Talk:Baltic states

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Rename: Baltic states >> Baltic countries?[edit]

Any idea on why is it that we list "Baltic states" and "Nordic countries"? Why not "Baltic countries"? It almost seems to me like the reason it's called a "state" is from the period of being under bigger powers. "State" makes sense when for example Latvia is an autonomous state under the russian empire. "Baltic country" would be a more independent definition? Because we don't say "the nordic state of sweden" unless the nordic countries would have been united under a single Nordic Union or something similar. In the same way, we use "the state of minnesota" in the US, not "the country of minnesota". Just wondering... SørenKierkegaard (talk) 14:22, 17 March 2017 (UTC)

My proposal is to rename the article to "Baltic countries" to respect the independence of the three countries. Calling them "states" makes them sound like they're being ruled by a bigger power to any native english speaker. Or that they're somehow united, which they're not. SørenKierkegaard (talk) 15:05, 17 March 2017 (UTC)

Role of Wikipedia is to reflect how certain subject is described in reliable sources, not to push someone's personal idea how it "should be" described. So to change title you need to provide proof that "Baltic countries" is more commonly used than "Baltic states". See more WP:TITLE. Minnekon (talk) 20:49, 18 March 2017 (UTC)
A quick search at Google is clear – article's name should be Baltic states (3,420,000 results against 531,000). – Sabbatino (talk) 19:52, 19 March 2017 (UTC)
Perhaps the complainant should explain to the Organization of American States that it should change its name as it currently implies that Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, etc. are all subnational entities...--Ermenrich (talk) 14:25, 22 June 2018 (UTC)

Structural quality of this article[edit]

I find the entire contents layout of this article to be seriously lacking. An example of a good article for a geographic grouping of countries is the Nordic countries article.


1) The history goes back too far, way beyond what is common between all three countries. Why are we listing medieval history like the Swedish Dominions, when the current concept of the three "Baltic States" was first seriously used after the Soviet Union broke up? The concept of "The Baltic States" is a 20th century geopolitical concept. The Swedish Dominions only included Estonia and Northern Latvia. If we are to really push it, the current concept started in 1945. Which would mean that these are the timeframes the article should cover politically. This article is not about the medieval history of Livonia. The current article is heavily tilted towards Livonia and ignoring Lithuania and Northern Estonia. Including the etymology talk about baltic germans.

I have now added the main points and sections as best as I could, relative to other Wikipedia articles. Hoping others will now help to improve this article with more content. Especially with content from the interwar period and nowadays. SørenKierkegaard (talk) 17:36, 10 February 2018 (UTC)

2) Too much focus on history and not enough on culture, nature & the societies. Looks like a history article right now. If we are to follow what a decent article for a geopolitical grouping of countries looks like, we can follow the Nordic countries. First off it only lists political history that is common between all countries. Also it's short. Second, it lists Politics, Nature, Economy, Demographics, Culture in a much more in-depth manner. Like notable art, writers, etc. A greatly improving section for this article would be Nature, which lists the nature of the three countries separately. SørenKierkegaard (talk) 21:16, 9 February 2018 (UTC)


North Estonia South Estonia North Latvia South Latvia North Lithuania South Lithuania
10th Finnic tribes Baltic tribes
11th Ancient Estonia
13th Danish Estonia Livonian Order Duchy of Lithuania
14th Grand Duchy of Lithuania
16th Swedish Estonia Duchy of Livonia
17th Swedish Livonia
18th Governorate of Estonia Governorate of Livonia Duchy of Courland and Semigallia
19th Courland Governorate Government of Kaunas Vilna Governorate
20th Republic of Estonia Republic of Latvia Republic of Lithuania
21st Republic of Estonia (EU) Republic of Latvia (EU) Republic of Lithuania (EU)

SørenKierkegaard (talk) 23:39, 9 February 2018 (UTC)


I've started from creating a shared timeline graph, similar to the one on the nordic countries page. To show the histories of the 3 countries in visual context. May have some inaccuracies that need to be ironed out but I believe it's correct in the grand scheme of things. Hoping other editors will point out areas of improvement if they notice anything. SørenKierkegaard (talk) 23:39, 9 February 2018 (UTC)

This timeline is completely trivial and should not be added per WP:INDISCRIMINATE and WP:LISTCRUFT. Just because it was added to the Nordic countries page that does not mean that such list should be added here. As for the history, you were the one who used to push pro-Estonian, pro-Nordic and pro-Finnic POVs in this page, so you should ask yourself why you added some of that information. – Sabbatino (talk) 12:15, 10 February 2018 (UTC)
I have not once mentioned anything nordic / finnic POV in this section. I want to add an honest, exact historic timeline on the article page of the three countries and I'm looking for help from other admins to improve this timeline table. Not from you though apparently. I want to improve the Baltic States article because it's lacking in it's depth compared to the nordic countries article. Also the trust in your care for balanced information in wikipedia was shown to be hypocritical by your reluctance to do anything to remove marketing spam from the Lithuania article. Hence I'm not taking your comments seriously. SørenKierkegaard (talk) 12:29, 10 February 2018 (UTC)
I do not have a problem. The better question would be – why you keep editing the pre-1918 history if it should be removed? Go ahead remove it and if there is opposition then discuss it. The term "Baltic states" was first used in 1918 when Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia became independent, and history of this page should start from then. Everything else should be removed. P.s. this is not Lithuania's page so do not mention the problems there. I can freely choose what to edit and what to not edit. Due to huge additions to that page I did not have time to look through them, but I will when the time comes. – Sabbatino (talk) 12:49, 10 February 2018 (UTC)
I have now added the main points and sections as best as I could, relative to other Wikipedia articles. Hoping others will now help to improve this article with more content. Especially with content from the interwar period and nowadays. SørenKierkegaard (talk) 17:36, 10 February 2018 (UTC)
@SørenKierkegaard: You cannot just remove the pre-1918 history of Baltic states and change it with a table, which gives the exact same information. While WP:Settlement says that timelines should be avoided in main pages, but that WikiProject is about cities. However, it does not mean that a different treatment should apply to anything different from cities. – Sabbatino (talk) 17:40, 12 February 2018 (UTC)
This timeline table and the previously listed "history of livonia" are two completely different things. The timeline table is a compact visual overview of the entire modern history of the region, without going into detail. A timeline table is also an accepted form of visual summary, as evidenced by the opinions on the nordic countries talk page. SørenKierkegaard (talk) 17:45, 12 February 2018 (UTC)
Content or opinions in other pages do not justify the addition of similar timeline table per WP:OSE. – Sabbatino (talk) 21:16, 12 February 2018 (UTC)
Your attempt to remove the timeline table from the nordic countries article has gotten a clear response from other editors. I believe the feedback also applies for this table, as it's exactly the same in concept. You called my addition of the timeline table absurd. What I find absurd is that you are against adding a neutral historic table which will undoubtedly give the readers a better overview of the history of the region. And you keep going against other editors as well. SørenKierkegaard (talk) 08:38, 13 February 2018 (UTC)
Can you please just stop trying to insert your agenda in this article? We've already talked about how there are other articles where discussing Estonia wanting to be Nordic is appropriate, instead, you just keep on wasting your and everyone else's energy by trying to prove that well documented concept of there being Baltic region is wrong, Wikipedia is not meant to be a platform for promoting your views ~~Xil (talk) 12:09, 13 February 2018 (UTC)
What exactly constitutes a "nordic agenda" here? First off, as Sabbatino him/herself agreed, the history of the baltic states as a region of three countries started in 1918. No "nordic propaganda" there. Second, listing definitions in the etymology is a completely normal approach as is on the nordic countries article page. You deleted all text about wars of independence, economies, interwar period, etc. That had nothing to do with a nordic POV. Show me a single line that has a "nordic agenda". And how exactly is the timeline a "nordic agenda" ? You are just blanket-deleting content that has existed on other wiki pages (linked to as "main article"), that has nothing to do with anything nordic, with the accusation that I have a nordic POV. How? My goal is to improve the "baltic states" article. And "livonia" does not == "baltic states" which is what the article is about, as the old history suggestion suggested. SørenKierkegaard (talk) 12:36, 13 February 2018 (UTC)
First of all, looks like I will have to repeat myself and say that opinions on other pages do not apply here. I called your addition of timeline table absurd, because you removed the history of pre-1918 and changed it with a table that has the exact same information. If that is not absurd then you should think it over. Secondly, if you had any knowledge of Italian language, you would realize that I am a "him". Furthermore, I said that history of the Baltic states should start from 1918, BUT I quite clearly indicated that if there is any opposition, which clearly is then you should discuss it (I am trying to help so you would not get blocked again as last time). I will also remind you again that WP:OSE is not the justification to add something that is added to other pages (timeline in this instance). The page should be restored to last stable version until the discussion is over. – Sabbatino (talk) 13:35, 13 February 2018 (UTC)
They can always add back the "livonian history" section but I fail to understand how it has anything to do with the modern concept of "the baltic states". It excludes both north estonia and lithuania. And it does not mean that the sections about wars of independence or interwar periods should be removed. Which are essential to the entire concept of the three countries as "the baltic states". I have zero "nordic agenda" here. I don't understand why I'm being accused of this. I do get annoyed if the article is listing livonian history as something that has defined the current concept of the baltic states. This implies that the countries have somehow grown out of that concept. Which they have not, besides Latvia. In addition - why is Livonia more important than the grand duchy of lithuania or historic Estonia (not Livonia)? And if we are to add sections about the histories of both then the article would again change into something else. So that's why starting from 1918 makes sense. SørenKierkegaard (talk) 14:17, 13 February 2018 (UTC)
You completely misunderstood the whole point. What I meant was that changing text into table is the worst way to go. I did not say anything about the histories of Lithuania and Estonia, which should both be there. In addition, I do agree that the history of Baltic states page should start from 1918, but I specifically wrote that if there is opposition then you should refrain from making these change until there is an understanding. Is it so hard to understand? – Sabbatino (talk) 16:14, 13 February 2018 (UTC)

At most, you could argue that you have a problem with this section:


"The Baltic States" is mainly used as a geopolitical term. The three countries do not form a union as do the Benelux countries, nor do they form a common cultural region as do the Nordic countries.


