According to estatelearning, Estonia is located in Northern Europe, bordered by Latvia to the south and Russia to the east. The total land area of Estonia is 45,227 square kilometers with a coastline stretching for 3,794 kilometers. The terrain consists mostly of low-lying plains with some hills and lakes in the interior. The climate is temperate with cool summers and mild winters. Estonia experiences two distinct seasons: a wet season from May to September and a dry season from October to April.


Estonia’s oldest settlement belongs to the 9000s born BC, the preboreal period, when the country was populated by hunters and fishermen, who mainly used gear of bones and horns. The most important settlements are Pulli on the river Pärnu jõgi and Kunda on the coast of the Gulf of Finland. During the early Stone Age, around 4000 BC, on the domestic soil, the narcotic culture, characterized by a special pottery, which also occurs in Latvia and Lithuania, developed. Estonia was later included in the Eastern European chamber ceramic culture.

Metal objects are rare in the older Bronze Age burial trenches, but from the younger part of the period there was a clear upturn in bronze foundry, cultivation and livestock management. At this time, Estonia’s oldest fortified settlements belong, of which the most important is Asva on the island of Ösel (about 900-500 BC). The ash culture is characterized by coarse ceramics, which were also found in eastern Central Sweden and southern Finland.

During the older Iron Age, around Kr.f., there was a transition to permanent agriculture, which eventually led to significant population growth. Wealth is reflected in large burial fields with pebbles containing rectangular stone frames, so-called tarand tombs, and in a thriving jewelry industry, including enamel items. During the economic upswing, which also included iron production, defense guards were also created. During the Middle Iron Age the finds diminished, especially in western Estonia, but new ancient castles were built and old ones were rebuilt. The dead were buried in low structural voids, in the country’s southeastern parts in round or oblong piles. Younger Iron Age, around 1000 AD, is characterized by large new refugees, treasure hunts and weapons of Northern European types. The settlement was widespread throughout the country, though with a concentration on the areas of Tallinn and Tartu.

  • Countryaah: Check to see the location of Estonia on the world map. Also covers major mountains, rivers and lakes in Estonia.

History of Estonia


Before 1200

Estonia’s land was about 1200 divided into 14 landscapes with its own central refugee cities, but it is uncertain how far this division goes back in time. To see more information other than history, please visit Abbreviationfinder to learn more about climate, population, government, and economy for the country of Estonia. There was no cohesive organization and joint armed forces. The free men were led by their so-called elders and served by war slaves. During the Viking era, the Gulf of Finland was the trade route between east and west. In the 1100s, the boys continued to sail to Novgorod. In all likelihood, they contributed to Tallinn’s rise. At the same time, Estonian pirates ravaged along Sweden’s east coast and in the Mälardalen valley. According to Olaus Petri’s chronicle, they destroyed the Swedish central city of Sigtuna in 1187.

State of the Order (1200–1558)

At the turn of the 1200, Germans, Danes, Swedes and Russians competed for missions and exploitation opportunities in Estonia as well, whose population is estimated to be below 200,000. 700 years. Estonian elders were admitted to the German elite with their families.

The northern landscapes of Harrien and Wierland formally came to Denmark as the Duchy of Estonia. To the south was the area that the conquerors began to call Livland. It was dedicated to the Virgin Mary. The northern medieval Livland’s northern half was populated by ester, its southern part by letters and liver. This purely medieval Estonian-Latvian language boundary has been preserved to this day. The Germans began to build castles, privileged cities and mansions out in the countryside. Churchly the land was divided into dioceses, with the bishop of Tallinn (Reval) obeying Lund. The archbishop of Riga competed with the lifelong Lord of the Order on political power. German wordswas the largest individual landowner, as well as the country’s armed forces. The knighthood was organized into vassal corporations. From 1421, a so-called Lifelands farm was convened when necessary, where heads of the order, bishops, vassals and representatives of Hanseatic cities, but no indigenous peasants, attended.

During the 13th century, trade between East and West was taken over by German Hanseatic merchants. Swedes colonized the country’s northwest coast. From 1442 the merchants in Tallinn and Tartu (Dorpat) controlled the trade on Novgorod and Pskov.

An extensive peasant rebellion in the Danish part of the country was fought in 1343–46, after which Estonia was sold to the German orders and in its entirety became part of the late medieval state formation Livland (Alt-Livland), which formally obeyed the German-Roman emperor. The defeated esters were forbidden to carry weapons and were given an increasingly sacred position. Around 1500, life traits were introduced, and farmers’ day jobs increased to 3–6 days a week. However, a number of families managed to maintain their free status for generations. By the middle of the 16th century, the population is estimated to have increased to 250,000.

