Abstract: The purpose of this article is to test an explanation for the atypical nature of the development of demesne lordship in western Estonia1 in early modern times. My proposed hypothesis concerning the development of early modern demesne lordship in the Baltic Sea region takes as its starting point the impact on private land ownership in Europe caused by governments’ extension of their political powers and increasing conflicts. The twenty-first-century discourse about raison d’état has here been broadened with additional arguments about the role of the early modern military state in the development of demesne lordship in the Baltic Sea region, following the reasoning behind Braudel’s and Wallerstein’s center–periphery models.
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