Fine, so delete all mentions with the word "Finnic". But how will you include Estonia then? SørenKierkegaard (talk) 12:43, 13 February 2018 (UTC)

Wikipedia is not a dictionary for listing definitions. That Estonians are Finnic is mentioned in the article several times. And I don't get what it has to do with including Estonia - is this some smart argument about how only countries inhabited by Balts can be in region named after the Baltic sea? ~~Xil (talk) 14:41, 13 February 2018 (UTC
If the term is confusing, term definitions are added. The list defines the terms. "It's already mentioned somewhere inside the other texts" is not a real argument if your actual interest is in the clarity of the article. SørenKierkegaard (talk) 14:44, 13 February 2018 (UTC)
The term is not confusing just because you disagree with its use. It doesn't need to be clarified over and over again just because some people have decided they do not want to understand it due to some nationalistic agenda. And generally, prose is preferred in Wikipedia articles, not lists ~~Xil (talk) 14:48, 13 February 2018 (UTC)
I'd say it's you with the nationalistic agenda of not wanting to make the distinction between different uses of the word "baltic" clear to everyone reading the article. SørenKierkegaard (talk) 14:54, 13 February 2018 (UTC)

Etymology, part 1[edit]

Is there a reason why adding term definitions is not allowed on the Etymology section?

Proposed list:


This has been deleted by user Xil several times now. SørenKierkegaard (talk) 15:03, 13 February 2018 (UTC)

Wikipedia is not a dictionary. There are disambiguation links on top of the article. It's been mentioned several times in article what are the main ethnic groups and what languages they speak. It's clear to most people what Baltic sea is. This has nothing to do with the origin of the term. Basically, you're trying to solve problem that doesn't exist for anyone else ~~Xil (talk) 15:17, 13 February 2018 (UTC)
You have absolutely no grasp of how big of a problem this is for Estonians. But either if there is a problem or not, this is a discussion that is outside of the scope of proof. My question stands. Why is a clear area for term definitions not allowed. Obviously you're not interested in the clarity of the article, otherwise three sentences would not be a problem for you. I mean I understand the emotional reason why someone from latvia might not want to have this listed but that's not an encyclopaedic point. SørenKierkegaard (talk) 15:22, 13 February 2018 (UTC)
I gave you a very clear reason why it is not acceptable encyclopedic style. Don't tell me how I feel just because you cannot come up with a valid argument ~~Xil (talk) 15:48, 13 February 2018 (UTC)
You don't have a valid argument. You're just looking for arguments to remove any notion about Estonians not being Baltic people or that (north) Estonia has had a history separate from Latvia for most of it's history. SørenKierkegaard (talk) 16:04, 13 February 2018 (UTC)
Also, do you think it's ok that the etymology of an article that supposedly contains Estonia, has 0 mentions about Estonia ? SørenKierkegaard (talk) 17:19, 13 February 2018 (UTC)
1. I have not tried to remove numerous references to these facts that already are present in the article. 2. Yes, because as I allready have tries to remind several times this article is not about Estonia and etymology is linguistic origin of the term, not definition, that's what lead section is for and definition in the lead mentions Estonia ~~Xil (talk) 05:29, 14 February 2018 (UTC)

Timeline 2[edit]

I will list the proposed timeline again. Now that the editor Xil has made it clear they prefer to list full history before 1918, I would like to know why exactly a timeline can not be added. A historic timeline has been an accepted format on the nordic countries article page. I don't understand why adding a timeline is not allowed on this article. SørenKierkegaard (talk) 15:12, 13 February 2018 (UTC)

North Estonia South Estonia North Latvia South Latvia North Lithuania South Lithuania
10th Finnic tribes Baltic tribes
13th Danish Estonia Livonian Order Duchy of Lithuania
14th Grand Duchy of Lithuania
16th Swedish Estonia Duchy of Livonia
17th Swedish Livonia
18th Governorate of Estonia Governorate of Livonia Duchy of Courland and Semigallia
19th Courland Governorate Government of Kaunas Vilna Governorate
20th Republic of Estonia Republic of Latvia Republic of Lithuania
21st Republic of Estonia (EU) Republic of Latvia (EU) Republic of Lithuania (EU)

SørenKierkegaard (talk) 23:39, 9 February 2018 (UTC)

Because this is article about region, not seperate countries. We could do ths:
Estonia North Latvia West Latvia East Latvia North Lithuania South Lithuania
17th Swedish Baltic dominions Duchy of Courland and Semigallia Polish Livonia Grand Duchy of Lithuania
18th Baltic governates
19th Baltic governates Vitebsk governate Government of Kaunas Vilna Governorate
20th Baltic States

with perhaps some local history mixed in ~~Xil (talk) 15:39, 13 February 2018 (UTC)

Right, and why 17th century not 16th or 14th or 10th? You've also "forgotten" that Estonian and Livonian governorates were different in the russian empire. Your comment about "region not countries" has no meaning in this context either. Did the 17th century suddenly make it a region? Not according to that same timeline. If you want to use east/west you should also add in the Danish Saaremaa to the 17th century. You also can't end the table with "baltic states". It's a geopolitical term not a union. Estonia or Lithuania do not define themselves as a "baltic states". They define themselves as the independent republics. I mean I understand what you're doing. It's just quite disgusting. SørenKierkegaard (talk) 15:53, 13 February 2018 (UTC)
I will repeat myself for the third of fourth time – WP:OSE is not the justification to add something. Just because it exists in the Nordic countries page that does not mean that it should be here. It would not add anything that could not be presented in prose. There should as less tables as possible per Wikipedia's whole point. When you open an encyclopedia (book), do you see hundreds of tables? No. Same here. – Sabbatino (talk) 16:22, 13 February 2018 (UTC)
Prose by it's definition can not give a visual overview. And yes tables are used in encyclopaedias, especially when talking about history. Example, Example, Example, Example, Example. Britannica even lets you create your own timelines. Wikipedia has a table tutorial. Pleistocene is a great example of using tables for a visual overview. I suppose WP:OSE is meant to avoid copy-pasting dumb things. Using tables to visualize history isn't a single dumb approach on a single article. SørenKierkegaard (talk) 16:39, 13 February 2018 (UTC)
You completely misunderstood the whole point. I was having an actual book in mind. A book that you can hold in your hands and not e-books. – Sabbatino (talk) 07:30, 15 February 2018 (UTC)
I don't see how a book has anything to do with Wikipedia's online format. And books also have history tables. SørenKierkegaard (talk) 11:43, 15 February 2018 (UTC)
Right, then I am going to agree with Sabbatino on this one. This article is not about some POV contrasting of Lithuanian and Estonian histories and this table is not particlarly necessary ~~Xil (talk) 05:33, 14 February 2018 (UTC)
POV contrasting histories? This IS the history. Unbelievable. SørenKierkegaard (talk) 07:14, 14 February 2018 (UTC)

Main part of history section should obviously be about time when Baltic states concept has been used, but very brief overview of earlier history for context is ok (if it's presented correctly). I'm also in principle (but not necessarily) ok with history table suggested by SørenKierkegaard. I don't agree (or understand) Sabbatino's arguments against history timeline: WP:INDISCRIMINATE - it's less important, but not unimportant or random info; WP:LISTCRUFT - not really connected to our case; WP:Settlement - hard to bring that guideline over here, it lacks reasoning why it's good rule. --Minnekon (talk) 02:20, 15 February 2018 (UTC)

Now about content of history table. Xil's version seem to suggest that Baltic states concept evolved from Swedish Baltic dominions and Baltic governates of Russia. Is it true? Also, better to have consistent content - all named entities should be states, subdivisions of states or supra-state entities not mix of them (unless there is good justification for exception). SørenKierkegaard's version: most of the table is about political history, but why older part is suddenly about linguistic history? For consistency we should have just one logic in same table. Concept of Baltic states is about politics not language, so I think we should show just political history. But here I have different problem: isn't history of Baltic states too complex to create simple and useful synoptic timeline? Some things that proposed table lack: parts of Lithuania belonged also to Teutonic Order, Duchy of Prussia, Suwałki Governorate, Germany and Poland; part of Latvia (Latgale) had different history than other parts of modern country: south-eastern part of Estonia has always (up to 20th century) been part of different Russian states. Is it realistic to show all that in one table? --Minnekon (talk) 02:20, 15 February 2018 (UTC)

