The Hanseatic League




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The municipal charter of Magdeburg was replicated across the region. The town of Vilno received the Magdeburg law in 1387. In this document of 15 August 1390, the Grand Dutchy of Lithuania gives the Magdeburg law to Brest.

SOURCE: “The Charter Giving Magdeburg Law to Brest.” In Vernadsky, George, ed. A Source Book for Russian History From Early Times to 1917,vol. 1, Early Times to the Late Seventeenth Century. New Haven and London: Yale U. Press, 1972. p. 108.
Included here under fair use regulations.

Page 108

In the name of our Lord, amen. May this be forever remembered. We, Wladyslav, by the grace of God king of Poland... make it known by the present document to all whom it may concern both now and hereafter: Desirous of improving the condition of our town of Brest, so that it may succeed in attracting more inhabitants, we transfer it from the Ruthenian law to the German law of Magdeburg for all time to come, nullifying at the same time all Polish and Ruthenian laws and general customs which have constantly been a source of friction; moreover, we absolve and forever release the townspeople and inhabitants of our town of Brest, Germans as well as Poles and Ruthenians, Christians of whatever status, from any jurisdiction and authority of all the palatines, castellans, starosty, voevody, burgraves, judges, assistant judges, officials, and their agents or detskie, so that [the townspeople] shall in no way be answerable to them or to anyone else for any offenses great or small, as, for example, theft, bloodshed, murder, mutilation, arson, or anything else; nor shall they be held to suffer any punishments; but rather, the townspeople and inhabitants of the aforesaid town, Ruthenians as well as Poles, Germans, and anyone else, shall be answerable to their own mayor, whoever it may be at that time. This mayor, moreover, shall not be bound to answer anyone's charges before us or our general court unless summond by our dispatch, sealed with our seal, and then only in accordance with the aforementioned German Magdeburg law. Moreover, in criminal and capital offenses of any kind, we give and confer to the mayor of the said town of Brest the full and unlimited power of judging, passing sentence, reprimanding, and punishing according to the custom of the land, as the German Magdeburg law demands and requires in all its points, provisos, and conditions.