Estonians (Estonian: eestlased) are a Finnic ethnic group that mainly
Estonia and speak Estonian language.
1.1 Prehistoric roots
1.2 National consciousness
Estonians in Canada
3 See also
4 Notes and references
5 Further reading
6 External links
Estonia was first inhabited about 10,000 years ago, just after the
Baltic ice lake
Baltic ice lake had retreated from Estonia. While it is not certain
what languages were spoken by the first settlers, it is often
maintained that speakers of early
Uralic languages related to modern
Estonian had arrived in what is now
Estonia by about 5,000 years
ago. Living in the same area for more than 5,000 years would put
the ancestors of
Estonians among the oldest permanent inhabitants in
Europe. On the other hand, some recent linguistic estimations
suggest that Fenno-Ugrian language arrived around the Baltic Sea
considerably later, perhaps during the
Early Bronze Age
Early Bronze Age (ca. 1800
The oldest known endonym of the
Estonians is Maarahvas. Eesti, the
modern endonym of Estonia, is thought to be derived from the word
Aestii, the name given by the ancient
Germanic people to the Baltic
people living northeast of the Vistula River. The Roman historian
Tacitus in 98 AD was the first to mention the "Aestii" people, and
early Scandinavians called the land south of the Gulf of Finland
"Eistland" ("Eistland" is also the current word in Icelandic for
Estonia), and the people "eistr". Proto-
Estonians (as well as other
speakers of the
Finnish language group) were also called Chuds
(чудь) in Old East Slavic chronicles.
Estonian language belongs to the Finnic branch of the Uralic
family of languages, as does the Finnish language. The first known
book in Estonian was printed in 1525, while the oldest known examples
of written Estonian originate in 13th-century chronicles.
Although Estonian national consciousness spread in the course of the
19th century during the Estonian national awakening, some degree
of ethnic awareness preceded this development. By the 18th century
the self-denomination eestlane spread among
Estonians along with the
older maarahvas. Anton thor Helle's translation of the Bible into
Estonian appeared in 1739, and the number of books and brochures
published in Estonian increased from 18 in the 1750s to 54 in the
1790s. By the end of the century more than a half of adult peasants
could read. The first university-educated intellectuals identifying
themselves as Estonians, including Friedrich Robert Faehlmann
Kristjan Jaak Peterson
Kristjan Jaak Peterson (1801–1822) and Friedrich
Reinhold Kreutzwald (1803–1882), appeared in the 1820s. The ruling
elites had remained predominantly German in language and culture since
the conquest of the early 13th century.
Garlieb Merkel (1769–1850),
a Baltic-German Estophile, became the first author to treat the
Estonians as a nationality equal to others; he became a source of
inspiration for the Estonian national movement, modelled on Baltic
German cultural world before the middle of the 19th century. However,
in the middle of the century, the
Estonians became more ambitious and
started leaning toward the
Finns as a successful model of national
movement and, to some extent, toward the neighbouring Latvian national
movement. By the end of 1860 the
Estonians became unwilling to
reconcile with German cultural and political hegemony. Before the
Russification in the 1880s, their view of Imperial Russia
Estonians have strong ties to the
Nordic countries stemming from
important cultural and religious influences gained over centuries
during Scandinavian and German rule and settlement. Indeed,
Estonians consider themselves Nordic rather than Baltic, in
particular because of close ethnic and linguistic affinities with the
After the Treaty of Tartu (1920) recognised Estonia's 1918
independence from Russia, ethnic
Estonians residing in
the option of opting for Estonian citizenship (those who opted were
called optandid - 'optants') and returning to their fatherland. An
Estonians lived in
Russia in 1920. In sum, 37,578
people moved from Soviet
Estonia (1920–1923).[not in
Estonian national costumes:
Kadrina 2. Mihkli 3. Seto 4. Paistu
Estonian national costumes:
Muhu 6. Karja 7. Tõstamaa 8. Pärnu-Jaagupi
During World War II, when
Estonia was invaded by the Soviet Army in
1944, large numbers of
Estonians fled their homeland on ships or
smaller boats over the Baltic Sea. Many refugees who survived the
risky sea voyage to
Germany later moved from there to
Canada, the United Kingdom, the
United States or Australia. Some
of these refugees and their descendants returned to
Estonia after the
nation regained its independence in 1991.
