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
Humans begin settling in what is now known as Estonia.
The Manifesto to the Peoples of Estonia is declared in Parnu, Estonia.
The Tartu Peace Treaty is signed between Soviet Russia and Estonia.
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
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.
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.
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
It has many islands
Estonia is home to over 2,000 islands.
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!
Estonian is widely-spoken
Estonian, the language of Estonia, is the world’s second most-spoken Finnic language.
Old Town is very old
A place called Old Town in Tallinn is the most intact medieval town in all of Europe.
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
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.
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.
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