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Timeline of Estonian history

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Title: Timeline of Estonian history  
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Subject: History of Estonia, Estonia under Swedish rule, LGBT history in Estonia, Healthcare in Estonia, Taxation in Estonia
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Timeline of Estonian history

This is a timeline of Estonian history, comprising important legal and territorial changes and political events in Estonia and its predecessor states. To read about the background to these events, see History of Estonia. See also the list of rulers of Estonia.

Centuries: 1st · 2nd · 3rd · 4th · 5th · 6th · 7th · 8th · 9th · 10th · 11th · 12th · 13th · 14th · 15th · 16th · 17th · 18th · 19th · 20th · 21st

1st century

Year Date Event
98 Roman historian Tacitus writes in the book Germania about aesti tribes.

2nd century

3rd century

4th century

5th century

6th century

Year Date Event
600 Vikings from Gotland sail to Hiiumaa (Dagö) island and build a fortification there.
King Ingvar of Sweden invades Estonia, but is killed. His son Anund avenges his father and raids the country.

7th century

8th century

Year Date Event
800 Estonians participate in the Battle of Brávellir on the side of the Swedes and against the Danes.

9th century

10th century

Year Date Event
967 Olav Tryggvason, the future King of Norway, is captured by Estonian pirates, and sold as a slave.
972 A battle between Estonian and Icelandic Vikings in Saaremaa.

11th century

Year Date Event
1008 Olaf Haraldsson, the future King of Norway, wins a battle in Saaremaa.
1030 Prince Yaroslav I the Wise of Kiev conquers the Tarbatu stronghold and builds the Yuryev castle, marking the foundation of Tartu.
1032 A Novogorod fleet tries to reach Kolivan (modern Tallinn), but is defeated in a naval battle at the “iron gate” at Aegna island.
1061 Estonians destroy the Yuryev castle and carry out raids in the Pskov region.

12th century

Year Date Event
1113 Prince Mstislav of Kiev wins a battle against the Chuds (Estonians or people related to Estonians).
1116 Prince Mstislav of Kiev, aided by Pskov and Novgorod, makes a raid against the Chuds and conquers the Otepää stronghold.
1132 Prince Vsevolod of Novgorod is defeated by Estonians of Vaiga county.
1134 Prince Vsevold of Novgorod fights against the Chuds and briefly captures the fortification of Tartu (Yuryev).
1154 Arab geographer Al Idrisi mentions Estonian places, also marking the foundation of Tallinn.
1165 The Benedictine bishop Fulco is named Bishop of the Estonians by the Archbishop of Lund.
1170 Valdemar I of Denmark fights with Curonian and Estonian pirates near Öland island.
1171 Bishop Fulco makes a missionary journey to Estonia.
1177 Estonians attack and burn Pskov during winter.
1187 Estonians and Karelians ravage the Mälaren area in Sweden, burn down the town of Sigtuna, and kill the archbishop.
1191 Cistercian monk Theoderich, future Bishop of Estonia, makes an unsuccessful missionary journey to Estonia.
1192 Prince Yaroslav Vladimirovich of Novgorod makes two raids against Estonians, burning down the Tartu and Otepää strongholds.
1193 Pope Celestine III calls for a crusade against pagans in Northern Europe.
1200 Bishop Albert and his crusaders capture Riga in Latvia.

