History of Estonia

By | April 28, 2022

According to historyaah, the scattered Estonian tribes inhabiting the territory of modern Estonia were mainly engaged in agriculture, cattle breeding and fishing. The advance of the Germans in an easterly direction in the 12th century. influenced the fate of the Estonians, in the 13th-16th centuries. their lands were conquered by the German crusaders and included in Livonia. The southern part of the country in 1224 was divided between the Livonian Order, the Bishops of Derpt and Ezel, the northern part belonged to Denmark in 1238-1346. The country was dominated by the Teutonic Knights, the landowning aristocracy and the local bishops of the Catholic Church, who were supported by the city merchants. As a result of the war (1558-83), the Livonian Order collapsed: the northern part of Estonia came under the rule of the Swedes, the southern part – of the Commonwealth. The island of Saaremaa remained with Denmark. From 1645 the entire territory of Estonia became part of Sweden. In the beginning. 18th century Russia’s interests in the Baltic region clashed with those of Sweden. After the defeat of Sweden in the Northern War (1700–21), Estonia was annexed to Russia and divided into two provinces. The Estonian Governorate was formed on the territory of northern Estonia, and the southern part (Pärnu, Viljandi and Tartu) became part of the Livonian Governorate.

Under the influence of the events of the February Revolution of 1917, Soviets of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies were created in Tallinn and other cities. In April 1917 the Estonian lands became an autonomous province. The first elections to the Estonian parliament were held on July 7–8, 1917. On February 24, 1918, the Provincial Zemsky Soviet declared Estonia’s independence. The units of the Red Army and Estonian riflemen who entered contributed to the proclamation on November 29, 1918 of the Estonian Soviet Republic (Estland Labor Commune), which lasted until June 5, 1919, and on May 19, 1919, the Constituent Assembly proclaimed the formation of an independent Estonian Republic. On February 2, 1920, a peace treaty was signed with the RSFSR. In 1934 a coup d’état was carried out, a dictatorship was established, parliament was dissolved, and political parties were banned. See ehistorylib for more about Estonia history.

On September 28, 1939, Estonia and the USSR signed an agreement on mutual assistance, which provided for the deployment of part of the Soviet troops on the territory of Estonia, and on June 17, 1940, in connection with the threat of fascist aggression, they were introduced. Elections to the State Duma were held on June 14–15, and on July 21, 1940, the Estonian Soviet Socialist Republic was proclaimed; in August 1940 it became part of the USSR. In 1941–44 E. was occupied by fascist German troops. In the autumn of 1944, after heavy fighting, Estonia was liberated by the Red Army.

In December 1988, the Estonian Popular Front was created, as well as a number of other political organizations (including the Independence Party), which put forward a demand for secession from the USSR. In November 1988, the Supreme Council of Estonia, led by the communist reformers, adopted the Declaration of the sovereignty of the Estonian SSR. On May 8, 1990, the Republic of Estonia was proclaimed, and on September 6, 1991, the independence of Estonia was recognized by the State Council of the USSR.

Science and culture of Estonia

In Estonia, the share of those with primary, basic (9 grades) and secondary education in the economically active population is 35.6%, secondary specialized (vocational) education – 35.3% and higher education – 29.1% (2000).

At the beginning of the 2001/02 academic year, 207.6 thousand people were studying in general education schools in Estonia. (26.2% – in Russian), in vocational schools – 29.8 thousand people. (35.3%) and in universities – 60.4 thousand people. (11.2%). In the field of vocational and higher education, a significant share of state funding remains. The number of students in higher education has increased dramatically due to paid education (both in public and private educational institutions).

Since 2002, a new system of funding state-funded places in higher education has been in operation. It provides for the conclusion of agreements between the Ministry of Education and the university for the entire nominal period of budgetary education (up to graduation, obtaining a master’s or doctoral degree) for a certain number of places.

The country has 6 public and 8 private universities, 34 universities. The largest and most famous of them are the University of Tartu (founded in 1632), the Tallinn University of Technology, the Tallinn Pedagogical University, the Estonian Agricultural Academy in Tartu, the Tallinn University of the Arts, and the Estonian Academy of Music and Art in Tallinn.

Spending on science is 0.7% of GDP (2001). The leading scientific center of the country, the Estonian Academy of Sciences, was reorganized into a personal academy, and its 19 institutes were transferred to universities. A major center of science is the University of Tartu, where special attention is paid to research in the fields of Estonian philology and literature, history, ethnography and medicine.

Of the 114 museums in the country, the largest is the Estonian National Museum, founded in 1909 in Tartu, which has a rich collection of ethnographic materials. Estonia has approx. 600 libraries. The largest of them are the University of Tartu Library, the National Library in Tallinn and the Estonian Academic Library in Tallinn.

Estonian culture was formed under strong Scandinavian and German influence. In the beginning. 19th century Estonian literature began to emerge. The publication in 1857–61 by F. Kreutzwald of the national epic Kalevipoeg (Son of Kalev) was a significant event. Poetry was developed in the 2nd half. 19th century L. Koidula (the founder of Estonian dramaturgy), A. Reinvald, M. Veske, M. Under and B. Alver gained the greatest fame. In the beginning. 20th century the poet G. Suits headed the Young Estonia cultural movement, such poets as P. Rummo (the play Cinderella’s Game) and J. Kaplinsky gained fame.

The greatest achievement of prose in the 20th century. is A. Tammsaare’s five-volume epic novel Truth and Justice, written in 1926-33. The historical novels of the most famous Estonian writer J. Kross reveal the moral problems of Estonian society. Juhan Smuul (1922-71) is a national writer of Estonia.

An important role in Estonian culture is played by folklore, which is the inspiration for writers, artists, sculptors, and musicians. Artist J. Köhler and sculptor A. Weizenberg, Estonian graphic artists T. Vinta, V. Tolli and M. Leis can be attributed to the founders of Estonian national fine arts. Among Estonian composers, the most famous are E. Tubin (1905-82), A. Pärt (b. 1935), conductor N. Järvi (b. 1937)

It is an Estonian tradition to hold song festivals (in recent decades, the number of performers has reached 30 thousand people, and listeners and spectators up to 300 thousand people).

Estonia has approx. 30 large and small theaters – state, municipal and private (the National Opera House “Estonia”, the State Russian Drama Theater, the theater “Vanemuine”, etc.). Famous singers – Georg Ots (1920-75), Anne Veski.

History of Estonia