History in Estonia

History in Estonia

Finno-Ugric peoples and Estonians were the ancestors of modern Estonians. They settled here for 3 thousand years BC. Starting from the 10th century AD, local tribes allied with the Old Russian state.

In the 13th century, Estonia was conquered by the Knights of the Teutonic Order and came under its protection. The German knights converted the local population to Catholicism. The favorable geographical position of the country at the crossroads of the main trade routes also attracted many German merchants who conducted trade here. Later, at the end of the 16th century, after the collapse of the Teutonic Order, these lands were conquered by the Swedes.

In 1721, as a result of disagreements between Russia and Sweden and the subsequent Northern War, they became part of Russia. Estonia became one of the provinces of Russia under the name of the Estonian province, but still retained many of its trading rights and elements of self-government. Peter I restored the rights of the German aristocracy, which they had lost under the rule of the Swedes, and the Germans again became a privileged class. Check a2zdirectory for old history of Estonia.

The Russian Empire came to the conclusion that it was necessary to appoint Russian officials to the ruling places of the Estonian province a little later, precisely at the moment when the power of Germany on the world stage increased, and the threat of a German attack became quite large. Russia did everything to make the Baltic Germans step back from power. Following the example of the Russian revolutionary movement, a number of parties were also organized in Estonia, most of which considered the future fate of Estonia as an autonomous part of the Russian Federation. However, in October 1917, when the Bolsheviks came to power, their ideas of expropriation and nationalization did not find support among the majority of the Estonian population, and on February 24, 1918, Estonia declared its independence.

Before the Second World War, Estonia managed to establish relations with Western countries, which strengthened its status. In 1932, a non-aggression pact was signed between Estonia and the USSR. In the 30s, several agreements were concluded between Nazi Germany and England, in 1939 the USSR also signed a non-aggression pact with the Germans, according to which Estonia fell into the sphere of interests of the Soviet Union. All this cut off Estonia from the major democratic countries, that is, the country became very vulnerable. Therefore, on September 28, 1939, Estonia concluded a forced mutual assistance treaty with the USSR, according to which military bases of the Soviet Union were placed on the territory of Estonia. Most of the local population supported the communist bloc, and already in 1940 Estonia was annexed to the Soviet Union.

When the war broke out between the Soviet Union and Germany, the Soviet government mobilized the majority of Estonians of draft age. On July 7, 1941, German troops approached the Estonian border, and on August 28, the last units of the Red Army left Tallinn. The period of German occupation began. During the occupation, about 7,500 inhabitants of Estonia were killed, more than 20,000 citizens of other European countries, including many Jews, as well as Soviet prisoners of war, died in Nazi camps on Estonian soil. The battles with the Nazis lasted until the end of November 1944. On November 24, 1944, the southern point of the island of Saaremaa was captured and thus Estonia was liberated.

In the following years after the devastating war, the Soviet government turned Estonia into a developed industrial state with a socialist way of life. In the late 1980s, against the backdrop of perestroika in Soviet society, announced by Mikhail Gorbachev, a “national awakening” began in Estonia. Protests against the “system” became open and frequent. As a result, on August 20, 1991, after the collapse of the USSR, the country regained its independence. Today the country is a member of the UN and the IMF.

History in Estonia