former province (1783-1918) of Russia, on the Gulf of Riga: divided (1918) between Latvia & Estonia
A region of north-central Europe in southern Estonia and northern Latvia. Originally settled by the Livs, a Finnic people, the area was conquered in the 1200s by German knights, the Livonian Brothers of the Sword. After the dissolution of the order (1561), Livonia was contested by Poland, Russia, and Sweden, finally becoming a Russian province in 1783. In 1918 Livonia was divided between Estonia and Latvia.