Back

Our history

Fourth step

Some outstanding persons from the past

The short history of Estonia

8th millennium BC
Traces of first settlement (Pulli)

3rd millennium BC
Finno-Ugric tribes arrive

1st century AD
Estonians mentioned for the first time in written records by Tacitus

1030: First written mention of Tartu
1050: First fortress built on Tallinn Toompea (Domberg)
1154: Arabian investigator al-Idrisi puts Tallinn in his world atlas with the name Qalaven  (Kalevan)

13th century
1208: German knights start their attacks into Estonian area. The Estonian tribes resist the attack during two decades.
1219: The Danish king Valdemar II conquers  Northern Estonia and Tallinn (Tallinn = Danish city).
1248: Tallinn becomes a part of German Hansa (Hanseatic League)

14th century
1343-45: Estonian uprising, Denmark sells its Estonian lands to the German knights.
1350: The establishment of feudalism and serfdom in Estonia.

16th century
1523: Tallinn becomes the member of Hanseatic League
1523-26: Reformation in Estonia
1525: First book published in Estonian (but destroyed because considered heretical)
1535: First Catechism in Estonian
1558-83: The Livonian War. The German Teutonic Order collapses. Northern part of Estonia was under Swedish, Southern under Polish-Lithuanian rule.

17th century
1632: Tartu University (Academia Gustaviana) founded.
1686: First ABC book in Estonian.

18th century
1700-1721: Northern War, incorporation of Estonia into Russia.
1739: The first bible in Estonian.
1766: First periodical (weekly magazine) in Estonia published.

19th century
1806: First newspaper in Estonia launched.
1857-1861: National epic Kalevipoeg published by F.R.Kreutzwald.
1869: First all-Estonian Song Festival in Tartu.
1870: National theatre “Vanemuine” founded
1884: The Blue-black-and-white flag of Estonian Students’ Society consecrated in Otepää Church.
1880-90: Russification policy starts.

20th century
1918-1920: Birth of independence.
 24 February 1918: birth of the Republic of Estonia
 German occupation
 War of Independence
 23 June 1919: victory over Landeswehr in the Battle of Võnnu
 2 February 1920: Peace Treaty with Russia signed in Tartu.
1920-1940: independent Republic of Estonia.

1940-1991: German and Soviet occupation. Collectivisation, mass deportations.
23rd of August 1939: The Molotov-Ribbentrop pact. Eastern Europe is divided between Hitler and Stalin.
17th of June 1940: the Soviet Union occupies Estonia. 6th of August: Estonia is annexed into Soviet empire.

1988: "The Singing revolution": the singing mass demonstrations of 300.000 Estonians in Tallinn. Re-introduction of the Estonian flag. Popular Front established.

20th of August 1991: after the attempted coup in the Soviet Union, Estonia declares itself independent.
6th of September: The Soviet Union recognizes the Estonian independence.
1992: The citizenship law and the currency crown (kroon) introduced. Elections of parliament (Riigikogu ). The republic of Estonia re-established.
1993 May: Estonia becomes a full member of the Council of Europe.
1994 July: A free trade agreement between Estonia and the European Union is signed.
August: last Russian troops leave Estonia. The 50 years of occupation has come to an end.
1995 January: the free trade agreement between Estonia and the European Union comes into effect.
February: during the talks between Estonia and  the European Union it is agreed that
Estonia will become the Associate Member of EU without a transition period. The signing of the association treaty is expected to take place in the first half of 1995.
1997: European Union decides to start accession negotiations with six Central and East-European countries including Estonia.