Thank you for your input. I just used finnic tribes because it suited the "baltic tribes" next to it and seemed equal. Otherwise it would say Ancient Estonia, which also had it's political history. To show also the eastern / western regions, we can add those columns to the map. We can also divide the rows by 50 years, not 100 to make it more exact. SørenKierkegaard (talk) 11:45, 15 February 2018 (UTC)
I'm afraid there will be too many columns and table becomes too wide and uncomfortable to read for Wiki users. Ancient Estonia was not political entity, it is (somewhat misleading) synonym for prehistory of Estonian territory. If no states yet existed why not just say "pre-state societies". --Minnekon (talk) 13:53, 15 February 2018 (UTC)
Yeah that's probably right. Although I'm not sure at which point something becomes a state. Estonia did have "counties" before the danish invasion. Also tax gathering and fort areas. And at least one of the counties even had a king :) Or four kings according to another source. But the counties indeed did not form a unified "Estonian state", they were rather rivals. Lembitu indeed try to unite all Estonians to unite against the invasion but it did not result in a common state. SørenKierkegaard (talk) 18:42, 15 February 2018 (UTC)
What historians say? As far as I know only Jersika and Principality of Koknese in Eastern Latvia are considered "real" states (although both were in turn vassals of Principality of Polotsk) in pre-13th century Baltics. There is probably too little information about exact nature of political relations in other areas, but I haven't heard anybody outside nationalist romanticist circles calling "counties" states. If we should have timeline, maybe exclude older history altogether. --Minnekon (talk) 20:51, 15 February 2018 (UTC)
I checked and the counties are indeed not defined as states (estonian: "riik"). We can keep the pre-state era out if needed. SørenKierkegaard (talk) 06:42, 16 February 2018 (UTC)
Looks like I quite clearly wrote that WP:Settlement applies to cities. However, we can still relate it to this situation. And yes, this timeline table is WP:INDISCRIMINATE since it is not relevant to the topic. Furthermore, you said it yourself that it is impossible to reflect all the history correctly in the timeline table, and we do not need to insert inaccurate content. – Sabbatino (talk) 07:30, 15 February 2018 (UTC)
What I meant is that we may in principle apply guideline from different topic if the reasons for its existence are valid in our case too. But WP:Settlement don't seem to give any reason why such rule is made, so it's useless for us and WP:OSE. What exactly in WP:INDISCRIMINATE policy indicates that pre-20th century history is inadvisable in this article? Do you think that pre-1918 (or whenever modern concept was adopted) history of Latvia is also WP:INDISCRIMINATE? I didn't say it definitely is impossible to reflect all the history correctly in the timeline table, I just doubted (and still do) if it's possible and would want first to see how it would look like. --Minnekon (talk) 13:38, 15 February 2018 (UTC)

Current proposed timeline table format just isn't very good. Chopping period into pieces per century is too inaccurate, not to mention that in this proposed table has some questionable choices. Like why is 14th century North-Estonia counted for Denmark and in 16th century it is counted for Sweden, even though on both those centuries it was clearly more than half of century under Livonian Order rule? I would say that a relatively good example of timeline table is the one used in Estonia article: [1]. Also I would note that this table shouldn't be allowed to become too huge because it would both look aesthetically just ugly and at same time be problematic for people who read wikipedia on smaller screens.--Staberinde (talk) 18:58, 15 February 2018 (UTC)

I agree with using Staberinde's proposed timeline for the Baltic States article. I think it has worse readability than a proper table would have but it will eliminate the question of exact years, because the code-based table is in the accuracy of 100years, while the autogenerated timeline proposed by Staberinde has the accuracy of 1px . It should also remove objectivity claims, because it's autogenerated from wiki articles. Any exact timeline is better than no timeline or a POV-influenced timeline. SørenKierkegaard (talk) 20:52, 15 February 2018 (UTC)
  • I see a couple of problems with the proposed timeline:
  • The "Baltic states" is a 20th century construct[2]
  • Finland was considered a Baltic state before WW2, after it decided to become a Nordic state.
--Nug (talk) 11:41, 16 February 2018 (UTC)
I also agree with Nug here. Ideally we should only start from the 20th century and maybe also include Finland. This means that the article in general should start it's history from the 20th century (1918). Actually it's really strange that the article currently lists livonian history (how does it have anything to do with the concept of the baltic states?) but not Finland, which was officially considered a baltic state? SørenKierkegaard (talk) 12:07, 16 February 2018 (UTC)
Minnekon Staberinde Sabbatino do we have consensus on starting the article from the 20th century? SørenKierkegaard (talk) 13:21, 17 February 2018 (UTC)
I agree that it should start from the 20th century. However, I am still not sold on the timeline idea (if that is even considered at this point). – Sabbatino (talk) 08:28, 20 February 2018 (UTC)

Starting the article from 1918[edit]

As several editors have previously mentioned, the concept of "The Baltic States" (update: meant "The Baltic states") started in 1918. Hence the article should not be talking about history of the previous times in this length. The geopolitical term also included Finland, which the current article does not mention at all. It would be professional to remove the older history sections because they have nothing to do with the geopolitical concept of "the baltic states". The article can then focus more on the history from 1918, especially the political history and also briefly mention Finland. SørenKierkegaard (talk) 16:31, 18 February 2018 (UTC)

First of all, I would like to emphasise, that Baltic States is not the same as Baltic states. There is no such thing as Baltic States. Secondly, the history is absolutely not irrelevant to the term Baltic states. The Baltic states are the results of centuries with Baltic Germans ruling the lands, especially in what is now Estonia and Latvia. The Baltic governorates were, until the end of 19th century, not a subject to the common civil and administrative laws of the Russian Empire, but did not have monetary, fiscal and passport system of their own. If we leave that out, it will be hard to comprehend why independence was worthwhile. Talk/♥фĩłдωəß♥\Work 19:58, 18 February 2018 (UTC)
If some older aspects of history explain how Baltic states concept emerged then it is obviously important. But are Baltic governorates earlier evolutionary form of Baltic states or just it just happens to have similar name? What is the connection?--Minnekon (talk) 22:30, 18 February 2018 (UTC)
The best you can do is to follow the links I gave and read the articles. It does not give you all the answers, but I do not have the time to chatter. After that, go deeper into the 700 years of German feudalism in the Baltics. This is were you will find out why the label is called Baltic states. Talk/♥фĩłдωəß♥\Work 22:47, 18 February 2018 (UTC)
Sorry, I did not find answers from linked articles. Do you claim that whoever initially started to use term "Baltic states" used the name "Baltic governorates" as an example or grouped 3 countries together because Baltic Germans were living there? --Minnekon (talk) 23:00, 18 February 2018 (UTC)
Just commenting on the previous editor's addition. "The Baltic states" is a geopolitical term, hence the history should be within the timeline and within the context of the term. Finland was also a "Baltic state", which had nothing to do with the baltic germans. The word itself is more connected to the "baltic sea". "The Baltic states" as the geopolitical concept did not exist before 1918. Ref - (Updated ref to case-sensitive) SørenKierkegaard (talk) 11:56, 19 February 2018 (UTC)
The chart does not confirm your statement of "did not exist". The chart clearly shows results prior to 1918, even though minimal when comparing to after 1918. The use of Baltic states exploded after 1918 in English sources, but they did exist prior to 1918. Talk/♥фĩłдωəß♥\Work 12:13, 19 February 2018 (UTC)
You can check a random book result from prior to 1918. The Baltic States was then sometimes used to define the countries around the Baltic Sea. Quote: "“In 1780 the Baltic States, Russia, Sweden, and Denmark, being neutrals in the war then raging, had combined to assert……”". Source It had nothing to do with EE-LV-LT, as they were governorates inside the Russian Empire. . This can be mentioned in etymology if needed - would actually be a good addition. SørenKierkegaard (talk) 12:25, 19 February 2018 (UTC)
You have picked a result showing Baltic States, which is not what we are discussing. Talk/♥фĩłдωəß♥\Work 12:35, 19 February 2018 (UTC)

(edit conflict)

Have you considered, that the term Baltic states through out history might have changed geopolitical meaning according to geopolitical realities? For instance, (the territory now being) Lithuania did not have access (harbours) to the Baltic Sea for centuries until independence with the Memel Territory. Talk/♥фĩłдωəß♥\Work 12:32, 19 February 2018 (UTC)
I don't understand the point of your comment. Please expand. The goal is to figure out when the current geopolitical concept of "The Baltic states" appeared. Sources will help on deciding on this. If the sources will say that the meaning has changed throughout time then maybe that info should be included. And we can mention Denmark, etc. But there is no source I have found that says that LV & EE were in that definition before 1918. Which makes sense because they were under the Russian Empire. So listing Livonian history from the middle ages has no context here. As you said before - this is "The Baltic states", not "The Baltic States", and this is an important distinction. SørenKierkegaard (talk) 13:13, 19 February 2018 (UTC)
Here is another source from the 19th century that uses "the Baltic states" in discussing about Sweden and Denmark. SørenKierkegaard (talk) 13:17, 19 February 2018 (UTC)
Okay, so now you know what to write about. Talk/♥фĩłдωəß♥\Work 13:24, 19 February 2018 (UTC)

(edit conflict)

Okay, but this will be my last comment for some time. You have an interesting way of finding sources, and use a lot of energy on discussing sources that might be refuted by sources you have not found or looked for. My approach would be to read a number of books on the subject, many of them are available for loan in libraries. Create an overview of whatever was written and let the sources come to you. Personally, I am not interested in spending time discussing things to death, when reliable sources can be found in a way that demands some physical activity. Life is simply too short. Cheers. Talk/♥фĩłдωəß♥\Work 13:21, 19 February 2018 (UTC)
If we are to leave out the sentences with Condescension from your answer, then the point of finding notable research literature is correct. It would help avoid WP:OR, so yes that's a very important point. But you could have also written that in a single sentence. SørenKierkegaard (talk) 14:09, 19 February 2018 (UTC)
Very well, condescension was not intentional even though received as such. I will try with a one-liner: "What are we discussing, we haven't found the reliable sources, yet". Ciao. Talk/♥фĩłдωəß♥\Work 14:20, 19 February 2018 (UTC)
Thank you, I will definitely do that. SørenKierkegaard (talk) 18:45, 20 February 2018 (UTC)

Definition of the article / term ?[edit]

I'm confused on what exactly the article (or any article about a geopolitical term that encompasses an X amount of countries) should be about. If it's a geopolitical term that encompasses specific countries, then should the content be about:

  1. the development of the term?
  2. cooperation between the countries within the term?
  3. a factual overview of their current situation? Like nature, population, economies, etc
  4. histories of the individual countries within the term from the start of the term?
  5. history of the mentioned region in general from the start of the term?
  6. history of the mentioned region in general from the start of history?
  7. all of the above?