Over the years of independence, increasing numbers of
chosen to work abroad, primarily in Finland, but also in other
European countries (mostly in the UK, Benelux, Sweden, and Germany),
Estonia the country with the highest emigration rate in
Europe. This is at least partly due to the easy access to
oscillating migration to Finland.
Recognising the problems arising from both low birth rate and high
emigration, the country has launched various measures to both increase
the birth rate and to lure migrant
Estonians back to Estonia. Former
Toomas Hendrik Ilves
Toomas Hendrik Ilves has lent his support to the campaign
Talendid koju! (Bringing talents home) which aims to coordinate
and promote the return of
Estonians who have particular skills needed
Estonians in Canada
The largest permanent Estonian community outside
Estonia is in Canada
with about 24,000 people (according to some sources up to 50,000
people). In the late 1940s and early 1950s, about 17,000 arrived
Toronto is the city with the largest population of
Estonians outside of Estonia. The first Estonian World Festival was
Toronto in 1972. Some famous
Estonian Canadians include Endel
Tulving, Elmar Tampõld,
Uno Prii and Andreas Vaikla.
Demographics of Estonia
Estonian national awakening
List of Estonian Americans
List of notable Estonians
Notes and references
Finland does not record ethnicity rather categorizes the
population by their native language; in 2016, Estonian was spoken as a
mother tongue by 49,241 not all of which may be ethnic Estonians.
^ "Population by ethnic nationality". Statistics Estonia. Retrieved 30
^ "Tilastokeskus - Population". Retrieved 4 May 2015.
^ "Total ancestry categories tallied for people with one or more
ancestry categories reported 2013 American Community Survey 1-Year
United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2 September
^ "Eestlased Rootsis".
^ a b "Canada-
Estonia Relations". Retrieved 17 March 2015.
^ Об итогах Всероссийской переписи
населения 2010 года [On the results of the All-Russian
census in 2010] (in Russian). Russian Federal State Statistics
Service. Archived from the original (PPT) on 18 January 2012.
Retrieved 17 March 2015.
^ "2054.0 Australian Census Analytic Program: Australians' Ancestries
(2001 (Corrigendum))" (PDF). Australian Bureau of Statistics. 2001.
Retrieved 17 September 2011.
^ "Pressemitteilungen - Ausländische Bevölkerung - Statistisches
Bundesamt (Destatis)". www.destatis.de.
^ "Immigrants and Norwegian-born to immigrant parents, 1 January
2016". Statistics Norway. Accessed 01 May 2016.
^ "United Kingdom". Ethnologue. Retrieved 12 May 2016.
^ "The distribution of the population by nationality and mother
tongue". State Statistics Committee of Ukraine. 2001. Archived from
the original on 5 December 2008.
^ "Persons usually resident and present in the State on Census Night,
classified by place of birth and age group". Central Statistics Office
Ireland. Archived from the original on 6 August 2011.
^ "Estemb in
Belgium and Luxembourg". Retrieved 17 March 2015.
^ [dead link]
^ "Statistikbanken". www.statistikbanken.dk.
^ Official CBS website containing all Dutch demographic statistics.
Cbs.nl. Retrieved on 4 July 2017.
^ "Dialog". rannsokn.hagstofa.is.
^ Ivković, Sanja Kutnjak; Haberfeld, M.R. (10 June 2015). Measuring
Police Integrity Across the World: Studies from Established
Democracies and Countries in Transition. Springer. p. 131.
