Autonomous Governorate of Estonia
|Governorate of Estonia
Estonian: Autonoomne Eestimaa Kubermang
|Autonomous entity of the Russian Republic|
|Legislature||Estonian Provincial Assembly|
|•||Local autonomy||12 April 1917|
|•||Sovereignty declared||28 November 1917|
|•||Independence declared||24 February 1918|
For the duration of control by Imperial Russia, Estonia was divided between two governorates (guberniyas). The Governorate of Estonia in the north corresponded roughly to the area of Danish Estonia and the northern portion of Governorate of Livonia that had a majority of ethnic Estonians. These two areas were amalgamated on 12 April [O.S. 30 March] 1917) by administrative reforms of the Russian Provisional Government.
Elections for a provisional parliament, Maapäev was organized, with the Menshevik and Bolshevik fractions of the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party taking a share of the vote. On 5 November 1917, two days before the October Revolution in Saint Petersburg, Estonian Bolshevik leader Jaan Anvelt led his leftist gang in an anti-democratic coup in Tallinn, attempting to usurp political power in governorate from governor Jaan Poska on 9 November. On 28 November [O.S. 15 November] 1917 the Maapäev, refusing to recognize the attempted Bolshevik coup d'état, proclaimed itself to be the only legally elected and constituted authority in Estonia. However it was soon driven underground by the Bolsheviks.
In February, after the collapse of the peace talks between Soviet Russia and the German Empire, mainland Estonia was occupied by the Germans. Bolshevik forces retreated to Russia. On 23 February 1918, one day before German forces entered Tallinn, the Salvation Committee of the Estonian National Council Maapäev emerged from underground and issued the Estonian Declaration of Independence. Although it took nearly 9 months for Estonia to be liberated from German occupation, the day after that date is still celebrated as Estonia's independence day.
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