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Treaty of Nöteborg, also known as Treaty of Oreshek (Finnish language: Pähkinäsaaren rauha ), is a conventional name for the peace treaty that was signed at Orekhovets (Swedish language: Nöteborg , Finnish language: Pähkinäsaari ) on August 12, 1323. It was the first settlement between Sweden and Novgorod Republic regulating their border. Three years later, Novgorod signed the Treaty of Novgorod with the Norwegians.


The treaty had no special name at the time, as it was just called a "permanent peace" between the parties.[1] Contemporary English language publications most often use the name "Treaty of Nöteborg" for it,[2] which is a direct translation of Nöteborgstraktaten by which the treaty has conventionally been referred to in the Swedish language literature. "Treaty of Oreshek"[3] is a similar translation from the Russian Ореховский мир. Both "Nöteborg" and "Oreshek" are old names of a fortress in Shlisselburg, used respectively in Swedish and Russian.

Recently, the name "Treaty of Pähkinäsaari" has appeared in some of the English language literature, as a direct translation of the contemporary Finnish name of the treaty, Pähkinäsaaren rauha.[4] "Pähkinäsaari" was the Finnish name for the island on which the fortress was built.


The original text of the treaty has been lost. It has survived in partial copies in Russian, Swedish, and Latin, which are somewhat conflicting.[5]

The border defined by the Treaty of Nöteborg showing the towns and castles of Turku (Åbo) and Vyborg (Viborg). The map represents a traditional interpretation of this much disputed subject.

The treaty was negotiated with the help of Hanseatic merchants in order to conclude the Swedish-Novgorodian Wars. As a token of good will, Prince Yuri ceded three of his Karelian parishes to Sweden; Sweden would in turn stay out of any conflict between Novgorod and Narva. Both sides would also promise to refrain from building castles on the new border.

The treaty defined the border as beginning east and north of the Viborg Castle, running along Sestra and Volchya Rivers, splitting the Karelian Isthmus in half, running across Savonia, and, according to the traditional interpretations, ending in the Gulf of Bothnia near the Pyhäjoki River. Only the southern part of the border, close to Viborg, was actually considered important and clearly defined in the treaty. Border in the wilderness was defined very roughly, and was presumably considered less important than the line across the Karelian Isthmus. It has also been suggested that the treaty would have originally given both Sweden and Novgorod joint rights to northern Ostrobothnia and Lappland.[6]


Border stone

Finnic tribes living on both sides of the border, mainly Karelians, Finns, and Tavastians, had no say in the treaty. Sweden and Novgorod had already de facto established their areas of influence in eastern Fennoscandia, with Karelians under Russian rule and other tribes in the west under Swedish rule. The treaty established international approval for that structure, but the concept of "permanent peace" did not have much effect on the long-term conflict between Novgorod and Sweden. The northern part of the border crossed wide stretches of wilderness in which the Hansa and its diplomats were not interested, but these areas became a bone of contention between Sweden and Novgorod soon thereafter. Anxious to retrieve the northern shore of the Gulf of Bothnia, Sweden may have forged part of the treaty only a few years later,[7] and claimed that the northern border went all the way up to the Arctic Ocean. Within five years after the treaty was signed, Swedish colonists started making inroads into northern Ostrobothnia.[8] Sweden also established castles at Uleåborg around 1375 and Olofsborg in 1475, clearly on the Novgorodian side of the border.

The Swedes' Russian counterparts refused to accept the apparent forgery until 1595, when the Treaty of Teusina acknowledged the Swedish text as the correct one. However, long before that, Sweden had succeeded in permanently taking over large areas on the Novgorod side of the original border, including Ostrobothnia and Savonia. Eventually, the territory west of the border, along with the expanse to the north, evolved into the country that is known today as Finland.

See also[]


  1. "Treaty's Swedish and Latin texts". Archived from the original on 2007-09-27.  as maintained by the National Archives Service of Finland. Note that neither text can be said to be fully original, since both have survived as later, and possibly modified, copies.
  2. See e.g. [1] and [2].
  3. See e.g. [3].
  4. See e.g. [4], [5] or [6].
  5. Nöteborgsfreden och Finlands medeltida östgräns. Andra delen. Skrifter utgivna av Svenska litteratursällskapet i Finland, No 427:2, VIII + s. 239-509. Helsingfors 1991. (97:1, 186-200). Detailed discussion about the conflict over the correct text of the treaty. See page 186. The Russian text is available in S. N. Valk, Gramoty Velikogo Novgoroda i Pskova (Moscow: AN SSSR, 1949), 67-68.
  6. See Gallén, Jarl: Nöteborgsfreden och Finlands medeltida östgräns, Helsingfors 1968. Also see Gallén, Jarl; Lind, John: Nöteborgsfreden och Finlands medeltida östgräns, vol. 2-3, Helsingfors 1991.
  7. See Skrifter. See also Michael C. Paul, "Archbishop Vasilii Kalika of Novgorod, the Fortress of Orekhov, and the Defense of Orthodoxy," in Alan V. Murray, ed., The Clash of Cultures on the Medieval Baltic Frontier (Farnham, UK: Ashgate, 2009): 253-271.
  8. Vahtola, Jouko. Tornionlaakson historia I. Birkarlit, 'pirkkalaiset'. Malungs boktryckeri AB. Malung, Sweden. 1991.

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