One example is the European Union article. It does not go into the histories of it's individual countries. And that is an article for an actual Union. It talks about the history of the union itself. nr 1 & 3

Benelux which is also a union and where the three countries are much closer aligned than LV & LT & EE, is only strictly about the term itself. nr 1 , 2 & 3

Nordic countries form both a passport union and a common cultural area with a common history (starting from the kalmar union). The article page lists a brief common history + is mostly about present-day affairs. nr 1, 2, 3 & 6.

But the Baltic States do not form a union and also do not form a common cultural area. If it's a geopolitical term, I'm not sure what the article should list. Strictly encyclopaedically speaking, the article should be about the development of the geopolitical term. The article should be about history and population and other XYZ elements only when the encompassed countries form a union. Nr 1 Baltoscandia sort of has that approach. SørenKierkegaard (talk) 17:23, 18 February 2018 (UTC)

I agree that the article gives the impression that the Baltic states are part of some sort of official or semi-official state-building. Especially the infobox gives this impression. Baltic states is only a geopolitical label used for the area. The history section should be shortened down and only contain information elaborating the geopolitical label Baltic states. Please, no tables on the history of Baltic states, they just dumb down facts. Talk/♥фĩłдωəß♥\Work 22:04, 18 February 2018 (UTC)
I think nr 1 and 2 (development of the term and what Baltic states have done as Baltic states) are main part of the article. Rest is background info that is ok, but should be mentioned briefly. --Minnekon (talk) 22:41, 18 February 2018 (UTC)
About history table. If same info as in table is presented in form of usual text instead, it is just as dumbing down. If text version covers history more deeply, then function of the added table is just to give quick more easily absorbed overview (like infoboxes). --Minnekon (talk) 22:48, 18 February 2018 (UTC)
Changes that seem should be made so far:
  1. 1) Starting the article's history from the start of the term. Focusing more on the history of the term itself and cooperation of the countries within the term. First time of the term seems to be 1918, as it's the first time the term "The Baltic states" has been used for the current three countries EE & LV & LT. It would also need Finland to be mentioned. The history should be about how the term started and has developed and about cooperation of the three states within the term.
  2. 2) Removing the infobox in it's current form, because it should only be used for countries / unions and gives the wrong impression of a union / united states right now. An example of pages similar to the "baltic states" concept would rather be Northern Europe or Baltoscandia or Balkans or Midwestern United States that do not use infoboxes in that way. Although they are also not ideal examples as those are geographical regions (like the Baltic region, not geopolitical terms SørenKierkegaard (talk) 10:10, 19 February 2018 (UTC)


Question: What are the official capitalisation rules for this term? Wondering if there are any good sources specifically for the current article. Current status: The article is about "The Baltic states", which is a term for grouping countries. University of Western Australia has a clear example of the capitalisation rules for the word "state", which supports the current naming of the article. "The Baltic States" would traditionally mean that the three countries somehow form a common governing body / form a union. The current naming practice is also supported by all other wiki articles about the Baltic states, where the S is not capitalised. Problem: There are many cases on the internet where "The Baltic States" has been (erroneously?) used. I can understand when States has been used for book titles. But aside from book titles, this seems to be a bigger problem than it seems at first, as in english, especially for an American, reading "The Baltic States" would undoubtedly mean that the three countries form a common governing body. The capitalised version seems to be used a lot online in body text. Just wondering what the consensus on this is. Even the site of the Latvian government seems to be inconsistent in this and often using the capitalised version. The Estonian government's site apparently gets confused as well. The constitutions of the three countries do not say anything about being baltic states, so it's hard to find direct sources. Can this really just be a mistake in spelling? SørenKierkegaard (talk) 19:51, 19 February 2018 (UTC)

Edit: This article quoting Andres Kasekamp mentions the topic. And notice the disclaimer in the end: "Because norms for the use of uppercase and lowercase have been shifting in most dialects of English — especially UK English — so that many terms traditionally capitalized are now lowercase, that which in this article is referred to as “the Baltic States” is actually more and more often denoted by “the Baltic states” (indeed, this is the practice that Baltic Worlds follows — though an exception obviously needs to be made in this article)." SørenKierkegaard (talk) 20:18, 19 February 2018 (UTC)

Interesting and worthwhile article on two books. Just a shame that you did not read the article in its entirety before moving on with the etymology section below. Have a nice weekend. Talk/♥фĩłдωəß♥\Work 15:54, 23 February 2018 (UTC)

The meaning of "The Baltic states" before 1910?[edit]

"Baltic states" before the 20th century = Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Russian Empire ?

Starting a separate section on this. This new find should make a case for starting the article before 1918. But not with the history of the "Baltic provinces" of Finland, Estland, Livland - instead possibly about the countries that bordered the Baltic sea. Interestingly, there are many mentions of "Baltic states" in the context of Sweden, Denmark and Germany up until around 1910. The listed mentions then suddenly disappear.

This Google resource graph is fairly interesting. According to what the search results are, the "Baltic states" or "Baltic countries" used to mean all or some of the independent countries around the Baltic Sea at that time. Sounds unintuitive today but makes sense in the 19th century. Example 1 ; Example 2 - Google results ; Example 4 - Baltic states defined as the countries bordering the Baltic Sea; Example 5 - Sweden and Denmark being defined as "the Baltic states". Example 6 - Page 339 - Defining the "Baltic states" as Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Germany. Page 391 - Defining them as the "Baltic states" (see "Army and Navy of the Baltic states"). ; Example 7 - Defining "The Baltic states" as Russia, Sweden and Denmark.

Quote: "“This same policy, known as “the Rule of 1756”, had been adopted in the present war, greatly to the annoyance of the Baltic states, prevented under it from sending to France and Spain their timber and naval stores, for which the pending naval hostilities created a great demand. To resist interference with their traffic, Russia, Denmark, and Sweden, early in the year, had formed a combination, called the “Armed Neutrality”……”" More on Armed Neutrality here and here.

Example: "The Baltic States" being defined as Russia, Sweden and Denmark

Example - Baltic provinces (of the Russian Empire) being Finland, Estland, Livland - a distinction being made between "baltic provinces" and "baltic states".

This all makes sense as the "Baltic states" of nowadays were not states back then and so the states bordering the Baltic sea were just referred to as the "Baltic states" .

This map also supports the observation.

Many maps about "The Baltic lands" here

Baltic states until 1910 is fairly interesting. According to what the search results are, the "Baltic states" or "Baltic countries" used to mean all or some of the independent countries around the Baltic Sea at that time. = Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Russian Empire. Sounds counterintuitive today, but makes sense in the 19th century.

"Nordic countries" starts to then suddenly get results from 1920, as the results for "baltic states" suddenly stop including Sweden and Denmark. Hypothesis: Sweden and Denmark were called Baltic states until the independence of Finland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. "Nordic countries" then came into use to separate Sweden and Denmark from the "new" Baltic states. Norway could also be added then. This coincides in years with the advent of Foreningen Norden and Nordicism. Clearly this is all WP:OR until there are no direct sources for this claim but I'm sure direct sources will not be an issue. SørenKierkegaard (talk) 23:44, 19 February 2018 (UTC)

Contents of the infobox[edit]

Since this is not a union or a country, the infobox should not contain elements that are calculated and displayed for political entities like capitals and GDP per capita, HDI, etc. (as even calculating those are WP:OR) It leaves a wrong impression of this being a union. Benelux and Nordic Countries have this content in the infoboxes because they form a union and have the data calculated for the entire union. The Baltic states is more like Western United States or Baltic region with connected regional identity in one or two of the associated countries. The Baltic Entente would have been a union. I was WP:BOLD and took off some of the more problematic elements. SørenKierkegaard (talk) 15:42, 20 February 2018 (UTC)

Etymology, part 2[edit]

Etymology = "The study of the origin of words and the way in which their meanings have changed throughout history."

If we are to conclude that "The Baltic states" existed as a term independent from EE, LV & LT long before the three countries became independent, the "etymology" section should be rewritten. Or at least this information should be added. I cannot find a single source that says that "The Baltic states" got their name from the Baltic Germans. "Baltic" is the name of the sea. The name comes from the sea, not baltic germans or balts. Written here as well. This map from 1912 about 1661 about "baltic lands" is an example of the name coming from the sea.

