By Inese A. Smith, Marita V. Grunts
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Extra resources for The Baltic States: Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania
He is the author of numerous articles and several books on indexing and abstracting, and has published The Conversion of Scripts, Indexing and Abstracting: an International Bibliography and Indexing from A to Z. He also contributes frequently to Journal of the American Society for Information Science, The Indexer and other professional journals. Ralph Lee Woodward, Jr. is Director of Graduate Studies at Tulane University, New Orleans, where he has been Professor of History since 1970. He is the author of Central America, a Nation Divided, 2nd ed.
Change and evolution were continuous and the emergence of the tripartite configuration of Estonian, Latvian, and Lithuanian took a considerable amount of time. The 'wandering of peoples' ended on the European continent two millennia ago and the Baltic-area populations stabilized as a collection of small tribal societies, each with its own political structure and leadership. We do not know what these people spoke, but the assumption has to be one of heterogeneity. Starting with the twelfth century, the eastern Baltic area witnessed the arrival of crusaders (the Teutonic Order), missionaries and merchants from the Holy Roman Empire, who found themselves having to fight and deal with such peoples as the Estonians, the Livs, the Curonians, the Semigallians, the Lettgallians, the Selonians, Lithuanians, the Samogitians, and the Yatvingians.
The Livonian Wars (1558-1583), the Polish-Swedish War (1600-1629), the Great Northern War (1700-1721), and many lesser conflicts in between brought into the Baltic arena the armies of a series of Russian Czars and Swedish kings, who battled first the weakening forces of the Livonian Confederation, then the soldiers of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, and finally, of course, each other. Numerous indigenous peoples participated in these conflicts as soldiers, but most of the population, being peasants, were as always on the receiving end of destruction and pillage.