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Estonia History

Estonia - national flagEstonia - national flag

The flag was first adopted in 1881 by Vironia, an Estonian student organization, and first hoisted in 1882. In the tricolor stands blue for the sky, black for the earth and white for the longing for freedom. The flag was recognized as the national flag of Estonia in 1920. It was then in use throughout the period of independence, until the Soviet Union took power in 1940 and replaced it with the flag of the Soviet Republic of Estonia in the years 1953-1991. Since 1988, the tricolor has again been shown in public. Since 7.8.1990, the flag, which is colloquially referred to as the Sinimus election (' the blue-black-white '), has been the country's official national and national flag. Since 2004, June 4 has been the day of the Estonian flag.

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The presidential flag has also added the Estonian coat of arms with three lions flanked by two crossed oak branches.

Estonia (Prehistory)

The oldest settlement dates from pre-Boreal times (approximately 9000-8000 BC), when the country was inhabited from the south by hunters and fishermen. The most important settlements are Pulli on the river Pärnu and Kunda on the coast of the Gulf of Finland.

Estonia History

In the Neolithic, the Narva culture developed, which is also found in Latvia and Lithuania, and Estonia was then incorporated into the Eastern European chamber-ceramic cultural circle. In the Bronze Age, sweating and cattle breeding occurred. The lower layers of Estonia's oldest fortified settlement, Asva on Saaremaa (Øsel), date to the end of this period. At the same time, connections to southern Finland and central Sweden existed.

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In the older Iron Age, people switched to agriculture, which resulted in population growth. The economic recovery is reflected in large burial fields with rectangular stone settings and in a flourishing jewelery industry with enamel worker. At the same time, extensive iron production began, which brought prosperity and the construction of fortifications. The Late Iron Age is characterized by new cities of refuge, treasure finds and weapons of European forms. Settlement occurred at that time throughout Estonia, however, with a concentration in the areas around Tallinn and Tartu.

Estonia - history

The area that makes up present-day Estonia had no real state formation since it from 1100-t. became the subject of German, Danish and Swedish crusades, which not only aimed to convert the pagan Estonians to Christianity, but also to subjugate the area.

In 1208, crusaders together with the German Order of the Sword Knights and a Danish army made a first unsuccessful advance from Livonia towards Estonian territory. It was below that a source mentions Dannebrog's fall from the sky when the Danish army was in crisis; later the story was linked to the Battle of Lyndanise in 1219. In 1217 Valdemar II had to send an army to Estonia to save the German mission among the Estonians and in 1219 came the great Danish attack, which meant that the northern part of Estonia came under the Danish king and church. In the years after the capture of Valdemar Sejr in 1223, the Danes were initially expelled from Estonia, who after the conquest of Øsel (Saaremaa) in 1227 was divided between the Order of the Sword Knights and the bishops of Dorpat (Tartu) and Øsel-Wiek (Saare-Lääne). After a severe defeat to the Lithuanians, the Order of the Sword Knights was incorporated into the German Order in 1237.

At the Stensby settlement of 1238, the German Order again had to leave the northern provinces to the Danish king. A peasant uprising 1343-45 in the Danish part of Estonia was crushed with the help of the German Order, after which Valdemar 4. Atterdag sold his part of Estonia to the German Order in 1346.

From the middle of the 1500's. the German Order was defeated by the Russians and then gradually disintegrated. Although the Russians conquered most of Estonia, the Livonian War of 1558-83 ended with Estonia being divided between Sweden, Poland-Lithuania and Denmark. Eventually, however, Sweden gained dominion over all of Estonia; Sweden thus got at the armistice in Altmark in 1629 Southern Estonia from Poland and in 1645 took over Øsel from Denmark after the Peace of Brömsebro.

The Estonians were in the cities subject to a German upper class, and in the countryside they were serfs under German landowners. The Swedish government tried to set limits for the nobility, and especially under Charles XII in the late 1600's. sought to improve the legal position of the Estonians.

