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Estonia Independence Day – February 24, 2023

Estonia Independence Day is observed every year on February 24. This holiday marks the historic day that the Republic of Estonia was formed on February 24, 1918. After decades of ceaseless effort by the people of this multicultural country, Estonia finally won its independence after a long-time struggle that included two World Wars.

History of Estonia Independence Day

Announced from the balcony of the Endia Theatre in Parnu, the Manifesto to the Peoples of Estonia was declared on February 23, 1918. The historic moment was crowned by lusty singing as the crowd began to sing what later became Estonia’s national anthem — a song titled ‘Mu isamaa, mu onn ja room,’ meaning ‘My Fatherland, My Happiness, and Joy.’ The following day, February 24, the Manifesto was published after it arrived in Tallinn, the nation’s capital. Thus, the Republic of Estonia was born.

Estonia has faced many battles for its independence. Before the declaration in 1918, Soviet Russia controlled Estonia. However, once the Russians left and the Manifesto was read, Germany began a forced occupation until the end of World War I. Faced with defeat, the Germans were left with no choice but to return power to the Provisional Government on November 19. This triumph for the Estonians was short-lived as Soviet Russia once again swept in only nine days later on November 28, 1918, leading to the Estonian War of Independence.

The war eventually came to an end in February 1920 with the signing of the Tartu Peace Treaty, in which Soviet Russia promised never to lay claim to Estonia. This promise was broken in 1940 when they again invaded Estonia, forcing the government to surrender to Soviet rule during World War II. On August 6, 1940, Estonia became the Estonian S.S.R. In 1941, Estonia was recaptured once again by Germany. Later, the Soviets again took control of power.

In 1988, independence movements began by forming political parties and protests. Finally, on August 20, 1991, Estonia declared its restoration of independence, which was later recognized by the Soviets on September 6. On September 17, the United Nations admitted and recognized Estonia as an independent nation.

Estonia Independence Day timeline

11,000 Years Ago
The First Settlers

Humans begin settling in what is now known as Estonia.

The Manifesto

The Manifesto to the Peoples of Estonia is declared in Parnu, Estonia.

The Peace Treaty

The Tartu Peace Treaty is signed between Soviet Russia and Estonia.

League of Nations

Estonia is admitted to the League of Nations.

Estonia Independence Day FAQs

Does Estonia have a President or a Prime Minister?

Estonia has both a President — Alar Kari and a Prime Minister — Juri Ratas.

Do people speak English in Estonia?

Yes. Estonia has a large number of people that speak English.

What is the population of Estonia?

Estonia is home to approximately 1.3 million people.

Estonia Independence Day Activities

  1. Celebrate with Estonia

    You may not be from Estonia but it’s a great day to show love to our Estonian brothers and sisters across the world. Write a goodwill message to all Estonians and share it across your social media platforms.

  2. Learn an Estonian word

    Languages are a connecting factor among people. Take a minute to learn at least one word in Estonian. You never know when you might need it.

  3. Use the hashtag

    Don’t forget to use the hashtag #estoniaindependenceday as a way to get more attention to your post. Let all your followers and friends know we’re celebrating the people of Estonia.

5 Things You Didn't Know About Estonia

  1. It has many islands

    Estonia is home to over 2,000 islands.

  2. Wife-carrying is a sport

    In Estonia, a sport called ‘wife-carrying’ exists, where husbands must complete a race while holding their wives upside down on their backs!

  3. Estonian is widely-spoken

    Estonian, the language of Estonia, is the world’s second most-spoken Finnic language.

  4. Old Town is very old

    A place called Old Town in Tallinn is the most intact medieval town in all of Europe.

  5. Estonia and Finland have something in common

    The national anthems of Finland and Estonia use the same melody with different lyrics.

Why We Love Estonia Independence Day

  1. The struggle for independence

    Estonia’s journey towards independence was a long and tedious one. Their story teaches resilience and grit even in the face of fierce opposition.

  2. Freedom from oppression

    While under Soviet and German rule, Estonia faced brutal and oppressive regimes that led to the loss of many lives. Their historic independence brings a joyful end to a long and hard battle, proving that the people will always prevail.

  3. Love for the nation

    This special independence day is doubly glorious because of the fierce love Estonians displayed by being willing to fight for their freedom. Not only does it show perseverance, but it also shows love.

Estonia Independence Day dates

2023February 24Friday
2024February 24Saturday
2025February 24Monday
2026February 24Tuesday
2027February 24Wednesday

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