Estonia is considered Protestant when
classified by its historically predominant major religion (Norris and
Inglehart 2011) and thus some authors (e.g., Davie 2003) claim Estonia
belongs to Western (Lutheran) Europe, while others (e.g., Norris and
Inglehart 2011) see
Estonia as a Protestant ex-Communist
^ Ringvee, Ringo (16 September 2011). "Is
Estonia really the least
religious country in the world?". The Guardian. For this situation
there are several reasons, starting from the distant past (the close
connection of the churches with the Swedish or German ruling classes)
up to the Soviet-period atheist policy when the chain of religious
traditions was broken in most families. In Estonia, religion has never
played an important role on the political or ideological battlefield.
The institutional religious life was dominated by foreigners until the
early 20th century. The tendencies that prevailed in the late 1930s
for closer relations between the state and Lutheran church [...] ended
with the Soviet occupation in 1940. Missing or empty url=
(help); access-date= requires url= (help)
^ Virpi Laitinena; et al. (2002). "Y-Chromosomal Diversity Suggests
that Baltic Males Share Common Finno-Ugric-Speaking Forefathers"
(PDF). Human Heredity. pp. 68–78.
^ Unrepresented Nations and peoples organization By Mary Kate Simmons;
p141 ISBN 978-90-411-0223-2
^ Petri Kallio 2006: Suomalais-ugrilaisen kantakielen absoluuttisesta
kronologiasta. — Virittäjä 2006. (With English summary).
^ Häkkinen, Jaakko (2009). "Kantauralin ajoitus ja paikannus:
perustelut puntarissa. – Suomalais-Ugrilaisen Seuran Aikakauskirja"
(PDF). p. 92.
^ a b Ariste, Paul (1956). "Maakeel ja eesti keel. Eesti NSV Teaduste
Akadeemia Toimetised 5: 117–24; Beyer, Jürgen (2007). Ist maarahvas
(‚Landvolk'), die alte Selbstbezeichnung der Esten, eine
Lehnübersetzung? Eine Studie zur Begriffsgeschichte des Ostseeraums".
Zeitschrift für Ostmitteleuropa-Forschung. 56: 566–593.
^ Gellner, Ernest (1996). "Do nations have navels?". Nations and
Nationalism. 2 (2): 365–70.
^ a b Raun, Toivo U (2003). "Nineteenth- and early twentieth-century
Estonian nationalism revisited". Nations and Nationalism. 9 (1):
^ Piirimäe, Helmut. Historical heritage: the relations between
Estonia and her Nordic neighbors. In M. Lauristin et al. (eds.),
Return to the Western world: Cultural and political perspectives on
the Estonian post-communist transition. Tartu: Tartu University Press,
^ Estonian foreign ministry report Archived 25 March 2009 at the
Wayback Machine., 2004
^ Estonian foreign ministry report Archived 7 March 2008 at the
Wayback Machine., 2002
^ Лоткин И.В. "Оптационная кампания и
эвакуация граждан прибалтийских
государств на историческую родину в
начале 1920-х годов" (PDF). library.krasu.ru (in Russian).
Archived from the original (PDF) on 2006-10-10.
^ Past, E. (2015). By Land and By Sea. booklocker.com.
^ "The CIA World Factbook Country Comparison of net migration rate".
^ "Toome talendid Eestimaale tagasi - Talendid Koju!".
^ "Estonian Embassy in Ottawa". Retrieved 17 March 2015.
^ "The Estonian Presence in Toronto". Archived from the original on 12
March 2012. Retrieved 17 March 2015.
Petersoo, Pille (January 2007). "Reconsidering otherness: constructing
Estonian identity". Nations and Nationalism. 13 (1): 117–133.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to People of Estonia.
Office of the Minister for Population and Ethnic Affairs: Estonians
Estonia To Thirlmere (online exhibition)
Our New Home Meie Uus Kodu: Estonian-Australian Stories (online
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list of wars
Great Northern War
Age of Awakening
Declaration of Independence
War of Independence
Era of Silence
Occupation of Estonia
World War II
Government in exile
Declaration of sovereignty
Restoration of independence
Coat of arms
Uralic peoples speaking Uralic languages