Governorate of Estonia

For the governorate from 1917–18, see Autonomous Governorate of Estonia.
Governorate of Estonia
Eestimaa kubermang
Province of Estonia
Governorate of the Russian Empire

Flag Coat of arms
Governorate of Estonia
{{#if:Reval| Capital Reval
  Established (de facto) 9 June 1719
  Established (de jure) 10 September 1721
  Renamed 1796
  Autonomy granted 12 April 1917
  (1897) 412,716 
Political subdivisions 5

The Governorate of Est(h)onia[1] (Estonian: Eestimaa kubermang) or Duchy of Estonia, also known as the Government of Estonia, was a governorate of the Russian Empire in what is now northern Estonia. The Governorate was gained by the Russian Empire from Sweden during the Great Northern War in 1721.[2][3] The Russian Tsars held the title Duke of Estonia (Russian: Князь Эстляндский, Knyaz' Estlyandskii), during the Russian era in English sometimes also referred to as Prince of Estonia.[4]

Until the late 19th century the governorate was administered independently by the local Baltic German nobility through a feudal Regional Council (German: Landtag).[5]

Historical overview

Initially named the Reval Governorate after the city of Reval, today known as Tallinn, it was created in 1719 out of territories conquered from Sweden in the Great Northern War. The former dominion of Swedish Estonia was formally ceded to Russia in the Treaty of Nystad in 1721. During subsequent administrative reordering, the governorate was renamed in 1796 into the Governorate of Estonia. While the rule of the Swedish kings had been fairly liberal with greater autonomy granted for the peasantry, the regime was tightened under the Russian tsars and serfdom was not abolished until 1819.

The governorate consisted the northern part of the present-day Estonia approximately corresponding to Harjumaa including the city of Tallinn, Western Virumaa, Eastern Virumaa, Raplamaa, Järvamaa, Läänemaa and Hiiumaa. After the Russian February Revolution on 12 April [O.S. 30 March] 1917) it was expanded to include northern Livonia, thereby forming the Autonomous Governorate of Estonia. Tallinn remained under Soviet control until 24 February 1918, when German troops occupied Estonia and Estonian independence was declared.


The governorate was subdivided into four Kreises (uyezds).[6]

Leaders of the Governorate


Language number percentage (%) males females
Estonian 365,959 88.67 176,972 188,987
Russian 20,439 4.95 12,441 7,998
German 16,037 3.88 6,991 9,046
Swedish 5,768 1.39 2,725 3,043
Yiddish 1,269 0.3 852 417
Polish 1,237 0.29 921 316
Did not name
their native language
15 >0.01 8 7
Other[8] 1,992 0.48 1,499 493
Total 412,716 100 202,409 210,307
Livonian Confederation Terra Mariana Estonian SSR Duchy of Livonia (1721–1917) Duchy of Livonia (1629–1721) Duchy of Livonia (1561–1621) Duchy of Estonia (1721–1917) Duchy of Estonia (1561–1721) Danish Estonia Danish Estonia Estonia Ancient Estonia History of Estonia

See also


  1. The Baltic States from 1914 to 1923 By LtCol Andrew Parrott
  2. Juan Pan-Montojo; Frederik Pedersen, eds. (2007). Communities in European History: Representations, Jurisdictions, Conflicts. Edizioni Plus. p. 227. ISBN 9788884924629.
  3. Bojtár, Endre (1999). Foreword to the Past. Central European University Press. ISBN 978-963-9116-42-9.
  4. Ferro, Marc; Brian Pearce (1995). Nicholas II. Oxford University Press US. ISBN 978-0-19-509382-7.
  5. Smith, David James (2005). The Baltic States and Their Region. Rodopi. ISBN 978-90-420-1666-8.
  6. Эстляндская губерния (in Russian). Руниверс. Retrieved 22 December 2013.
  7. Language Statistics of 1897 (Russian)
  8. Languages of which number of speakers in all Governorate were less than 1000

Further reading

Coordinates: 59°26′14″N 24°44′43″E / 59.43722°N 24.74528°E / 59.43722; 24.74528

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