Kurland im Horizont der Reformation: Resonanz – Korrelation – Interaktion

Ulrich Schoenborn

Abstract


There was no ideal or typical way of establishing the Reformation in Europe, while Church reformin East Central Europe cannot be attributed solely to the influence of the ideas from Wittenberg.Much more important than looking for a causal relationship is to analyse the responses,correlations and interactions. This is done in the article by looking for an answer to the questionwhy Protestantism established itself relatively late in the geographical area called Courland (Kurland,present-day Kurzeme), and more precisely how the creation of the Duchy of Courland andSemigallia (1561–1562) was connected with the establishment of the Evangelical Church in thisregion. In looking for an answer, the article outlines the challenges faced by the Teutonic Order’sdomains in Livonia during the Reformation in the first half of the 16th century. It explores theactivities of Gotthard Kettler, the last Master of the Teutonic Order in Livonia (1559–1561), in theconversion to Protestantism, and the creation of the Duchy. Finally, the article discusses how‘the princely Reformation’ that created new confessional and cultural realities in the northeast ofCentral Europe during the second half of the 16th century manifested itself in a specific region.

KEY WORDS: Teutonic Order, Livonian Confederation, Gotthard Kettler, Duchy of Courland andSemigallia, Reformation.


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