13th century

Year Date Event
1202 The crusader Livonian Brothers of the Sword are founded.
1203 Saaremaa islanders ravage areas of Southern Sweden, then belonging to Denmark. The returning pirates skirmish with the German settlers of Riga near the town of Visby in Gotland.
1206 Valdemar II of Denmark builds a fortress in Saaremaa, but burns it down after finding no volunteers to man it.
1207 The Terra Mariana ("Land of St Mary) is established as the political unit of crusaders in Livonia.
1208 Sword Brothers, Letts and Livs invade Sakala and Ugandi in Southern Estonia, starting the Estonian Ancient Fight for Freedom (1208-1227).
1210 Estonians besiege the Cēsis stronghold in Latvia.
Estonians defeat the Sword Brothers and Livs in the Battle of Ümera in Latvia.
Pskov and Novgorod troops besiege the Otepää stronghold.
1211 Pskov troops raid Western Estonia.
Summer Estonians are defeated by Sword Brothers in the Battle of Turaida in Latvia.
Sword Brothers are defeated by Estonians in the Battle of Viljandi.
Estonians raid crusader areas in Latvia.
1212 Russian troops besiege the Varbola Stronghold.
Troops from Sakala, led by Lembitu of Lehola, burn Pskov.
1213 Lithuanians raid the Sakala area.
1215 Sword Brothers defeat Estonians in the Battle of Lehola.
Troops from Saaremaa besiege Riga.
Troops from Sakala raid crusader areas in Latvia.
1216 Pskov troops capture the Otepää stronghold.
1217 February Sword Brothers are defeated by Estonians and Russians in the Battle of Otepää.
21 September Sword Brothers, Latgalians and Livs defeat Estonians in the Battle of St. Matthew's Day, where the Estonian leader Lembitu of Lehola is killed.
1219 15 June Valdemar II of Denmark conquers Tallinn in the Battle of Lyndanisse and builds the Toompea Castle.
1220 8 August John I of Sweden invades Läänemaa, but is defeated by troops from Saaremaa in the Battle of Lihula.
1221 Estonians besiege Tallinn.
1222 The invading Danish troops are defeated by Estonians in Saaremaa.
1223 29 January Estonians defeat the Sword Brothers in the Battle of Viljandi and the entire Southern Estonia is liberated.
Estonians are defeated by Sword Brothers in Ümera, Latvia.
Pskov and Novgorod troops raid most of mainland Estonia.
1224 15 August Sword Brothers capture the Tartu stronghold from joint Estonian and Russian troops - mainland Estonia falls to the crusaders.
The Bishopric of Dorpat is established in Southeastern Estonia.
1227 January Sword Brothers conquer the last pagan stronghold in Saaremaa.
1227 Sword Brothers conquer Northern Estonia from Denmark.
1228 1 October The Bishopric of Ösel–Wiek is established in Western Estonia.
1234 Pskov and Novgorod troops invade the Bishopric of Dorpat, that is forced to pay tribute for four years.
De Lode brothers in Kullamaa Parish refuse to recognize the new Bishop of Ösel-Wiek.
1236 22 September Sword Brothers are defeated by Samogitians in the Battle of Saule. Saaremaa islanders rebel against German rule.
1237 Livonian Brothers of the Sword merge into the Teutonic Order and become known as the Livonian Order, autonomous of the Teutonic Order State.
1238 The Livonian Order helps restore the power of the Bishop of Ösel Wiek in Kullamaa Parish.
1242 5 April The Livonian Order and Estonians are defeated by Novgorod in the Battle of the Ice.
1268 18 February Pskov and Novgorod defeat the Livonian Order in the Battle of Rakvere, ending the Order's attempts to invade Russia.
1270 16 February Lithuanians defeat the Livonian Order in the Battle of Karuse.
1285 Tallinn becomes a member of the Hanseatic League.
1298 A border war between the Livonian Order and the Bishopric of Ösel-Wiek.

14th century

Year Date Event
1343 Valdemar IV of Denmark sells Northern Estonia to the Teutonic Order.
1347 The Teutonic Order gives Northern Estonia to Livonian Order.

15th century

Year Date Event
1419 The Livonian Diet is formed to solve internal disputes in Livonia.
1435 The Livonian Confederation is established to solve internal disputes in Livonia.
1440 The Livonian Order becomes self-governing from the Teutonic Order.
1459 The Livonian Order takes its territories in Estonia under its self-government.

