During the 14th century Estonia was governed by the Germans, the Teutonic Order. In 1466 the Teutonic Order became tributary to the king of Poland, and from 1561 onwards Estonia was governed by Sweden. This lasted until 1709. In this year Peter the Great defeated the Swedes, and in 1721 the area officially became a part of Russia.
During the Russian period, until the First World War, present-day Estonia fell under two provinces: the north formed the province of Estonia with Reval (Tallinn) as its capital. The south formed the northern part of the province of Livonia with Riga as its capital.
For the collector of Estonia letters from this period with Estonian cancels belong to the collecting field.
1895, Picture postcard from Reval, the Russian name for Tallinn.
(75% of actual size)
During the First World War, after the collapse of the tsarist regime, Estonia was not completely conquered by the German army until February 1918.
Although independence was declared on February 24 the Germans were quite unconcerned.
With this German conquest Estonia, too, became part of the "Postgebiet Ober-Ost", the postal district of the Oberbefehlshaber Ost (Supreme Commander East).
Surcharges on German stamps were printed. The surcharge for "Postgebiet Ob. Ost" was printed in the same letter type as was used for "Russisch-Polen".
After the German capitulation (November 11, 1918) the Estonians succeeded in founding their own state, and on February 2, 1920 the Treaty of Tartu was concluded between independent Estonia and Russia.
In addition to the province of Estonia and the northern part of the province of Livonia some smaller parts of other provinces became part of Estonia.
Estonia would remain independent until 1940 and would issue stamps of its own.
In the tsarist period distinctive oval railway cancels were used for railway mail. In independent Estonia this tradition was continued and this is also a very interesting field of collecting:
(75% of actual size).
After a short period as Soviet republic Estonia was occupied by German troops in August 1941. This period also left its traces:
Postcard from Tallinn (75% of actual size).
After the war Estonia became a Soviet republic again. Of this period the Soviet cancellations of Estonian places might be collected, but also the much used postal stationary with an Estonian theme.
After the restauration of its independence Estonia issued its own stamps again on October 1, 1990.
Mixed frankings from the initial period can be found:
Cover with imprinted stamp from the Soviet period, with the theme Tallinn, (75% of actual size).
Additional franking with stamps of the Soviet Union and the once again independent Estonia.