War of Independence

Regular stamps issued by Estonia's Postal Service.
On the left : stamp issued in 1928 featuring Estonia's Coat of Arms.
On the right : stamp issued in 1919 featuring a Viking-type boat

Estonia a Democratic Republic, 1920-1934

The PEACE OF TARTU, signed in February 1920, established Estonian independence and full control over it's territory. A CONSTITUTION was passed, the state assembly called RIIGIKOGU created. UNIVERSAL ADULT SUFFRAGE was introduced, the age limit being 20. A step of major political importance was the LAND REFORM (10. 10. 1919); the large estates owned by the German minority were confiscated (their owners expropriated), broken up and given out to tenants who now became landholding farmers.
The country's main economic base was agriculture; it's small industry traditionally was oriented on the Russian market (St. Petersburg); with the establishment of a socialist economy in Russia, Estonia's economy had to look for new markets. Germany and all of central and eastern Europe being in a severe post-war crisis, that market was only to be found in Scandinavia and the west.
This transition was hard, but compared with the other newly established republics of eastern central Europe, proceeded less chaotic; Estonia experienced some inflation, but no hyperinflation.
A Communist coup d'etat in 1924 failed. Estonia saw the frequent change of cabinets.
In 1928 the MARK currency was replaced by the new KROON currency.

Estonia 1850-1939, from Estonica
Library of Congress, Country Studies : Estonia
DOCUMENTS Estonian banknotes, from Ron Wise's World Paper Money
Traite d'alliance defensive entre les Republiques de Lettonie et d'Estonie du 1er novembre 1923 (Treaty of Defensive Alliance signed between the Republics of Estonia and Latvia, 1923), from Lettonie-Russie. Traites et Documents de base, in French
Traite du 17 fevrier 1934 entre la Lettonie et l'Estonie pour l'organisation de l'Alliance. (Treaty between Latvia and Estonia concerning the Organization of the Alliance, 1934), from Lettonie-Russie. Traites et Documents de base, in French
Traite d'entente et de cooperation entre la Lettonie, la Lithuanie et l'Estonie du 12 septembre 1934 (Treaty of Alliance and Cooperation between Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, 1934), from Lettonie-Russie. Traites et Documents de base, in French
REFERENCE David G. Kirby, The Baltic World 1772-1993, London : Longman 1995
Article : Estonia, in : Statesman's Yearbook 1924 pp.841-845, 1925 pp.852-856, 1926 pp.825-829, 1928 pp.839-843, 1929 pp.827-832, 1932 pp.829-834 [G]
Article : Estonia, in : Americana Annual 1927 pp.308-309, 1928 pp.277, 1930 pp.286-287, 1931 pp.291-292, 1932 pp.255-256, 1933 pp.285-287, 1934 pp.225-226 [G]
Article : Esthonia, in : New International Year Book 1920 pp.211-212, 1921 pp.213-214, 1923 pp.218-219, 1925 pp.229-230, 1928 pp.239-240, 1930 pp.250-251, Estonia 1932 pp.263-264, 1933 pp.247-248, 1934 pp.217-218 [G]
Article : Estonia, in : Funk & Wagnall's New Standard Encyclopedia Year Book 1932 pp.234-235, 1933 pp.188-189, 1934 pp.209-210 [G]

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted in 2000, last revised on August 24th 2007

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