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The Republic of Estonia, also called Estonia, is situated in the Baltic region of northern Europe surrounded by the Gulf of Finland to the north, the Baltic Sea to the west, the country of Latvia to the south, and Russia and Lake Peipus to the west. The official language is Estonian.

In 1199, Pope Innocent III declared a crusade to "defend the Christians of Livonia." The fighting from that crusade finally reached Estonia in 1206 when Denmark's Kin Valdemar II invaded Saaremaa with no success at all. The Livonian Brothers of the Sword, a Catholic military order, had already defeated the Livonians, the Selonians, and the Latgalians and began their campaign against Estonians in 1208 and the next few years were a series of raids and counter-raids. In 1219, Valdemar II defeated the Estonians and began conquering Northern Estonia. In 1220, Sweden invaded Western Estonia, only to be repelled by the Oeselians. In 1223, a huge revolt repelled the Danes and the Germans from Estonia, with the exception of Reval. The crusaders, however, soon resumed their offense, and in 1227 Saaremaa was the final Estonian locale to surrender.

Estonia and Latvia were bundled together and renamed Terra Marina, and later it was called Livonia. Northern Estonia became the Danish Duchy of Estonia, and the rest was divvied up by the Brothers of the Sword and the Prince-bishoprics of Dorpat. For decades after this, the uprisings against foreign rulers continued.

In 1343, St. George's Night Uprising took place, involving the entire North-Estionia and Saaremaa, and in 1346, the King of Denmark sold his Estonian possessions to the former Teutonic Order, which was renamed Livonia Order.

For centuries, Estonia was ruled by German, Danish, Swedish, and then Russians, but in the late 18th century, Estonia underwent a national awakening, ending in independence from the Russian Empire. During this time, they acknowledged themselves and their country as a people and a nation which deserved the right to self-governance. A movement to use the Estonian language in schools popped up, Estonian music festivals were he'd frequently after 1869, and Estonian literature developed.

The 1905 Russian Revolution reached Estonia, and Estonians demanded freedom of the press and freedom of assembly as some steps toward national autonomy. They made precious few gains, but things were stable if tense through 1917, allowing the Estonians to advance the desire of national statehood.The awakening brought about the commoners being granted greater rights, and it ended in 1918 with the declaration of the Republic of Estonia.

Estonia had twenty-one different governments between 1920 and 1934. In 1939, the USSR began patrols over Tallinn and demanding that Estonia agree to allow Russian military bases on their soil and that they allow 25,000 to be stationed on those bases. Estonia's government acquiesced and signed the agreement in September. On June 12, 1940, Estonia was occupied by the USSR, and days later, Moscow ordered a full military blockade of Estonia. On June 16, 1940, the Soviet Union invaded Estonia, and Vyacheslav Molotov accused the Baltic states of conspiring against the USSR. He gave Estonia yet another ultimatum, this one demanding the establishment of a government of which the Soviets approved. The Estonian government weighed the overwhelming force of the Red Army and decided to avoid bloodshed and outright war, and so they voted not to resist.

During the first year of the occupation by the USSR, more than 8,000 people, including all of the former Estonia's military and leading politicians were arrested. More than 2,000 of them were executed in Estonia, and the others were moved to Gulags in Russia, and very few of them ever returned.

One year later, in June of 1941, the Wehrmacht entered Estonia, and the Estonians greeted them warmly and with open arms, hoping to restore their independence. Soon, they realized that the Nazis were not about to do such a thing. Estonia was then occupied by Germany. In 1944, it became cloear that the Allies were about to defeat Nazi Germany, and Estonia realized that if they ever wanted their sovereignty and independence back they would have to hold off a new invasion of the Soviet Union. On September 18, 1944, the Germans began to retreat, and as that was happening, the last Prime Minister of the Estonian Republic before the Soviet occupation assumed the responsibilities of president, as their constitution dictated. He appointed a new government while he was trying to get recognition of the Allies. The last of the German troops left Estonia on September 22, and the Soviet Red Army re-occupied the country. The new Estonian government fled to Stockholm, Sweden, and remained a government in exile there until 1992, after Estonia's independence was restored.

 

 

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