Governorate of Estonia

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Governorate of Estonia
Est(h)ländisches Gouvernement
Эстля́ндская губе́рния
Eestimaa kubermang
Governorate of the Russian Empire
Estonia in Russian Empire (1914).svg
Location in the Russian Empire
CapitalReval (present-day Tallinn)
20,246.7 km2 (7,817.3 sq mi)
• (1897)
• Established (de facto)
9 June 1719
• Established (de jure)
10 September 1721
• Renamed
• Autonomy granted
12 April 1917
Subdivisions or Kreise of Estonia Governorate
Political subdivisions5
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Duchy of Estonia
Reval Viceroyalty
Reval Viceroyalty
Autonomous Governorate of Estonia
Today part ofEstonia
German and Russian map of the Governorate of Estonia

The Governorate of Estonia[1] (also Esthonia;[2] German: Est(h)ländisches Gouvernement; Russian: Эстля́ндская губе́рния, tr. Estlyandskaya guberniya, IPA: [ɛˈstlʲˈæntskəjə ɡʊˈbʲernʲɪjə]; Estonian: Eestimaa kubermang) was a governorate of the Russian Empire in what is now northern Estonia. It bordered the Livonian Governorate to the south and Saint Petersburg Governorate to the east.

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.[citation needed]

The governorate consisted the northern part of the present-day Estonia, approximately corresponding to: Harju, Lääne-Viru, Ida-Viru, Rapla, Järva, Lääne and Hiiu counties and a small portion of Pärnu County.

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 uyezds (German: Kreis).[7]

County County Town Arms of County Town Population
(1897 Census)[8]
Name in German Name in Russian
Wierland Везенбергский Wesenberg
Rakvere city coa 1788.gif
Jerwen Вейсенштейнский Weissenstein
Герб валги (Вейсенштейн).png
Harrien Ревельский Reval
Coat of arms of Tallinn, Russian Empire, 1788.gif
Wiek Гапсальский Hapsal
Герб гапсаля старый.gif

Former Subdivisions[edit]

Leaders of the governorate[edit]


Livonian ConfederationTerra MarianaEstonian SSRDuchy of Livonia (1721–1917)Duchy of Livonia (1629–1721)Duchy of Livonia (1561–1621)Duchy of Estonia (1721–1917)Duchy of Estonia (1561–1721)Danish EstoniaDanish EstoniaEstoniaAncient EstoniaHistory of Estonia

See also[edit]


  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. p. 36. 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. ^ Первая Всеобщая перепись населения Российской империи 1897 года. Эстляндская губерния (in Russian)
  9. ^ Language Statistics of 1897 (in Russian)
  10. ^ Languages of which number of speakers in all Governorate were less than 1000

Further reading[edit]

Coordinates: 59°26′14″N 24°44′43″E / 59.43722°N 24.74528°E / 59.43722; 24.74528