Estonia was ravaged during the Great Nordic War 1700-21 and at the same time suffered from plague epidemics; the country was conquered in 1710 by Russia and was finally ceded by Sweden at the peace of Nystad in 1721. Under Russian rule, the local German knights gained extensive autonomy, after which the legal position of the Estonian peasantry was further aggravated and serfdom made even more onerous. The living property was formally abolished in the early 1800's, but it had little real significance. In the mid-1800's. conducted the Russian regime under Alexander 2.a series of reforms which formed the basis for the liberation of the rural population. At the same time a national revival began; in the cities, a nationally conscious Estonian bourgeoisie emerged, which soon came to play a leading role. An extensive Russification campaign in the 1880's met with great resistance, and in the late 1800's. the Estonian consciousness was strengthened culturally and politically, with incipient party formations. The Russian 1905 revolution also spread to Estonia, where it was brutally defeated.

After the February Revolution of 1917 in Russia, Estonia was united into a Russian province with self-government, but after the October Revolution the same year, the new Bolshevik rulers dissolved the Estonian parliament. As a result of World War I, Estonia was occupied by German troops in February 1918. On February 24, 1918, nationally-minded forces declared the country independent, and that date has since been Estonia's National Day. However, German troops did not withdraw until after the defeat in France and the ceasefire in November of that year.

In the period thereafter, also known as the Estonian War of Independence, the country was first threatened by the invasion of the Red Army, which, however, was repulsed with the help of the British navy, the Russian white northwestern army, and of Finnish volunteers; later German-Baltic conquest attempts followed, which were also rejected. The War of Independence ended with a peace treaty concluded on February 2, 1920 in Tartu, in which Soviet Russia recognized Estonia's independence. The country's leading politicians were the conservative Konstantin Päts and his liberal opponent Jaan Tõnisson. Several reforms were implemented, such as the subdivision of the mainly German-owned large estates and the separation of state and church, just as extensive rights were given to the minorities.

An armed communist coup attempt in December 1924 was averted, but political conditions remained unstable with many changing governments. In addition, the world economic crisis, which hit the agricultural country of Estonia hard. The crisis created fertile ground for a fascist-inspired right-wing movement, which gained significant influence in parliament and in 1933 secured the adoption of a new constitution, which gave the president far-reaching powers. However, the acting head of state, Konstantin Päts, turned this against the movement itself when, in 1934, in collaboration with General Johan Laidoner, the commander-in-chief during the War of Independence, he introduced a state of emergency and dissolved parliament. In 1938, a new democratic constitution with a corporate character was introduced, and Päts was elected president.

At the outbreak of World War II in 1939, Estonia declared itself neutral. However, as a result of the German-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact, the Baltic states were within the sphere of interest of the Soviet Union, and in September 1939, Estonia was forced to lay ground for Soviet military bases; the month after, Hitle r called approximately 16,000 German-Baltics home. Soviet forces occupied the country in June 1940, and the government was replaced.

After a parliamentary election in which all candidates were approved by the Communist Party, the new parliament immediately requested admission to the Soviet Union. Thereafter, a brutal Sovietization was carried out; on the night of 14 June 1941, approximately 10,000 people to Siberia. Following Germany's attack on the Soviet Union later that month, Estonia was occupied by German troops and placed under the Reichskommissariat Ostland. The German occupation meant plundering the country’s resources and great human sacrifices.

After the defeats on the Eastern Front, the Germans began to mobilize the Estonians. During the German withdrawal in September 1944, an Estonian government was formed, but the resistance was hopeless. Estonia was quickly recaptured by Soviet troops and again made a Soviet republic.

The occupations and the war meant great material and human losses; the population was reduced by approximately 1/4. It succeeded approximately 70,000 to flee to the West. Many continued the resistance struggle in the forests, where it was first defeated in the 1950's. To enforce collectivization of agriculture deported tens of thousands of people in March 1949 to Siberia, of which 4/5 were women and children. Only after Stalin's death in 1953 were the survivors allowed to return.

