Post-classical history


Kexholm (or Keksholm) was the Swedish name for the Karelian fortress and town of Korela, or Korel’skii Gorodok (mod. Priozërsk, Russia).

By the eleventh century the site was a tribal center of the pagan Karelians of the region of Lake Ladoga. The fortress was built on an island in the eastern estuary of the river Vuoksi, barring the entrance to Lake Ladoga from the Baltic Sea. In 1293 Swedish crusaders established the stronghold of Viborg (mod. Vyborg, Russia) on the western estuary of the Vuoksi. Soon afterward they managed to conquer Kexholm, but they were driven off by a Novgorodian army in 1295.

After the division of Karelia between Sweden and Novgorod in the Treaty of Noteborg (1323), Novgorod placed Kexholm under the government of Orthodox Lithuanian princes (known as “service princes”), both to defend the border region and to keep the Karelians under control. This led to protracted unrest, and in 1337 the townspeople rose up against Novgorod, killed Christians, and called upon the Swedes for help. When Novgorod and Sweden renewed the peace, Novgorod retaliated against the Karelians.

King Magnus II Eriksson of Sweden failed to take Kex- holm during his crusade against Novgorod in 1347-1351, and it remained Russian until the end of the sixteenth century. Around 1400, Novgorod established an Orthodox monastery nearby at Valamo, which was used as a base to Christianize the Karelians.

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