Governorate of Estonia

The Governorate of Estonia[1] (also Esthonia;[2] German: Est(h)ländisches Gouvernement; Russian: Эстля́ндская губе́рния, romanized: Èstljándskajá gybérnijá; Estonian: Eestimaa kubermang) was a governorate of the Russian Empire in what is now northern Estonia. It bordered the Livonian Governorate to the south.

Governorate of Estonia
Est(h)ländisches Gouvernement
Эстля́ндская губе́рния
Eestimaa kubermang
Governorate of the Russian Empire

Governorate of Estonia
CapitalReval (present-day Tallinn)
 Established (de facto)
9 June 1719
 Established (de jure)
10 September 1721
 Autonomy granted
12 April 1917
Political subdivisions5
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Swedish Estonia
Autonomous Governorate of Estonia
Today part of Estonia

The Governorate was gained by the Russian Empire from Sweden during the Great Northern War in 1721.[3][4] The Russian Tsars held the title Duke of Estonia (Russian: Князь Эстляндский, Knjaz' Èstljandskij), during the Imperial Russian era in English sometimes also referred to as Prince of Estonia.[5]

Until the late 19th century the governorate was administered independently by the local Baltic German nobility through a feudal Regional Council (German: Landtag).[6]


Initially named the Reval Governorate after the city of Reval (today known as Tallinn), the Governorate originated in 1719 from territories which Russia conquered from Sweden in the course of the Great Northern War of 1700-1721. Sweden formally ceded its former dominion of Swedish Estonia to Russia in the Treaty of Nystad in 1721. During subsequent administrative reordering, the governorate was renamed in 1796 as the Governorate of Estonia. While the rule of the Swedish kings had been fairly liberal with greater autonomy granted for the peasantry, the regime 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:

After the Russian February Revolution, on 12 April [O.S. 30 March] 1917) the governorate expanded to include northern Livonia, thereby forming the Autonomous Governorate of Estonia which existed less than a year, until February 1918.


The governorate was subdivided into four Kreises (uyezds).[7]

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[9] 1,992 0.48 1,499 493
Total 412,716 100 202,409 210,307

See also

  • Administrative divisions of Russia in 1719-1725
  • History of Estonia – Part of Imperial Russia


  1. The Baltic States from 1914 to 1923 By LtCol Andrew Parrott. Archived 19 March 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  2. William Henry Beable (1919), "Governments or Provinces of the Former Russian Empire: Esthonia", Russian Gazetteer and Guide, London: Russian Outlook
  3. Juan Pan-Montojo; Frederik Pedersen, eds. (2007). Communities in European History: Representations, Jurisdictions, Conflicts. Edizioni Plus. p. 227. ISBN 9788884924629.
  4. Bojtár, Endre (1999). Foreword to the Past. Central European University Press. ISBN 978-963-9116-42-9.
  5. Ferro, Marc; Brian Pearce (1995). Nicholas II. Oxford University Press US. ISBN 978-0-19-509382-7.
  6. Smith, David James (2005). The Baltic States and Their Region. Rodopi. ISBN 978-90-420-1666-8.
  7. Эстляндская губерния (in Russian). Руниверс. Retrieved 22 December 2013.
  8. Language Statistics of 1897 (in Russian)
  9. Languages of which number of speakers in all Governorate were less than 1000

Further reading

  • Sergey Plescheef (1792). "Northern Region: Government of Revel". Survey of the Russian Empire. Translated by James Smirnove (3rd ed.). London: J. Debrett via Hathi Trust.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)

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