Swedish domination (1558–1721)

After the Reformation, Livelian words faced material, military and moral decay. A new survey of power between Russia, Denmark, Sweden and Poland – Lithuania resulted in Estonia’s knighthood with Tallinn in 1561 surrendering under Sweden. After prolonged ravages, the Swedes were able to conquer Wieck in 1570 and Livland along with Riga in 1629. During the war, the population is assumed to have decreased to 70,000 to 100,000 people. After the peace in Brömsebro in 1645, Ösel was also added to the Swedish empire. Russian incidents in Livland were averted (1656–61).

A thorough Swedish reorganization followed in the so-called Baltic provinces: Estonia, Livland and Ingermanland. In Tartu, a court of justice was established in 1629 and a university in 1632. The Swedish authorities initially sought to lighten the burdens of the peasants. It is still disputed whether “the old good Swedish time” was actually so good. Clearly, the provinces were used as the mother country’s grain store. At the same time, manufac- tures were founded. In the mercantilist spirit and in the Carolinian Baroque style, Narva (3,000 residents) was converted into an international transit resort. The Stockholm officials wanted to pull the Orient trade from Persia through Russia over Narva and Riga towards Sweden. During the Carolinian monarchy, a severe reduction was implemented, especially in Livland.

Towards the end of the 1690s, Sweden emerged with its teenage king, Karl  XII, who weakened. Opposition Lifelong nobleman Johan Reinold Patkul created a military alliance against Sweden between Denmark, Saxony and Russia. The Saxons attacked Riga, while the Russians began to besiege Narva. In November 1700, Karl  XII won a brilliant victory at Narva. But after his departure south, the Russians were able to systematically fortify the country. The University of Tartu was closed. In 1710, one year after the battle of Poltava and the Swedish capitulation at Perevolotjna, the Russians conquered Estonia. The country had then also been affected by repeated outbreaks of plague, and the population had dropped to around 160,000.

With the peace in Nystad in 1721, the Baltic provinces were taken over by Russia. Through diplomatic surrender, the Baltic Germans secured their privileges.

Under Russia (1721–1918)

After 1740, the formation and mitigating influence of Pietists and gentlemen on the Estes was counteracted by brutalizing the landlords, whose rights were reinforced in police, jurisdiction, school and church. Full life trait was introduced. 324 noble families owned or controlled 1747 350 000 people. Towards the end of the 18th century, individual literatures began advocating social reform. Since the Swedish era, farmers’ obligations had increased by 30 per cent in respect of day jobs, by 70 percent in fees and by between 70 and 250 percent in the case of so-called extra help. In 1802 the University of Tartu was reopened.

The life trait was abolished in 1816-19 after a long struggle. However, the poor farmers were forced to work on extensive man-days to pay rent for the parcel they had used before. At the same time, however, the population began to grow rapidly. An extensive emigration to southern Russia and the world metropolis of Saint Petersburg followed the Orthodox mission of the 1840s, as did several peasant revolts in 1841–58. Trapped between aggressive Panslavism and Pangermanism, the Estonians of the 1860s underwent Alexander II ‘s reformist rule, a period of intensive nation-building, with economic progress and reforms in education and management.

The first singer party took place in 1869 in Tartu, which was the center of the national movement. A rough refreshment campaign from the 1880s was fought by both Germans and Esther and Letters. Industrialization took off. The Estonian language was modernized. Political parties were formed, at the same time as folklore collections, their own literature, their own theaters and a national museum grew. The revolution of 1905 got a bloody course in Estonia too, and radicalized all autonomy efforts.

In 1917 both the Russian Empire and the Provisional Government were overthrown. After unsuccessful German-Bolshevik negotiations, the Independent Republic of Estonia was proclaimed on February 24, 1918. This date has since become National Day. After ten months of German occupation, German troops were forced to leave Estonia following the German-Bolshevik ceasefire in November 1918.

Independence (1918-1940)

First, the victory of the Estonian Freedom War of 1918–20 against both Bolsheviks and Baltic Germans created a basis for the independent democratic republic of Estonia. By the peace in Tartu on February 2, 1920, it was recognized by Soviet Russia for all time. Free Estonia adopted a parliamentary constitution. Domestic politics was initially dominated by left-wing coalitions. As prosperity grew, prominent agrarian and bourgeois parties came to power. An armed communist coup attempt on December 1, 1924 in Tallinn was disrupted.

The Republic’s efforts include the social equalization land reform in 1921, which created 55,000 new farms, the cultural autonomy granted to the country’s minorities in 1925, and the education of proportionally most students in the world.

The country’s leading politician was the radical, but later strong, conservative Konstantin Päts in Tallinn and his principled liberal opponent Jaan Tõnisson (Tönisson) in Tartu.