16th century

Year Date Event
1525 The Teutonic Order is secularized and the Livonian Order becomes de facto independent.
1558 Russian forces invade Eastern Estonia, starting the Livonian War.
The Bishopric of Dorpat and several bailiwicks of the Livonian Order in Eastern Estonia surrender to Russian forces.
Tartu surrendered to Russian troops in the Livonian War
1559 The Bishop of Ösel-Wiek sells his bishopric to King Frederick II of Denmark, who gives the land to his brother Duke Magnus of Holstein. Lutheranism prevails in Western Estonia.
1560 Duke Magnus of Holstein takes power in the Bishopric of Ösel-Wiek.
Russian troops defeat the Livonian Order in the Battle of Härgmäe.
Russian troops capture Central Estonia from the Livonian Order.
Ivan the Terrible decimated the Livonian Order in the Battle of Ergeme.
1561 The Commandery of Tallinn and the nobility of other North Estonian bailiwicks of the Livonian Order swear allegiance to Sweden.
The Treaty of Vilnius gives lands of the Livonian Order in Southern Estonia and Northern Latvia to the Grand Duchy of Lithuania as the Duchy of Livonia.
6 June The city council of Reval surrendered to Sweden.
1562 The Livonian Order is dissolved.
The Bailiwick of Maasilinna of the former Livonian Order in Saaremaa and Hiiumaa refuses to recognize Lithuanian power.
1564 The Bailiwick of Maasilinna gives itself under Danish rule.
1573 1 January The Russians occupied Pärnu (Pernau) in Western Estonia and the fortress of Weissenstein (Paide).
1578 Balthasar Russow publishes his cronicles about the Livonian War.
1581 6 September A mercenary army of Sweden under Pontus de la Gardie captured Narva from Russia.
1582 By the armistice of Jam Zapolski, Dorpat together with Southern Estonia was incorporated into the state of Poland-Lithuania.

17th century

Year Date Event
1625 Swedish commander Jacob De la Gardie took Dorpat (Tartu) and Southern Estonia from Poland
1632 Foundation of the University of Tartu under Swedish king Gustavus Adolphus.
1645 13 August Saaremaa (Ösel) island was ceded from Denmark to Sweden by the Treaty of Brömsebro.
1700 20 November Battle at Narva, where the Swedish army under King Charles XII defeats the Russian army.

18th century

Year Date Event
1704 Russian troops under czar Peter the Great captured Dorpat (Tartu) in the Great Northern War.
1708 Fearful of Swedish attack, Russians burned down the city of Tartu.
1710 Whole Estonia was included in Russian empire.
1721 30 August Estonia was formally ceded by Sweden to Russia by the Treaty of Nystad.

