despite its historical and political destiny with its
neighboring countries in the south - Lithaun and Latvia -
the Estonian people have always been characterized by their
independent spirit and culture. The people belong to the
Finnish-Hungarian family of nations and have therefore had
closer cultural and linguistic contacts with the Finns in
the north than with the Indo-European Balts in the south.
The present Estonia has been inhabited for over 6,000
years. Around the year 400 AD, life as a semi-nomad (fishing
and hunting) began to be supplanted by the agricultural
form. At the same time, sailing in the Baltic Sea increased
and trade with the neighboring peoples became increasingly
extensive. In the 11th and 12th centuries, the Estonian
small finds established a joint army and were thus able to
defeat the first Russian attempts at invasion.
German, Danish, Swedish and Russian control
When Germans, Danes and Russians invaded the area in the
13th century, the Estonians had established a federation of
states characterized by a highly developed social level and
an extensive autonomy that made them strong against the
In the 13th century, a German Crusader order that had
emerged as early as the 12th century conquered the southern
part of Estonia and the northern part of Lithaun,
established the kingdom of Livonia and Christianized its
residents. In the first half of the 16th century, the
Reformation invaded Estonia via the German merchants and
The northern part of Estonia remained under Danish
control. In 1558-83 Russia carried out a large number of
offensive against Livonia, which was already divided from
1561 into smaller chunks. In 1569 the area was conquered by
Poland and converted into a kingdom, which in 1660 was
transferred to Sweden. During the Nordic wars (1700-1721),
Russia conquered Livonia from Sweden, which first regained
its territory with the Nystad Treaty.
In 1772, Russia took over the Polish part of Livonia as
part of the division of Poland between Russia and Sweden.
Finally, in 1783, the old Lebanese kingdom was made a
Russian province. The Czar ruled with the German nobility
province. The nobility ruled most of the land while the
peasants were alive.
The abolition of the quality of life in Russia in 1804
and the conquest of ownership of own land reinforced the
national feeling among the Estonians. In the second half of
the 19th century, the Society of Estonian Authors worked for
the development of Estonian literature and culture, and was
thus able to hold back the Czar's Russification campaigns.
In 1904, nationalist esters took control of Tallinn and
displaced the ruling Baltic-German citizenship. When the
czar was overthrown during the February Revolution of 1917,
a demonstration in Petrograd of 40,000 Estonians forced the
Provisional Government to give the country autonomy. With
the Bolshevik Revolution in October of that year, Estonia
retained its autonomy.