The extensive militarization and industrialization favored Russian immigration, so that entire cities and regions, especially in northeastern Estonia, became Russian. The worst terror ceased in 1953, but ideological pressure, surveillance, and ever-increasing Russification continued under subsequent Soviet governments, prompting the emergence of a dissident movement.

With Mikhail Gorbachev's takeover in 1985, a transformation of the totalitarian Soviet system began, and the protest movement gained momentum when Gorbachev introduced his glasnost and perestroika policies. In November 1988, Estonia's Supreme Soviet adopted a declaration of sovereignty, and the following year, its incorporation into the Soviet Union in 1940 was declared invalid.

During the failed August coup against Gorbachev in 1991, a restoration of Estonia's independence was declared; the country now gained international recognition, also by the Soviet Union, and was admitted to the UN. In 1992, Estonia got a new constitution and introduced its own currency, the kroon. Author Lennart Meri was elected president of parliament, while Mart Laar of the Fatherland Union formed a center-right coalition government.

Estonia became a member of the Council of Europe in 1993 and joined NATO's Partnership for Peace " in February 1994; the same year in August, the Russian troops left the country. After the parliamentary elections in 1995, the National Coalition Party's Tiit Vähi (b. 1947) and his coalition government continued the previously adopted reform course with privatizations and adjustment to market economy. Efforts to gain membership of NATO and the EU continued, and in 1995 Estonia became an associate member of the EU.

In 1996, the Reform Party left the government, which continued as a minority government. That same year, President Meri was re-elected. In 1997, Tiit Vähi resigned as head of government due to allegations of corruption and was succeeded by his party colleague Mart Siimann (b. 1946). After the 1999 election, a center-right coalition government was formed with the Conservative Fatherland Union, the Liberal Reform Party and the Social Democrats under the leadership of the Conservative Mart Laar. In the 2001 presidential election, the governing parties could not agree on a common candidate, and the opposition unexpectedly won with veteran Arnold Rüütel.. This and disagreement between the governing parties at the local level led to Laar's resignation in early 2002. The Reform Party's Siim Kallas (b. 1948) then became the leader of a coalition government, dominated by the left-wing Center Party and supported by some Russian parties. All governments worked purposefully to gain membership of NATO and the EU. In a referendum in 2003, 67% voted for EU membership, and in the spring of 2004, Estonia became a member of both the EU and NATO. In April 2005, the country's 12th government since independence was formed; it consisted of the Reform Party, the People's Union and the Center Party with the chairman of the Reform Party, Andrus Ansip (b. 1956), as Prime Minister. It was his stated goal that Estonia should be an active member of the EU and NATO, and he set out to reduce inflation with a view to adopting the euro.in 2007. However, Estonia did not switch from the krone to the euro until 2011. Toomas Hendrik Ilves (b. 1953 in Sweden) won over incumbent President Arnold Rüütel in 2006; he was re-elected in 2011.

Of the former Soviet republics, Estonia has managed the economic transition best. However, relations with Russia and the Slavic-speaking minorities (29%) are problematic. After more than ten years of negotiations, Estonia and Russia signed a treaty on the common border in May 2005, which the Soviet Union had amended in 1944. When the Estonian Parliament ratified the treaty in June 2005, it extended the preamble.with a remark on the continuity between the Estonian Republic proclaimed in 1918 and with a reference to the Tartu Agreement of 1920. Therefore, Russia would not ratify the treaty, but revoke it and start the negotiations anew. This breach has meant that Estonia cannot join the Schengen cooperation, as it presupposes that the country has solved the border problems with its neighbors. Russia proposed new negotiations, but Estonia considered them superfluous. In 2007, a controversial Red Army memorial in Tallinn was moved; it led to extensive demonstrations by the Russian minority. In 2012, negotiations with Russia on a border treaty were resumed.

 

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