The content to list under etymology besides the baltic sea is how Sweden, Denmark, and sometimes Germany and the Russian Empire, used to be listed as "The Baltic states". The history of baltic germans or balts has nothing to do with the term "The Baltic states". All three got their name from the sea. Let's not confuse the sea that came first with the baltic states, baltic germans and balts who all got their name after the sea. But this is the "baltic states" article, so the baltic germans and balts are completely off topic in etymology. SørenKierkegaard (talk) 12:50, 23 February 2018 (UTC)

  1. I partially agree, the etymology of Latin Mare Balticum which is usually connected with some Germanic word "belt" (i.e., sea strait) should take precedence and Baltic "baltas/balts" should be more of an afterthought
  2. Baltic Germans are definitely not irrelevant, I guess one would need to research the history of the notion Baltikum, I think this is where the English language notion Baltic states stems from (as it is understood by most everyone) and I'm pretty sure Baltic Germans have a lot to do with Baltikum
  3. In a post above you say that NO/SE/DK where called "Baltic states" until Finland gained independence which prompted the need for new term -- Nordic. I'm pretty sure NO/SE/DK where 99% called Scandinavian(!) which they continue to be called to this day and being called "Baltic" is marginal at best.
  4. Lastly I want to ask you, did you even look at the survey that you yourself posted? After "Estonian citizen" the next most important identity, with almost 70%, is EU citizen, down the list a Nordic identity and a Baltic identity have roughly the same share(!) with around 50% each.

I think the share of those who consider being an EU citizen an important part of their identity perfectly captures the zeitgeist of today. Things that actually matter: common travel area, eurozone, ban on mobile roaming charges within the EU, consumer protection (e.g., ban on bovine growth hormone, proposed ban on battery kept chickens, etc., etc.) Conversely the similar share of Nordic and Baltic identities goes against the larger point that your trying to make. Your energy would be much better spent improving, e.g., the Nordic identity in Estonia article instead of trying to make a completely uncontroversial geopolitics term somehow controversial. Neitrāls vārds (talk) 14:42, 23 February 2018 (UTC)

I don't know how any of the "nordic identity" comments are relevant to the Etymology section on the "Baltic states" article. If you believe that the German "das baltikum" generated the English-language concept of "The Baltic states", then you can help your cause by linking the relevant sources here. All sources so far say that the name came from the sea and that the name "The Baltic states" was used a lot earlier than 1920. See the sources above. Also, Finland was a "Baltic state" and had nothing to do with baltic germans. Estonia's nordic identity and the concept of "The Baltic states" are completely separate topics, they can both exist together. So I don't know why you even brought this up. There is no conflict between being a "Baltic state", as in, a country on the Baltic sea, and having a nordic identity, or defining a country as a nordic country. Both can exist together. But this topic is not relevant here. SørenKierkegaard (talk) 17:04, 23 February 2018 (UTC)
Edit: The Baltikum link clearly states: "Benannt ist das Baltikum nach der mittellateinischen Bezeichnung für die Ostsee als mare balticum, dem „Baltischen Meer“". = The name comes from the Baltic sea. And even if it didn't, it wouldn't be relevant as this is the English-language wikipedia, not German. SørenKierkegaard (talk) 16:58, 23 February 2018 (UTC)
It's nice to see that you have looked up definition of etymology, but it seems that you do not understand the concept - it analyses where the word comes from, not what it means. Let's take a neutral example - English words green, grow and grass share etymology, despite having complitelly different meaning, it is not wrong to meantion that in their etymology, it is not wrong to mention simmilar words in other languages and what root they share in proto-languages. Contrary to what you claim there are five sources cited in the section. You're the one who has no sources and even if you could find sources arguing that Baltic Germans never used the term or whatever, it would not be a reason to exclude different theories. And it was previously agreed that the varied theories on etymology of "Baltic" should not be here, but rather moved to article on the sea ~~Xil (talk) 16:30, 25 February 2018 (UTC)
I don't understand what you are claiming. This is the article about "The Baltic states". Etymology = The study of the origin of words and the way in which their meanings have changed throughout history. Now, how exactly is the paragraph about Languages connected to the Geopolitical term? It would only be connected if they somehow influenced the development of the term. But the languages did not. Every single source says the name came from the sea. Or would you like to copy-paste a source quote here claiming otherwise? The part you are trying to put back has two random sentences about the Baltic language. How exactly is that connected to this article topic? Very clearly written here on page 8. SørenKierkegaard (talk) 17:46, 25 February 2018 (UTC)
I also have to ask, if you even read your sources. It says the same exact thing as the content you are hell bent on removing - it mentions cognates in Baltic languages, there's the same discussion on how the term changed with the name of the sea and how similar terms that might be considered to have something to do with the term's origin are actually not related to it. ~~Xil (talk) 11:55, 26 February 2018 (UTC)
"and how similar terms that might be considered to have something to do with the term's origin are actually not related to it" - Exactly. So why include the languages here, if they have nothing to do with it? Especially when what you're adding says nothing about the terms not being related. It's just bad content in an unsuitable place overall. Technically what MIGHT fit there is a bullet-point list of explanations for all similar terms to make the reader aware of the differences. Baltic languages, Baltic germans, Balts, Baltic Sea, Baltic region. And then Finnic peoples / language as well, to keep the article in balance. Or, it can stay as it is to focus on the actual origin of the word and not bring in secondary topics. You're welcome to start a vote / ask for other editors' feedback on this. SørenKierkegaard (talk) 12:22, 26 February 2018 (UTC)
It's a normal practice (as, again, you can see from your own source, BTW further in it also covers Baltic German connection as well) and provides more information to readers. I think you might be confusing etymology with definition - one is exact statement on what something means, the other looks into what the word is about, not what the concept it applies to is. And etymology section also is not meant to be WP:DISAMBIG ~~Xil (talk) 12:23, 26 February 2018 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Both of you broke the WP:3RR rule and you both should stop this edit war, and discuss this or I will have to report both of you. Not to mention that SørenKierkegaard has already been blocked for the exact same behavior in the past on this page. Please settle down and stop acting childish. – Sabbatino (talk) 12:45, 26 February 2018 (UTC)

Could you comment on the etymology contents please? I fail to find a single logical explanation for why languages or the baltic germans need to be discussed there. SørenKierkegaard (talk) 13:12, 26 February 2018 (UTC)
I am not quite sure why you would need "a logical explanation" to discuss reliable sources. If reliable sources says something on the etymology of the Baltic states, then it can be presented in the article. It really depends on the reliable sources. Am I to understand your statement in a way, that you want "a logical explanation" for the screening of content? Talk/♥фĩłдωəß♥\Work 13:33, 26 February 2018 (UTC)
The whole point is that it says nothing about the etymology. Can you quote me a single line where the sources say that the term evolved from the languages or the baltic germans? Why are we listing this then? SørenKierkegaard (talk) 13:39, 26 February 2018 (UTC)
The article on etymology has a section on different methods on how etymologists apply a number of methods to study the origins of words. Seems to include languages and in its extention Baltic Germans. Talk/♥фĩłдωəß♥\Work 13:49, 26 February 2018 (UTC)
You did not answer the question. Yes of course the baltic language and baltic germans originate from the root word "Baltic", as in Baltic Sea. But that is not vice versa. Why is this mentioned on this article? If the etymology section was correct, it would mention how Sweden and Denmark used to be called "The Baltic states" until the advent of Nordicism. It would then mention that Finland was also frequently called a Baltic state. It would them mention why Finland is not considered a "Baltic state" anymore. It would mention that the whole term is fluid and has changed in time to reflect on the different countries bordering the Baltic Sea. This is a geopolitical term. It should reflect on geopolitics. But instead of this we have.... two sentences that seem to come from regional Livonian history, which has nothing to do with the geopolitical term. I'm sorry. "The Baltic states" is not a synonym for Latvia or Livonia. But it seems like some editors take it as such. SørenKierkegaard (talk) 14:20, 26 February 2018 (UTC)
If I recall your sentiment correctly, there is a difference in the application of the term Baltic states prior to and after 1918. Etymology of the term when applied in sources pre-1918 (to Sweden, Denmark etc.) are clearly geographical. What about etymology of the term Baltic states post-1918? What does reliable sources mention about this? Talk/♥фĩłдωəß♥\Work 14:23, 26 February 2018 (UTC)
By the way. I am reluctant to give you direct answers since you have a tendency of moderating your statements in hind sight. Talk/♥фĩłдωəß♥\Work 14:23, 26 February 2018 (UTC)
I'll try to refrain from editing my responses. It was clearly a geopolitical term before as well. I'll get some more sources on this. And also post-1918 is important, because the article does not mention Finland at all right now. SørenKierkegaard (talk) 14:37, 26 February 2018 (UTC)
My main problem is - are "The Baltic states" a geopolitical entity like a union or a federation of states? If they are not, then this article should not act like it is. It is a geopolitical term / designation, where the meaning of it has changed constantly. The article should reflect reality and not try to build some sort of a pseudo-history for the geopolitical term that is just outright wrong. SørenKierkegaard (talk) 15:22, 26 February 2018 (UTC)
We are not looking for the WP:TRUTH. 16:00, 26 February 2018 (UTC)
Ok so how about finding verifiable sources for how "the baltic states" as a concept came from balts or baltic germans then? There are none. I've kept linking to one source after another that says the name came from the baltic sea. While there have been zero sources that claim that the name has come from balts or baltic germans. And that's the response you have? SørenKierkegaard (talk) 17:12, 26 February 2018 (UTC)
One of the links you have provided leads to the book by Andres Kasekamp. Kasekamp confirms at least one of the statements that you want to delete from this article. User:Xil has also mentioned this to you. I think Kasekamp's observation should be included to the article. This is my last posting for some time, since whenever I want to post there is an edit conflict. Talk/♥фĩłдωəß♥\Work 17:19, 26 February 2018 (UTC)
Vague answers are impossible to deal with. What exactly does he confirm? On what page? The only question here is: Did "the baltic states" as a concept develop from the baltic languages or baltic germans? If not, the language section has no place there. How is this even an issue? Both of the two statements I tried to delete are correct. But they do not belong in this article. Why would they? ""The term “Baltic languages” - named after the Baltic Sea - was coined by German linguist GHF Nesselmann…”" Source, Preface, first sentence. SørenKierkegaard (talk) 17:29, 26 February 2018 (UTC)
Even the etymology on the Balts page makes more sense than the disaster this page currently has. SørenKierkegaard (talk) 17:34, 26 February 2018 (UTC)
Please, read the bold quotation of yours and see that it says Baltic languages, not Baltic states. You should read the rest of that page, especially the second paragraph. Talk/♥фĩłдωəß♥\Work 17:52, 26 February 2018 (UTC)
Oh my god yes. Exactly. It says the baltic languages. So what are languages doing on this page? How are they connected in etymology to "the baltic states"? There is no connection. They can be on the etymology page of the Baltic Sea and probably Baltic Germans. SørenKierkegaard (talk) 19:09, 26 February 2018 (UTC)
Some more content on how the term was different in the past. Sweden, Denmark and Finland had nothing to do with the Baltic Germans. SørenKierkegaard (talk) 20:40, 26 February 2018 (UTC)