After 1930, the world depression, the pressure from neighboring great powers and constant government crises gave significant influence to the right-wing anti-parliamentary groups. They were banned in 1934, at the same time as the parliament was dissolved and all opposition was harmed. However, the 1938 corporate constitution marked a step back towards democratic rule.

Already in 1922 Estonia had been adopted as a member of the League of Nations. In foreign policy, governments initially sought support from Britain, later with Germany. Finland and Sweden were covered with great sympathy. The attempts to achieve cooperation with Latvia and Lithuania (for example, the “Baltic Entent” in 1934) did not produce any great results.

World War II (1939–45)

In 1939, the population of Estonia amounted to 1,134,000 people, of which 1,010,000 ester. Through the secret protocol of the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact, Estonia also ended up in the Soviet “sphere of interest”. Thus, in September 1939, Stalin forced military bases in Estonia for 25,000 men. In October, Hitler called “home” the country’s approximately 16,000 ball germans. Further areas were allowed to resign after new Soviet demands in May 1940. The Estonian Communist Party (EKP) then had 133 members, three of them abroad.

After an ultimatum on June 16, 90,000 Red Army marchers marched into the country the following day. On June 19, Leningrad Politburo member Andrej Zdanov arrived in Tallinn. From the Soviet embassy he directed, with the support of the Red Army prosocial demonstrations. After the reform of the government in a communist direction, the dissolution of the parliament followed. The July elections were railroad elections, which were manipulated by the Communists. Formally, Estonia was incorporated into the Soviet Union on August 6, 1940.

The Soviet occupation year 1940–41 in Estonia caused a population loss of 60,000 people, of which more than 10,000 who were deported in livestock carriages to Siberia on the night of June 14, 1941. Eight former heads of state and 38 former ministers, along with a number of general staff officers, disappeared. beginning without a trace. About 2,000 people, including hundreds of officers, are estimated to have been murdered. With the help of terror, a total Sovietization of all sectors of social life took place.

The German general attack on the Soviet Union on June 22, 1941 was followed by a three-year Nazi occupation of Estonia, which was incorporated into the Reich Commissariat Ostland. The country’s resources were plundered, and 6,000 ester – including 2,000 Jews – were murdered. In addition, 15,000 to 25,000 have been killed or lost in the war. About 6,000 Estonian Swedes took over to Sweden in 1943–44. A total of 70,000 people fled in the face of the threat of a new Soviet occupation. About 20,000 esters stopped in Sweden and became the country’s first large immigrant group in modern times.

During the summer of 1944, German and Estonian troops in both German and Finnish uniform delayed the attacking Soviet troops. In September, in the gap between the occupations, a desperate attempt was made to again proclaim the Republic of Estonia.

Soviet rule (1945–91)

The renewed Soviet occupation led to an additional 5,000 deportations. Of the Soviet-mobilized 43,000 Estonians, only 5,000 men returned. The SFSR, the Russian Soviet Republic, incorporated Estonian areas east of Narva and around Petseri with about 60,000 people. The total Estonian losses during the war years amount to over 300,000 people (including the refugees), that is, over a quarter of the entire population.

Estonia was of great importance to the Soviet Union on several levels. There were ice-free ports here, the material and knowledge standards of the population were high, and in northeastern Estonia oil shale and other raw materials were extracted. The Estonian Soviet Republic became a producer of food for Leningrad’s multimillion population. On the pretext of “liquidating the kulaks as a class” prior to the forced collectivization of agriculture, in March 1949 tens of thousands of esters, mostly women and children, were transported to western Siberia.

During the 1950s, Estonia was radically reorganized according to Soviet designs. Estonia was located in large-scale industry with a great need for unskilled labor. Hundreds of thousands of Russians and other Soviet citizens who settled in Estonia during the following decades were also attracted by the relatively high standard of living. At the same time, the military built strategic aviation and war bases in Estonia, which became part of the Baltic military area.

From Moscow’s point of view, Estonia constituted a Soviet republic, the Estonian SSR, with a population of 1.6 million, of which just under 60 percent, that is, below the million, ester. The restructuring was carried out under central Moscow government with plan-keeping, general social militarization in the Soviet patriotic spirit and a monopoly party system in favor of the Soviet Union Communist Party (SUKP), in which the Estonian ECP had the status of a regional committee. Ideologically, daily life was governed by the SUKP, the KGB and the totalitarian justice system. According to plan, exploitation and ecological destruction of northeastern Estonia was carried out. Both population and cultural life were revamped under Leonid Brezhnev, and outside the control of domestic authorities, military equipment was produced in Tallinn, among others.

