This list is incomplete; you can help by adding missing items. (August 2008)

Below is a list of military conflicts in which Estonians participated on a larger scale or took place on Estonian territory. Items in bold are the wars most often considered to be major conflicts by Estonian historians and the general public.

Ancient Estonia

Battle of Brávellir in Sweden

The Middle Ages

Livonian Brothers of the Sword of the early 13th century
Battle of Lindanise during the Danish-led Campaign of the Livonian Crusade
Battle of the Ice in 1242
Map of Medieval Livonia in 1260
Ruins of Rakvere (Wesenberg) Castle
Kuressaare Castle

Estonia remained one of the last corners of medieval Europe to be Christianized. In 1193 Pope Celestine III called for a crusade against pagans in Northern Europe. The Northern Crusades from Northern Germany established the stronghold of Riga. With the help of the newly converted local tribes of Livs and Letts, the crusaders initiated raids into part of what is present-day Estonia from 1197.

The Reformation Period (1558–1721)

Siege of Narva in 1558
Battle of Narva in 1700
Battle of Ösel Island in 1719

By the late 1550s, the Reformation and Counter-Reformation had caused internal conflicts in Livonian Confederation, while its Eastern neighbour Russia had grown stronger after defeating the khanates of Kazan and Astrakhan. The conflict between Russia and the Western powers was exacerbated by Russia's isolation from sea trade. Neither could the tsar hire qualified labour in Europe.

Russian rule (1721–1918)

Battle of Reval in 1790
Map of Operation Albion of 1917

After the Great Northern War, the territory of Estonia was officially handed over to the Russian Empire in 1721. Conflicts that occurred in Estonia during that era:

Soldiers were conscripted among Estonians since 1796. At first, the term of service was 25 years, but was lowered to 20 years plus 5 years of reserve in 1834 and to 12 years plus 3 years of reserve in 1855. Estonians served in several wars involving the Russian Empire:

Independent Estonia (1918–1940)

Map of the Estonian War of Independence of 1918–1920

Estonia declared independence on 24 February 1918. After a brief German occupation in World War I, Estonia regained independence and was subsequently invaded by the Red Army. A series of conflicts followed:

Estonians also took part of the Estonian War of independence on the Soviet Russian side. They formed the puppet state Commune of the Working People of Estonia (1918–1919) in an effort to show the conflict as an Estonian civil war.

Other conflicts with Estonian volunteers:

Other conflicts of the time:

World War II (1940–1944)

Estonia declared its neutrality in 1938, but was forced to allow Soviet military bases on its territory in 1939 and was occupied and annexed by the Soviet Union in 1940. World War II brought a number of sub-conflicts:

Estonians fought on both the German and the Soviet side in the war, in all major battles involving Estonia. Other sub-conflicts of World War II with Estonian volunteers:

Soviet occupation (1944–1991)

After the Soviet recapture of Estonia, many Estonians went into hiding and waged a low intensity resistance to the Soviet regime:

During the Soviet occupation, many Estonians were conscripted to the Soviet Armed Forces and were recruited to fight in several wars involving the Soviet Union:

At the same time, many émigré Estonians also fought for Western nations, most notably for the United States, Canada, Australia and for the United Kingdom.

Independent Estonia (1991–onwards)

Estonia joined the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in 2004, and has taken part of the following conflicts:

List of conflicts involving Estonia since 1991

Estonia has also taken part in several peacekeeping missions:

See also


  1. ^ Enn Tarvel (2007). Sigtuna hukkumine. Haridus, 2007 (7-8), p 38–41
  2. ^ Tvauri, Andres (2012). The Migration Period, Pre-Viking Age, and Viking Age in Estonia. pp. 33, 59, 60. Retrieved 27 December 2016.
  3. ^ a b c Mäesalu, Ain (2012). "Could Kedipiv in East-Slavonic Chronicles be Keava hill fort?" (PDF). Estonian Journal of Archaeology. 1 (16supplser): 199. doi:10.3176/arch.2012.supv1.11. Retrieved 27 December 2016.