The Esti, mentioned by Tacitus, appeared on the Baltic perhaps even before the beginning of our era. It passed through their territory in the 9th century. the way of the Varangians to Novgorod and Kiev, and in 1030 the Russian prince Jaroslav founded the fortress of Yur′ev on the site of the Estonian settlement of Tartu. In 1217 the Estonia southern fell into the hands of the order of the swordtails, founded in 1202, supported by Albert bishop of Riga, then allied with Valdemaro II of Denmark for the conquest of the country. In 1237 the swordtails merged with the Order of the Teutonic Knights, which in 1346 bought the sovereign rights over the Estonia northern. Enter the Baltic cities into the orbit of the Hansa, a dominant German stratum was also forming in Estonia, composed of a city merchant class and an ever stronger landed nobility. With the secularization of the Teutonic Order (1525) Lutheran penetration began; but in Livonia a branch of the old knightly order was kept alive until 1561, when Estonia In the north it passed under Swedish sovereignty and a long period of struggles between Poland, Russia and Sweden began on the Baltic coast. The latter in 1660 also had sovereignty over Estonia southern.
- In 1721 Sweden ceded the Baltic provinces to Peter the Great ; the next two centuries were characterized by the preponderance of Balto-German barons, who reduced the Estonian agricultural population in the harshest conditions of servitude. Only in the second half of the 19th century. a movement of emancipation of the peasants was developing.
- The struggle against Germanism and Russism continued until the end of the First World War. With the Russian collapse (1917) an Estonian National Council took over the government of the country; in 1920, after the peace of Tartu, Russia recognized its independence. In the twenty years between the two world wars, Estonia, strengthened internally by the agrarian reform that hit the Baltic-German nobility hard, entrusted the League of Nations, as well as a policy of strict neutrality between Moscow and Berlin, to maintain the own independence. In 1934 he entered the Baltic Entente with Lithuania and Latvia; after the Russian-German juxtaposition in 1939, the three countries ended up in the Soviet sphere of influence. The installation of the first military bases of the Red Army was followed by the formation of a puppet government, the signing of a pact of mutual assistance with Russia and the incorporation of the Soviet socialist republics (1940). After a period of German occupation (1941-44), Estonia it then returned to be part of the USSR until 1991, when it recognized its independence.
- Although Moscow continued to be one of the country’s main trading partners, the desire to escape Russian influence has fueled the trend towards rapid integration in the Western sense: Estonia has been a member of the Council of Baltic Sea States since 1992 and of the Council of Europe since 1993; in 2004 it entered the European Union and NATO; since 2007 it is included in the Schengen area. From the first political elections after independence, the government has alternated center-right and center coalitions. L. Meri was the first President of the Republic (1992-2001), followed by A. Ruutel (2001-06), and TH Ilves since 2006, reconfirmed for a second term in 2011. The parliamentary elections of 2011 and 2015 have confirmed to the government the Estonian Reformist Party, which in March 2014 formed a coalition with the Social Democratic Party and the Conservatives and chosen as Prime Minister T. Rõivas, disheartened by Parliament in November 2016 after the dissolution of the tripartite coalition; in the same month the task of forming a new government was entrusted to the centrist leader J. Ratas. In October 2016, K. Kaljulaid, who took over from Ilves, was elected president of the country. In the political elections held in March 2019, the center-right reformist party (28.8% votes) obtained the relative majority, while the centrist party of the outgoing premier Ratas remained almost stable (23.1%), and a clear affirmation recorded the far-right populist party Eesti Konservatiivne Rahvaerakond (EKRE), which saw a clear increase in support (from 8.7 in 2015 to 17.8%). The European consultations held in the following May substantially confirmed these results, with the reformists being the leading political force in the country (26.2%), followed by the Social Democrats (23.3%), while EKRE was only in fourth place (12%). ), preceded by the centrists of Prime Minister Ratas’ Eesti Keskerakond (14.4%). In January 2021,
From 1 July to 31 December 2017 Estonia took over the presidency of the Council of the European Union.