A section that could be titled something like "Evolution of the term" or similar

  • The Germans who are the elite of roughly what is now EE and LV decide to start calling themselves baltendeutsche, one way or another their presence calls for defining a specific cultural area -- the "Ostsee provinces" which would be translated into English as "Baltic provinces" distinguished by the highest literacy rate in the Russian empire, Reformation, etc... [probably better to keep this short]
  • After the WWI the definition of Baltic states expands considerably (also called payses litoranees (I don't know hot to spell it) in french, meaning "coastal countries") including Finland which for centuries has had a Swedish elite and Lithuania which has had close ties with Poland (often turbulent)
  • After WWII Finland has escaped incorporation into the Soviet Union and becomes a Nordic country not the least of reasons being its centuries long ties with Sweden. The 3 smaller Baltic countries are annexed by USSR, after its collapse they re-establish their independence giving rise to what is today most commonly understood as the Baltic states, 3 countries who despite their Soviet passed are determined to re-establish themselves as a part of the West.

^this is a very rough draft. Soeren, would you be happy with such a "Evolution of the term" section? Is this what you want? (i.e., showing that the definition has been somewhat fluid.) Neitrāls vārds (talk) 21:30, 26 February 2018 (UTC)

Yes, exactly, thank you! I would just add to your draft that the overall structure would be something as follows. Some details can be left out or some added. I’ve tried to keep this as clean from any nationalism or POV as humanly possible.
The geopolitical term “The Baltic states”:
1) The name came from the sea (early middle age references)
2) The term came to mean “the countries around the baltic sea”, mostly Sweden and Denmark, sometimes also Prussia and The Russian Empire. Also sometimes called the Baltic lands.
3) In the East, there were the Baltic (Sea) Provinces of Sweden - Estland & Livland. After which they became the Imperial provinces together with Finland - at which point Finland first started existing as a separate geopol entity from Sweden.
4) Throughout the period from the early middle ages, Estland, Livland and western Lithuania had the local baltic germans who also called themselves by the sea. The term “balts” also then got started. For a long time, the terms “The Baltic states” and “The Baltic provinces” existed simultaneously as two different terms.
5) After WW1, a new set or countries emerged from the russian empire on the Eastern Baltic, which also became known as The Baltic states - Finland included
6) At the same time - starting a decade earlier - Sweden, Denmark and Norway were looking to form closer bonds and evolved to call themselves Nordic during the advent of Nordicism (A successor to Scandinavism). (PS: interesting read on the massive debates between being “Scandinavian” or “Nordic”. Sweden pushed for “Nordic” because it also wanted Finland included.)
7) Finland decided on a nordic integration course and gradually stopped being defined as baltic
8) Occupation - "The Baltic states" kept existing as a term for the occupied three countries of EE / LV / LT
9) Three newly independent states on the Baltic who fought for freedom together - colloquially known today as “The Baltic states”.

SørenKierkegaard (talk) 12:17, 27 February 2018 (UTC)

Edit: Source linkings for future reference: nr5
No. There is no need to repeat the same content over and over again and stray into discussing something that is the subject matter of other articles. ~~Xil (talk) 13:25, 27 February 2018 (UTC)
Your comment does not address anything. You are also showing 0 good faith towards improving the article. This above is the evolution of the term. "Baltic languages" have nothing to do with the term. That is all there is to it. You seem to be having a very strong POV towards having this article looking something like "The Baltic Union". I'm sorry, this is not an article about a Union, this is an article about a geopolitical term. The Union has never existed. The tendency to be against showing the real history of the term might be explained by an editor having a connected Identity to the concept of "The Baltic States" as common union. Which I can understand. But this is hindering to show the geopolitical term in it's correct context. This is still a historic geopolitical term. This is not the "History of Livonia". You can always add a section to the article, quoting sources which say that for many people in the three countries, the term also constitutes a part of their identity. For example this survey:
"We studied this in the 2010-2013 (Valk et al 2013) project ‘Different Nations - Shared Experiences’ led by Foundation Unitas, which examined the identity, attitudes, awareness, and knowledge of history of high school students in Estonia, Latvia, Finland and Sweden. A clear distinction between the identities of Estonian-speaking and Russian-speaking pupils was shown by the study, which is why these two groups are presented as distinct on Figure 4.5.2. In the identity of Estonian-speaking pupils, just like in those of Sweden, Finland and Latvian-speaking pupils in Latvia, the most important element is being a citizen of the country. This is followed in Estonia by the identity of being a citizen of the European Union; in Finland by the identity of a Nordic person; in Sweden by the identity of being a Scandinavian; and in Latvia by the identity of being a Baltic person."

SørenKierkegaard (talk) 14:26, 27 February 2018 (UTC)

Stop putting words in my mouth. ~~Xil (talk) 15:07, 27 February 2018 (UTC)

OK, I made a bad call, devoting a section to the slight fluidity of the concept is not going to placate this user. He has just now removed a history section spanning 700 years (what I would very roughly call the "Baltic German era" which happens to be shared by Estonia and Latvia) with a false statement of "consensus on the talk page" as edit summary.

Looking at some of his other edits, my guess would be that his thinking goes something like "if only Estonia could disassociate from dirty Latvia, maybe then Sweden would accept us as Nordic!"

(this also shows a fundamental lack of understanding how instrumental Scandinavian language is for Nordic identity, it is 1st and foremost about no/se/dk being mutually intelligible varieties of one "macrolanguage", alternatively it being a mandatory school subject in areas where non-mutually intelligible languages are spoken, this is what's at the core of Nordic identity. I don't mean Northern European (which Estonia is) I mean specifically *Nordic*. Instead of vandalizing wiki you should be petitioning your gov't to introduce mandatory Swedish, I promise you, it will make all the difference ;))

You will say assume good faith but this situation is bizarre and extremely disruptive. Descriptions of Latvian history should not suffer because because it happens to be shared with Estonia. The least he could do is limit it to Estonia-specific articles (i.e., deleting any events between 1200-1900 except for the ones involving Denmark and Sweden) Something tells me other Estonian editors wouldn't be too happy with this though.

I truly wish Estonia luck in un-becoming Baltic and becoming Nordic (although my personal opinion is that both of these labels will become less important in the future), is it one right now though?

  • there are thousands upon thousands of articles defining Baltics as exactly: ee, lv and lt
  • Estonia being classed as Nordic is marginal to nonexistent in sources.

This user seems to think that he is going to "wish it into existence" by editing Wikipedia articles, extremely disruptively at that. Not only "filtering" Estonian history but deleting coverage of other countries' history.