By the mid-1980s, the Soviet army was estimated to hold 140,000 men under arms in Estonia. Then, as a result of disarmament negotiations and satellite controls, the stock of heavy missiles began to thin out. From 1985, and especially from 1988, the totalitarian system was unlocked not only in Estonia but throughout the Soviet Union. The Estonian periphery was also given the opportunity to assert its national character. The Estonians, who, during a heavy political, economic and administrative process, sought the means and methods to restore their independence, asserted continuity from 1939 and invoked the fact that the Republic of Estonia still existed under international law, albeit under occupation. Following the failed coup d’état in the Soviet Union in August 1991, Estonia’s full independence was proclaimed.

Independent again (1991–)

Estonia’s full independence was quickly recognized by a number of states, including the Russian Federation. However, it took another two years until the last Soviet (Russian) troops were withdrawn. In the first presidential and parliamentary elections in 1992, Lennart Meri was elected president. Subsequently, former Soviet politician Arnold Rüütel and Toomas Hendrik Ilves (born 1953), raised in exile in the United States, have shouldered the presidency. In 2016, Kersti Kaljulaid became the country’s first female head of state.

The most immediate issue to deal with was the economic crisis that arose from the collapse of the Soviet system. In the Soviet Union, in 1991, there was a lack of energy, commodity shortages, rationing and black stock trading. Foreign trade collapsed when the Soviet Union disintegrated, which was followed by sharply increased oil and natural gas prices. Unemployment and social misery spread. From 1992, therefore, extensive economic reforms aimed at reforming or abolishing the previously inefficient Soviet industries and stimulating the emergence of new companies and market sectors were initiated. A currency reform, through which the Estonian currency was tied to the German D mark, led to control of inflation.

The last Soviet troops left Estonia in 1994, and a year later the government applied for EU membership. A majority of Estonian people supported EU membership, although the Center Party remained an option for EU skeptics, and in a 2003 referendum, 67 percent of voters said yes to EU membership. In the spring of that year, Estonia joined the EU and since New Year 2011, the country has joined the euro zone. Estonia is also a member of the NATO Defense Alliance (since 2003) as well as several multilateral organizations such as the UN, the Council of Europe and the WTO. Since 2014, as a result of the Russian Federation’s military attack on Ukraine, NATO has begun to build up a military presence in Estonia. Russia has responded with military maneuvers near the Baltic and repeated violations of Estonian airspace.

The question of the status of the Russian minority has put Estonia on the international map. It has constituted a seed of dispute between the Russian Federation and Estonia, which has been criticized for imposing too stringent demands on citizenship, including on knowledge of Estonian, but reporters from a number of international organizations have argued that Estonia respects intergovernmental agreements on civil rights.

The problem is that a significant proportion of Russian speakers do not have citizenship and cannot participate in national elections even though they may be born in the country, as a result of Estonia’s independence in defining citizenship according to the principle of descent (jus sanguinis). In local elections, however, non-citizens living in the country have the right to vote and since 2016, children are granted stateless automatic citizenship.

In the northeastern region of Ida-Virumaa (which borders Russia), Russian speakers are in the majority. Ethnic violence, which has been common in several other states of the former Soviet Union, has hardly occurred. The events surrounding the relocation of the “Bronze Soldier” in 2007 (a monument to Soviet war heroes) constitute an eye-catching exception. Then regular riots erupted in the capital led by younger Russian-speaking men, and the result was great material damage, over a hundred injured and a man killed. Several Western countries have also accused Russia of being behind the IT attacks that were carried out against Estonian socially important infrastructure (banks, authorities and media) during the time of the riots.

The difficult work of rebuilding an independent state with a modern market economy began immediately after independence. As a result of a broad political consensus, Estonia was fully focused on reconnecting politically, economically and culturally to the West. Air, ferry and telephone connections have been extended with the western world. Parliament adopted, as part of its efforts to pursue a strict fiscal policy, a law that prohibits government budget deficits. Gross domestic product declined dramatically during the transition from planning to market economy, but began to increase sharply in the mid-1990s – at most by 11.4 percent in 1997. The stock market crash that autumn and the economic crisis in, among other things, the Russian Federation led to an economic slowdown.

Throughout the 2000s until the crisis year 2008, Estonia was considered by international observers and analysts to be one of the most successful economies among the former communist states. Estonia has long had one of the highest per capita incomes in Central and Eastern Europe. Growth averaged 8 percent in 2003–07. Since 1991, the country has, with considerable consequence, adhered to its market liberal model, which means that the role of the state is limited. In principle, this has reached political consensus. The global economic crisis that started in 2008 hit Estonia relatively hard with its open investment vis-à-vis foreign investment (not least from Sweden, Finland and Germany). However, the crisis was quickly overcome; negative growth in 2009 of 13.9 percent in 2010 had again returned to positive growth of 3.1 percent.

History of Estonia
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