Jaan Poska

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Portrait of Jaan Poska by Paul Raud, 1929, oil on canvas
Poska's mask in Tartu museum

Jaan Poska VR III/1 (24 January [O.S. 12 January] 1866, Laiusevälja, Kreis Dorpat, Governorate of Livonia – 7 March 1920, Tallinn, Estonia) was an Estonian barrister and politician.

In 1890, Poska graduated from the faculty of Law of the University of Tartu, after that he worked as barrister in Tallinn. Jaan Poska was mayor of Tallinn during 1913–1917. In that position he supported reforms, like reforming healthcare and founding two schools. In April 1917, he became governor of the Autonomous Governorate of Estonia. 28 November [O.S. 15 November] 1917 the Maapäev refused to recognize the new Bolshevik rule and proclaimed itself the supreme legal authority of Estonia. The Republic of Estonia formally declared independence on 24 February 1918, only to be occupied by the German Empire until the end of World War I. Estonian war of independence against Baltic German and Russian forces lasted from 1918 to 1920.

On 24 February 1918, Poska was appointed the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Estonia. He worked in Western Europe for gaining diplomatic recognition to Estonia and participated in Paris Peace Conference. He led the peace talks with Soviet Russia and achieved Treaty of Tartu which was signed on 2 February 1920.

Poska's house in Tallinn

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Political offices
Preceded by
Voldemar Lender
Mayor of Tallinn
Succeeded by
Gavriil Beljagin
Preceded by
Governor of Estonia
Succeeded by
Imperial German occupation
Preceded by
(no such position)
Minister of Foreign Affairs
February 24, 1918–1919
Succeeded by
Ants Piip