How can this situation be remedied? Neitrāls vārds (talk) 23:22, 28 February 2018 (UTC)

Remedy? Try WP:AE. Regards, Nug (talk) 08:01, 1 March 2018 (UTC)
Neitrals Vards, Estonia obviously has a lot in common with Latvia throughout history. But is this an article about "Livonian history" or "Latvian history" ? "The Baltic states" as a geopolitical term to link EE, LV and LT as a single group started in 1918. I'm sorry, I don't understand the issue here? This doesn't have anything to do with Estonia's "nordic identity" - I haven't added a single word on this here. Yes, Estonia is commonly grouped as a "Baltic state".
Focusing on this article - what are the sourced arguments for listing pre-1918 history here? If the governorates of Estland and Livland were not "Baltic states", why should they be here? Why not add Finnish history as well then? And Lithuanian. Again, this is not "History of Livonia", this is a historic geopolitical term that in the context of this article spans three (not two) countries. I suppose a region could technically be here pre-1918 if sources claim that the current use of the geopolitical term "The Baltic states" developed from those regions.
And it's commonly known that "Baltic" is the sea. So if "Baltic" is the sea, then for any other term you can use the formula [Sea] states, [Sea] Germans, [Sea] governorates, [Sea] languages, [Sea] region. It isn't a synonym for EE-LV as some appear to think. And I have nothing against Estonia being referred to as a "Baltic state". Don't know why this comes up. Obviously it is often grouped as a "Baltic state" and wiki should reflect that. SørenKierkegaard (talk) 12:46, 1 March 2018 (UTC)
Søren, do we really need to go through arbitration and get you banned as Nug suggests? I've encouraged you multiple times to cover the idea of Estonia being Nordic in a different article, yet instead, you made half-assed attempt at writing it full of unobjective propaganda that almost got deleted and are back disrupting this article. Like it or not there is this parallel concept of there being a Baltic region that includes Estonia and an article on it is not a soapbox for you to preach why it's wrong or remove content from it out of spite. And for the rest of you - do we really lack consensus about something here? ~~Xil (talk) 18:08, 1 March 2018 (UTC)
What are you talking about? Why are you even mentioning this "Nordic Estonia" topic? There has been 0 content on this here and I've not written a single letter on it. This is absolutely mental. I'm addressing real issues on the article page that have nothing to do with what you are talking about. Did the "Baltic states" as a geopolitical term for grouping EE, LV and LT exist before 1918? If not, then why are you adding this content here? You guys are unable to even talk about this. SørenKierkegaard (talk) 19:18, 1 March 2018 (UTC)
And YES, let's go through arbitration. You have been unable to discuss these topics and answer the relevant questions. SørenKierkegaard (talk) 19:23, 1 March 2018 (UTC)
Frankly having a discussion with you is annoying when you flood the talk page with walls of text that you constantly edit and then on top of it create multiple sections. It also makes it very hard to follow what anyone besides you is saying. So really I'd like to find out now if anyone else thinks there really is a problem with the content ~~Xil (talk) 20:20, 1 March 2018 (UTC)
I didn't think the article really needed radical change, after all, it had evolved over the years to its present state. I agree that starting multiple sections with walls of text does make it difficult to follow what is going on. --Nug (talk) 10:46, 5 March 2018 (UTC)

Sorry if I missed something in previous long discussions but I don't see how etymology of "Baltic languages" are part of etymology of "Baltic states" - so I think that should be removed. Relevance of "Baltic Germans" also remains unclear. Kasekamp book (referenced above) has vague wording and don't directly say that "Baltic states" has (some of) its roots in Baltic Germans. If Baltic states or Baltic countries marked some area (lands around Baltic sea?) already in 19th century it should be mentioned. --Minnekon (talk) 22:58, 9 March 2018 (UTC)

I support Minnekon here SørenKierkegaard (talk) 17:26, 12 March 2018 (UTC)

Newly independent countries on the Baltic Sea (Interwar period)[edit]

This section should be greatly expanded now to show the common history of the three in the interwar period. Economic development, construction, etc. Latvia had lots of industry and economic development, etc. What should the agreed structure be here? I'd propose a mix of political history and economic development SørenKierkegaard (talk) 10:47, 1 March 2018 (UTC)

That would be a useful addition. --Nug (talk) 10:49, 5 March 2018 (UTC)

Starting the article from 1918[edit]

Did the "Baltic states" as a geopolitical term for grouping EE, LV and LT exist before 1918? If not, then why are some (Latvian) editors insisting on having this content? Does anyone have a legitimate explanation for this?

Is this an article about "Livonian history" or "Latvian history"? If the governorates of Estland and Livland were not "Baltic states", why should they be here? Why not add Finnish history as well then? And Lithuanian. This is not "History of Livonia", this is a historic geopolitical term that in the context of this article spans three (not two) countries. I suppose a region could technically only be here pre-1918 if sources claim that the current use of the geopolitical term "The Baltic states" developed from those regions. SørenKierkegaard (talk) 19:37, 1 March 2018 (UTC)

"State" implies a soveign entity, prior to their independence in 1918 Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania were not states but provinces. That said there should be some historical context of events prior to 1918, the Baltic state didn't suddenly appear out of thin air in 1918, there is also the history of the rise of national consciousness prior to 1918, so some earlier history is needed. --Nug (talk) 10:42, 5 March 2018 (UTC)
Yes but that is the national consciousness of EE-LV-LT; not the common national consciousness of “The Baltic states” - it’s a geopolitical grouping term.SørenKierkegaard (talk) 23:31, 6 March 2018 (UTC)
Well yes, the term "Baltic states" is a geopolitical term, but all three (and Finland too) have a common history starting around the 18th century when this region was absorbed into Imperial Russia, then national consciousness developed in the 19th century in the respective countries, followed by the emergence of four independent countries in the 20the century in the wake of WW1 with the end of the Russian empire. Then around WW2 we have the Soviet Union attempting to recover these territories (unsuccessful in the case of Finland), followed by the post-war occupation of EE-LV-LT while FI transformed itself into a "Nordic country". I think we need that historical context to explain why we have the geopolitical concept of the "Baltic states" today. --Nug (talk) 09:15, 7 March 2018 (UTC)
This whole issue is troublingly Procrustean. But if independence is such a huge problem, perhaps the article could be renamed to "Baltics", which appears to be popular lately, it would also address concerns some people have about the meaing of this or any other second word. On other hand it feels a bit slang to me ~~Xil (talk) 15:54, 7 March 2018 (UTC)
I have no problem with "Baltic states", since it is about the former Baltic provinces that became independent states in 1918 (interesting to note second spike around re-independence)[3]. --Nug (talk) 07:50, 8 March 2018 (UTC)
"The Baltic states" has a much wider historic meaning than "Baltics". They're not synonyms historically. I agree with Nug that the wider historical context, including Finland, needs to be brought in - in the histories of the regions. And maybe also the 18th and 19th century Sweden-Denmark, in the context of the development of the term, not the histories of the two countries. SørenKierkegaard (talk) 19:13, 7 March 2018 (UTC)

I do not think removing earlier history in necessery, but support trimming it down. Especially as pre-13th century is currently completely missing and if we add that too it all gets really long. Part of earlier history connected to evolution of "Baltic states" concept is of course more important and should be covered in detail. --Minnekon (talk) 23:15, 9 March 2018 (UTC)

