before it was occupied by German troops during World War I. With the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk on 3 March 1918, Bolshevist Russia accepted the loss of the Livland Governorate and by agreements concluded in Berlin on 27 August 1918, the Autonomous Governorate of Estonia and the Governorate of Livonia were severed from Russia.[3]

Administrative division

The Governorate of Livonia was divided into 9 counties (Kreis).

# County County city (pop.) Area,
sq versta
1 Kreis Walk Walk (10,922) 5298.7 120,585
2 Kreis Wenden Wenden (6,356) 4953.7 124,208
3 Kreis Werro Werro (4,152) 3744.2 97,185
4 Kreis Wolmar Wolmar (5,050) 4358.1 112836
5 Kreis Pernau Pernau (12,898) 4694.9 98,123
6 Kreis Riga Riga (282,230) 5468.4 396,101
7 Kreis Fellin Fellin (736) 4015.2 99,747
8 Kreis Ösel Arensburg (4603) 2515.5 60,263
9 Kreis Dorpat Dorpat (Yuriev) (42,308) 6276.7 190,317

Note: After the February Revolution based on declaration of the Provisional Government of Russia of 30 March 1917 "About the autonomy of Estland", the Government of Livland was divided: five northern counties (Kreis) with the Estonian population (Yuriev (Derpt), Pernov, Fellin, Verro and Ezel) as well as the populated by the Estonians townships of Valk county were all included into the composition of the neighboring Governorate of Estonia. However the new border between the Governments of Estonia and Livland was never installed.

List of governors


  • By the Imperial census of 1897.[4] In bold are languages spoken by more people than the state language.
Language Number percentage (%) males females
Latvian 563,929 43.4 271,215 292,714
Estonian 518,594 39.91 247,348 271,246
German 98 573 7.58 44,770 53,803
Russian 68,124 5.24 38,844 29,280
Yiddish 23,728 1.82 12,189 11,539
Polish 15,132 1.16 8,321 6,811
Lithuanian 6,594 0.5 4,131 2,463
that did not name
their native language
154 >0.1 71 83
Other[5] 4,537 0.34 3,109 1,428
Total 1,299,365 100 629,992 669,373

See also

References and notes

  1. The Baltic States from 1914 to 1923 By LtCol Andrew Parrott
  2. Smith, David James (2005). The Baltic States and Their Region. Rodopi. ISBN 978-90-420-1666-8.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. The Baltic States and Weimar Ostpolitik By John Hiden
  4. 4.0 4.1 Language Statistics of 1897 (Russian)
  5. Languages, number of speakers which in all gubernia were less than 1000