Regulations of the People of Riga

Continuing with the history of Riga, Latvia here are some of the rights and obligations of the citizens during olden days.

All the citizens of Riga had the same rights and obligations and were expected to protect the good name of the city.  Some of the regulations they had to live by were:

  • No testament could be ratified unless a sum of money was willed to churches and schools.
  • Hostelries serving wine, beer, and brandy had to be closed by 9 P.M.
  • It was forbidden to throw refuse into the Ridzina River, in the moat, on the roads, or in winter on the Daugava.
  • Persons who had gained property through their wives could stay in the city only as guests.
  • If someone was caught with a woman they had to marry her or pay a fine of ten silver marks.

A lot of regulations pertained to commerce:

  • Those carrying scales and measures had to give out precise measures.
  • The scales and measures had to be verified once a year.
  • Wines couldn’t be imported if the master had not tasted them.

The residents of Riga were proud people and therefore they built the church steeple of St. Peter’s Church higher than the steeple of the Dom Cathedral because the first belonged to the people and the latter was the seat of the official ruler the archbishop. The city of Riga looked after its own people. A person could become the owner of a house if he was born in Riga or if he paid a fixed sum of money.

Riga’s main income came for export. When the Order attempted to get rich from the commerce of Riga the city joined forces with the archbishop against the Order. It was so that when the Grand Master of the Order rode into town the members of the town council had to stand before him barefooted and bareheaded and he in turn would take their money and gold and silver. When the Order started a conquest of the Russian principalities they suffered a great defeat. In the end, all total the Order lost 600 knights along with the Great Commander and other commanders, 40,000 men were killed and 15,000 taken prisoner with their cannons. However, after regrouping the Order conquered Riga in 1491 and the Grand Master became Wolter von Plettenberg.

The photo is of St. Peter’s Church on the left side is the higher tower the people built and to the right, you see the tower of the Dom Cathedral


What do you think?


Leave a Reply

Leave a Reply