Puneet Varma (Editor)

Governorate of Estonia

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Political subdivisions  5
Autonomy granted  12 April 1917
Capital  Tallinn
Governorate of Estonia

The Governorate of Est(h)onia (Estonian: Eestimaa kubermang) or Duchy of Estonia, also known as the Government of Estonia, was a governorate of the Russian Empire in what is now northern Estonia. The Governorate was gained by the Russian Empire from Sweden during the Great Northern War in 1721. The Russian Tsars held the title Duke of Estonia (Russian: Князь Эстляндский, Knyaz' Estlyandskii), during the Russian era in English sometimes also referred to as Prince of Estonia.


Until the late 19th century the governorate was administered independently by the local Baltic German nobility through a feudal Regional Council (German: Landtag).

Historical overview

Initially named the Reval Governorate after the city of Reval, today known as Tallinn, it was created in 1719 out of territories conquered from Sweden in the Great Northern War. The former dominion of Swedish Estonia was formally ceded to Russia in the Treaty of Nystad in 1721. During subsequent administrative reordering, the governorate was renamed in 1796 into the Governorate of Estonia. While the rule of the Swedish kings had been fairly liberal with greater autonomy granted for the peasantry, the regime was tightened under the Russian tsars and serfdom was not abolished until 1819.

The governorate consisted the northern part of the present-day Estonia approximately corresponding to Harjumaa including the city of Tallinn, Western Virumaa, Eastern Virumaa, Raplamaa, Järvamaa, Läänemaa and Hiiumaa. After the Russian February Revolution on 12 April [O.S. 30 March] 1917) it was expanded to include northern Livonia, thereby forming the Autonomous Governorate of Estonia. Tallinn remained under Soviet control until 24 February 1918, when German troops occupied Estonia and Estonian independence was declared.


The governorate was subdivided into four Kreises (uyezds).

  • Kreis Wierland – Wesenberg
  • Kreis Jerwen – Weissenstein
  • Kreis Harrien – Reval (capital)
  • Kreis Wiek – Hapsal (including the Dagö island)
  • Leaders of the Governorate

  • 1710–1711 Rudolph Felix Bauer – General-Governor
  • 1711–1719 Prince Aleksandr Danilovich Menshikov – General-Governor
  • 1719–1728 Count Fyodor Matveyevich Apraksin – General-Governor
  • 1728–1736 Friedrich Baron von Löwen
  • 1736–1738 Sebastian Ernst von Manstein
  • 1738–1740 Gustaf Otto Douglas
  • 1740–1743 Woldemar von Löwendahl
  • 1743–1753 Peter August Friedrich von Holstein-Beck (1696–1775)
  • 1753–1758 Prince Vladimir Petrovich Dolgorukiy
  • 1758–1775 Peter August Friedrich von Holstein-Beck – General-Governor
  • 1775–1792 Count George Browne – General-Governor
  • 1783–1786 Georg Friedrich von Grotenhielm
  • 1786–1797 Heinrich Johann Baron von Wrangell
  • 1797–1808 Andreas von Langell
  • 1808–1809 Duke George of Oldenburg
  • 1809–1811 Vacant
  • 1811–1816 Duke August of Oldenburg
  • 1816–1819 Berend Baron Üxküll
  • 1819–1832 Gotthard Wilhelm Baron Budberg von Bönninghausen
  • 1832–1833 Otto Wilhelm von Essen
  • 1833–1841 Paul Friedrich von Benckendorff
  • 1842–1859 Johann Christoph Engelbrecht von Grünewaldt
  • 1859–1868 Wilhelm Otto Cornelius Alexander Ulrich
  • 1868–1870 Mikhail Nikolaiyevich Galkin-Vraskoy
  • 1870–1875 Prince Mikhail Valentinovich Shakhovskoy-Glebov-Strezhnev
  • 1875–1885 Viktor Petrovich Polivanov
  • 1885–1894 Prince Sergey Vladimirovich Shakhovskoy
  • 1894–1902 Yefstafiy Nikolaiyevich Skalon
  • 1902–1905 Aleksey Valerianovich Bellegarde
  • 16 March 1905 – October 1905 Aleksey Aleksandrovich Lopukhin
  • 1905–1906 Nikolay Georgiyevich von Bünting
  • 1906–1907 Pyotr Petrovich Bashilov
  • 1907–1915 Izmail Vladimirovich Korostovets
  • 1915–1917 Pyotr Vladimirovich Veryovkin
  • Language

  • According to the Imperial census of 1897. In bold are languages spoken by more people than the state language.
  • References

    Governorate of Estonia Wikipedia