19th century

20th century

Year Date Event
1918 24 February Estonian Declaration of Independence
3 March Treaty of Brest-Litovsk. Bolshevist Russia cedes sovereignty over Estonia to Germany.
11 November Germans began withdrawal and turn over power to the provisional government of Estonia (headed by Konstantin Päts).
22 November Estonia was invaded by Bolshevist Russian forces. Beginning of Estonian War of Independence.
1919 Bolsheviks were driven out of Estonia.
10 October Agrarian Law passed redistributing many of the estates owned by Baltic Germans and Estonian landowners.
1920 2 February Treaty of Tartu which gave Estonia recognition by Soviet Russia.
15 June Adoption of Constitution.
1922 22 September Estonia joined the League of Nations.
1933 14 October Plebiscite in favour of constitutional reform giving wide powers to a new office of the president. (to 16 October)
1934 24 January New constitution in effect.
12 March Konstantin Päts with the help of General Johan Laidoner set up a virtual dictatorship. Parliament was prorogued and political parties were banned. Many members of the Vaps Movement were arrested.
1937 29 July A new constitution in force with civil liberties and democracy restored but with a very strong presidency.
1938 Kaarel Eenpalu became prime minister of Estonia.
24 February Election sees National Front winning 63 seats and all the opposition winning 17 seats.
24 April Konstantin Päts elected president.
1939 Jüri Uluots becomes prime minister of Estonia.
23 August The Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact was signed, promising mutual non-aggression between Germany and the Soviet Union and agreeing to a division of much of Europe between those two countries.
1940 17 June The Red Army occupied Estonia and Latvia.
6 August Estonia was unlawfully declared the Estonian SSR and was, against the law, incorporated into the Soviet Union.
1941 German troops took with help of the Forest Brothers Estonia over from the Soviets.
14 June Mass deportations by Soviet Union authorities take place in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.
22 June Germany attacked Soviet Union, Estonian partisans (Forest Brothers) started revolting in Southern Estonia.
28 August Sinking of an Soviet steamer with 3500 Soviet-mobilized Estonian men on board, 598 of them died.
1 December Self-government of Estonia, headed by Hjalmar Mäe, is appointed by German military administration.
1944 Otto Tief was captured by Soviet forces; Jüri Uluots and members of the Tief government escaped to Sweden.
30 January Battle of Narva: The first Soviet units crossed Estonian border.
24 February Battle of Narva: Estonian volunteers launched a counterattack at Narva river.
6 March World War II: Soviet Army planes attack Narva in Estonia, destroying almost the entire old town.
9 March World War II: Soviet Army planes attack Tallinn, Estonia.
26 July Battle of Narva: The Soviets captured Narva.
29 July Battle of Tannenberg Line: The Estonian and German counterattack stopped Soviet advance towards Tallinn.
26 August The Soviets captured most of Tartu, what became frontline city for almost a month.
18 September Jüri Uluots, prime minister in capacity of president of Estonia, asks Otto Tief to form a government on the eve of the withdrawal of German forces; official gazette published proclaiming the Tief government.
20 September Tallinn against the arrival of the Red Army two days later.
22 September The Soviets captured Tallinn.
19 December The entire territory of Estonia was captured by the Red Army.
1949 25 March An extensive deportation campaign was conducted in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. The Soviet authorities deported more than 92,000 people from the Baltics to remote areas of the Soviet Union.
1955 19 July Estonian Television (ETV) began broadcasting.
1978 28 September One of the last Forest Brother guerilla movement fighter August Sabbe was discovered and killed in Estonia.
1980 Youth riots in the capital of the Soviet Republic of Estonia were quickly forced down.
1988 In Estonia, 300,000 demonstrated for independence.
Estonian became the official language of Estonia.
16 November The Supreme Soviet of the Estonian SSR declared that Estonia is "sovereign" but stopped short of declaring independence.
1989 After 44 years, the Estonian flag was raised on the Pikk Hermann castle tower.
Two million indigenous people of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, then still occupied by the Soviet Union, joined hands to demand freedom and independence, forming an uninterrupted 600 km human chain called the Baltic Way.
1991 Latvia and Estonia voted for independence from the Soviet Union.
The United States recognized the independence of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.
20 August The Supreme Soviet of the Estonian SSR recognized Estonian independence from the Soviet Union.
6 September The Soviet Union recognized the independence of the Baltic States.
1992 Estonia held a referendum on its constitution.
Heinrich Mark and the government in exile appointed by him cede their credentials to the newly elected Riigikogu.
Lennart Meri was elected President of Estonia.
20 June The Soviet ruble was replaced with kroon.
1994 The Russian army left Estonia.
28 September The car ferry MS Estonia sank in the Baltic Sea, killing 852.

21st century

Year Date Event
2001 68 people died in Estonia after drinking bootleg alcohol that contained methanol.
2002 Estonia hosted the first Eurovision Song Contest in a former Soviet republic.
Prague: Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia were invited to join NATO.
2003 Estonia approved joining the European Union in a referendum with 66% agreed with joining and 34% were against it.
2004 29 March The largest expansion of the Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia into the organization.
1 May The largest expansion to date of the European Union took place, extending the Union by 10 member-states: Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, Hungary, Malta and Cyprus.
2005 The same storm which pounded the U.S. earlier in the month hit England, Scandinavia and the Baltic States, leaving 13 dead with widespread flooding and power cuts.
A passenger helicopter en route to Helsinki, Finland crashed into the sea near Tallinn, Estonia, killing 14.
2006 Toomas Hendrik Ilves was elected President of Estonia.
2007 27 April Russians riot in Tallinn, Estonia, about moving the Bronze Soldier. Two nights of rioting left one dead. Cyber attacks launched against Estonia.

See also


  • Miljan, Toivo (2004). Historical dictionary of Estonia. Scarecrow Press.  
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