Autonomous Governorate of Estonia

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Governorate of Estonia
Estonian: Autonoomne Eestimaa kubermang
Autonomous entity of the Russian Republic
CapitalReval (Tallinn)
 • TypeAutonomous governorate
• 1917
Jaan Poska
LegislatureEstonian Provincial Assembly
• Local autonomy
12 April 1917
• Sovereignty declared
28 November 1917
• Narva (including Ivangorod) added to the governorate
3 January 1918
24 February 1918
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Governorate of Estonia
Governorate of Livonia
Today part ofEstonia

The Autonomous Governorate of Estonia[a] of the Russian state was established as a result of the Russian Revolution of 1917 and ceased to exist prior to Estonia becoming a fully independent country in 1918.


For most of the time during the rule of Russian Empire 1710–1917, the area of what is now Estonia was divided between two governorates. The Governorate of Estonia in the north corresponded roughly to the area of Danish Estonia, and the northern portion of the Governorate of Livonia, which 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.

Free multi-party elections for the Provincial Assembly (Maapäev) were held in May–June 1917. On 5 November 1917, two days before the Bolshevik coup in Petrograd (Saint Petersburg), local Bolsheviks led by Jaan Anvelt and supported by pro-Soviet Russian soldiers and sailors declared themselves the new government in Tallinn (Reval), and attempted to usurp political power in the 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.

During the reign of the Soviet Estonian Executive Committee, Ants Dauman, the newly elected mayor of Narva, organized a plebiscite with an intention of removing the town of Narva (including the then suburb of Ivangorod) from the Petrograd Governorate and adding them to the new autonomous governorate, receiving permission for the referendum on 29 November [O.S. 16 November] 1917 from the All-Russian Central Executive Committee. As 80% of the town's population supported joining Estonia in the 23 December [O.S. 10 December] 1917 plebiscite, the Soviet Estonian Executive Committee recognized the new additions to the governorate on 3 January [O.S. 21 December] 1918. Even though the plebiscite was to determine the administrative boundaries within Soviet Russia and it was organised by the Bolshevik regime, the subsequent governments of independent Estonia implicitly acknowledged the referendum's result, as the entire town of Narva (including the suburb of Ivangorod) became part of the territory of the newly independent Republic of Estonia from 1918 onward.

In February 1918, after the collapse of the peace talks between Soviet Russia and the German Empire, mainland Estonia was occupied by the German Empire's armed forces. On 24 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. After the German capitulation had ended World War I, on 11-14 November 1918, the representatives of Germany in Estonia handed over all power to the government of the newly independent Republic of Estonia.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Estonian: Eestimaa kubermang, German: Gouvernement Estland, Russian: Эстляндская губерния, romanizedEstlyandskaya guberniya


External links[edit]