I think that if it ever gets added back it can be removed just as easily as it was few years ago, leaving only a little bit of early history needed to understand further developments. I don't see how that's an argument for trimming some unspecified information now ~~Xil (talk) 09:39, 11 March 2018 (UTC)
To clarify: you want to keep 13th-20th century history basically as it is now, but want very little or no pre-13th history? If so, why such discrimination against first 10 000 years of Baltic history? --Minnekon (talk) 15:19, 11 March 2018 (UTC)
Discrimination? Seriously? This article is not about territory, but modern geopolitical concept, information on pre-history clearly is irrelevant and would needlesly duplicate articles on particular countries and their histories. I still don't get what you want - do you also suggest to delete relevant information just because the term in the past didn't have exactly the same meaning as it does now, but also insist on adding info on nomadic deer hunters, if your demamds are not met? Seems a bit trollish ~~Xil (talk) 21:39, 11 March 2018 (UTC)
I explain my position once again: overview of era when Baltic states geopolitical concept has been used and explanation how that concept emerged is important and should be covered in detail. Earlier history of Baltic states territory that is not directly related to concept is less important and should be covered briefly. Now about your position. You seem to say that pre-13th century is irrelevant and not worth covering, but post-13th century history is worth covering. I asked on what basis do you make such differentiation, but you did not answer that question. Maybe there is good reason, but you should explain it. --Minnekon (talk) 18:35, 12 March 2018 (UTC)
I think we all agree that history section should reflect evolution of the concept and it allready does. You were saying that you want to trim something, but keep talking about content that isn't here. Without knowing what you're talking about I can only say that some details on historical background are needed for readers who may be complitely ignorant about the topic ~~Xil (talk) 00:00, 13 March 2018 (UTC)
I'm talking about trimming first 3 sections of history paragraph ("Northern Crusades", "Baltic dominions of Swedish Empire", "Baltic governates of Russian Empire") because (despite word "Baltic" is used there) they don't seem actually to talk about evolution of "Baltic states" concept. But if we would agree that this material is still somewhat relevant for general historical background, why exclude pre-13th historical background? --Minnekon (talk) 13:38, 13 March 2018 (UTC)
Let's pretend for a second that after WWI somebody didn't just come up with the novel idea of grouping random set of new countries under same exact name as used before for the provinces without knowing anything about it. Now we have this part that tells about what the term was used to refer to in the past and a bit of detail on historical background needed to understand other things covered in the article. There is no evidence that term was used during the stone age and that period isn't directly related to occurances in early modern and modern history - it isn't relevant information ~~Xil (talk) 16:23, 13 March 2018 (UTC)
There is no evidence that the term was used during the northern crusades either (not even baltic provinces). Baltic provinces are not the same as baltic states. And you do not need to assume anything. Wikipedia works with references. It makes perfect sense why "baltic governorates" would become "baltic states" when a governorate becomes an independent state. As is listed so many times before - a baltic state = a state on the coast of the baltic sea. It used to also mean Finland. And Sweden-Denmark in further history. "History of Livonia", Northern crusades, etc - they belong under the history of EE and LV. They are not integral topics in the article of the geopolitical term of "The Baltic states". The article ignores the relevant history of the term right now. SørenKierkegaard (talk) 09:11, 14 March 2018 (UTC)
"Now we have this part that tells about what the term was used to refer to in the past" - can you point out where exactly this part is in those 3 sections that I mentioned? I see only "historical background" and usage of same word, not term (WP:NOTDIC). I'm totally open to idea that for example "Baltic dominions of Swedish Empire" was early evolutionary stage of current Baltic states, but we need evidence for that. --Minnekon (talk) 17:45, 14 March 2018 (UTC)
If this is about a modern geopolitical concept then why is there livonian history on this page and not Sweden-Denmark? I fully support listing the history of the geopolitical term (how Sweden-Denmark were included in the past and Finland in the near-history). As a sidenote, we can also list a summary of the histories of the countries that are currently under the term. There are two separate topics here:
1) History of the term (including SE-DK-FI)
2) Histories of the countries currently under the term (histories of EE-LV-LT)
Under the history of the term, the baltic languages and baltic germans are completely off topic, as far as I can gather. There is not a single resource that connects those two topics to the development of the concept of "the baltic states". "Baltic" is the sea and everything else came from that. Sea languages, Sea germans, Sea states
SørenKierkegaard (talk) 17:23, 12 March 2018 (UTC)
There is no evidence that the term was used during the northern crusades either
Read the entire comment
It makes perfect sense why "baltic governorates" would become "baltic states" when a governorate becomes an independent state.
Exactly, therefore it makes sense to point out to previous concept, even if is not exactly the same thing as it is now - that's why it is history section
As is listed so many times before - a baltic state = a state on the coast of the baltic sea.
Baltic Sea States clearly are an entirely different concept. ~~Xil (talk) 21:06, 14 March 2018 (UTC)
And what exactly makes the northern crusades the magical stopping point then? Why not Estonian mythology? Or how about the Östersjöprovinserna section? Fine to add them if there are academic sources which say that the current grouping happened because of those swedish provinces. If no sources say that, this section should not exist. Currently that section does not have sources for this claim. The link to the Council has no relevance to anything in this discussion. It's a name for an organization. You seem to inherently think that "Baltic" has a deeper meaning than just the sea and the geopol. term that came from it SørenKierkegaard (talk) 17:57, 15 March 2018 (UTC)
The whole article is written in a very poor structure. Instead of using historical timeline - Prehistory, Medieval, Modern. etc., the article was written from a prospective of a colonial thinking - crusades, provinces of empire number 1, provinces of empire number 2. At least Lithuania doesn't fall into this schema. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Ke an (talkcontribs) 17:48, 20 May 2018 (UTC)
I agree. The article has serious problems. That's caused at least partly by the three countries being looked at as a similar / common region before they actually were one. What has been agreed by at least three editors on this talk page though is to start the article from 1918, as this is the first time when the current grouping under the name existed. Anything before that has no relevance to the term. For example how are the swedish dominions relevant to Lithuania, etc. Southern Latvia and Lithuania have a longer common history, as do Southern Estonia, later full of Estonia an Northern Latvia. But in no times were all regions together before 1918 as common "baltic states" so it's pointless to list pre-1918 history on an article page about a geopolitical term Blomsterhagens (talk) 19:16, 20 May 2018 (UTC)
Yes, it is quite difficult to project the current concept into the past. But there are more meaningful choices like 1) writing the history following classical time line of historical periods 2) write the history form a prospective of nation formation. As it is now - I find it even insulting to Estonia and Latvia being depicted like some faceless colonies being teared to pieces and sewed by empires coming and disappearing. Maybe the article really should focus more on 1918 and later periods.. - Ke an (talk) 19:44, 20 May 2018 (UTC)
Well the fact that they were torn to pieces and owned by different empires is true, that's just a fact. But there's no point in listing this on the "Baltic states" article page, because it's about a geopolitical term that first applied to EE + LV + LT only in 1918. "Estonian-Latvian history" or "Livonian history" would be a different topic for a different page. It's a tricky subject though, because part of Latvia was also together with Lithuania, etc. Blomsterhagens (talk) 10:03, 21 May 2018 (UTC)

Foreign language on the page[edit]

I don't understand why foreign letters are used on the page. I also don't understand why examples from foreign languages are used in the english wikipedia. This should only be used when there's proof that the names in russian or german have influenced the english names. That is not the case though. Again - Finland and Lithuania before 1918 were never "Baltikum" for the germans, nor was Finland "pribaltiiski" for the russian empire.

Example 1: the Baltic governorates of Russian Empire (Russian: Остзейские губернии, translit. Ostzejskie gubernii).. - what does this have to do with the english term "the baltic states?"

Example 2: [3] During 19th century "Baltic" started to surpass "Ostsee" as the name for the region.[citation needed] -- firstly that sentence probably means the german "Baltikum", not "Baltic states", which are two different things historically. Baltikum, historically = Livonia. Second, again - what does this have to do with the english term "the baltic states?"

Example 3: Officially its Russian equivalent "Прибалтийский" was first used in 1859.[3] - what does this have to do with the english term "the baltic states?" And why are we using foreign letters here?


All those three in etymology make no sense to me. What on earth has this page got to do with how a region was/is called in Russia? Blomsterhagens (talk) 17:39, 20 May 2018 (UTC)

English name obviously isn't neologism coined by English speakers, but a borrowing from languages spoken in the region. It's also normal to discuss foreign influences in an etymology section. For languages not written in Latin alphabet it is a normal practice to state the names in alphabet they use as well. It isn't suggested that Finland and Lithuania were part of Baltics prior to 1918. It is suggested that the term didn't magically come out of thin air in 1918. Also if you insist on removing discussion on the terms origin being related to Baltic Germans and them refering to themselves as Balts influencing evolution of the term then discusing that Balts only later started to be used for Latvians and Lithuanians is not relevant in any way ~~Xil (talk) 20:09, 20 May 2018 (UTC)
There is no credible proof that term Baltic states appeared following Baltic germans. -- Ke an (talk) 20:23, 20 May 2018 (UTC)
I agree with Ke an. Also - Xil - Nobody is saying that the term did not exist before 1918. Exactly the opposite, the term has existed for hundreds of years. What we're saying is that the term first applied for EE + LV + LT in 1918. These are two separate topics. Blomsterhagens (talk) 10:00, 21 May 2018 (UTC)
And also - to quote you Xil - "English name obviously isn't neologism coined by English speakers, but a borrowing from languages spoken in the region. " - 1) You have no sources for your claim that the english language term "the baltic states" came from the german "baltikum". And you couldn't have, because that did not happen. Finland, Denmark, Sweden, Lithuania were never a part of the german "Baltikum". There are no sources for this and plenty of sources that claim otherwise. Were Estonia and Latvia called "Baltic states" in english because of the german "Baltikum"? Maybe - but that would not explain Finland. And there are no sources that claim this either. Blomsterhagens (talk) 10:06, 21 May 2018 (UTC)
I have never claimed it came from German "Baltikum". What sources say is that terms that initally had to do with name of the sea in Germanic languages got replaced by terms based on the modern name of the sea in 19th century and it was due to adoption by local Germans. Obviously after WWI the usage expanded to include countries in simmilar geopolitical situation. I find the idea that the term refered to Scandinavian states but replaced it due to them renaming themselves Nordic to be dubious given your past attempts to promote the idea that Estonia is Nordic, but if "Baltic States" have been historically used simmilarly as "Baltic Sea States" are now I guess there is no harm in noting it. And you have not explained why it has been crucial to copy paste etymology from the article on Balts ~~Xil (talk) 19:37, 21 May 2018 (UTC)
So I looked into that copy-paste from Balts page and found that source given does not support the claim. It actually comes from another source there - a book which makes it very clear that the statement in question applies only to usage in liguistics. It also seperatelly discusses other conotations of the term and not only supports my sources in Latvian that state that Baltic replaced earlier terms for the region due to Baltic German influence and that the same term came to be applied to independent countries in 1918, but also states that in general usage of "Baltic" in modern languages comes from usage in German. I updated the text here accordingly ~~Xil (talk) 22:59, 21 May 2018 (UTC)
Your own Endre Botjar reference on page 11 claims the same thing - that "Baltic" started to be used for defining the Baltic language family after they became known as the baltic states. Yes it's about linguistics but from my POV, it's relevant on that page. But I can live with a compromise to not talk about linguistics on the etymology section. But now - why do we have Russian examples on the etymology section? What has that got to do with anything? How is russian more relevant than how the region was called in icelandic or finnish? Blomsterhagens (talk) 07:31, 22 May 2018 (UTC)
No, it doesn't. It says that the term became prevalent after independence i.e. it discusses how one proposed term won over other historically used terms. It belongs to a wider discussion of how naming for that language group developed, not how naming for this region developed. The source also very clearly distinguishes between discussing origins of these different terms. Russian is more relevant because the region used to be part of the Russian empire, official terms changing both demonstrates adoption of the term and could have further influenced wider adoption of it. ~~Xil (talk) 08:54, 22 May 2018 (UTC)

Helsinki-Tallinn twin-city region[edit]

Estonia and Finland have quite a considerable cooperation nowadays. Talsinki, Same databases, Upcoming common public transport, + the economic side. I don't really know where this should be mentioned. Estonia-Finland relations page? A subsection on this page? A new wiki page? Officially Tallinn & Helsinki are called a twin-city region. Blomsterhagens (talk) 13:55, 22 May 2018 (UTC)

Well, if you have an article on this twin city region that's an obvious place to start. Estonia-Finland relations and articles on the countries and the cities also would be relevant. I don't see how bi-lateral relations each country has with other countries are relevant here (unless it touches upon some wider issue e.g. Rail Baltic being conected to Finland or policy in all three countries to maintain good relationship with US) ~~Xil (talk) 18:16, 22 May 2018 (UTC)