Estonia: Identity and Independence

By Jean-Jacques Subrenat; David Cousins et al. | Go to book overview

Chronology

Ca. 9500 B.C. The last glaciers of the continental ice sheet retreat from northwest Estonia, and the first tundra species from the south begin to arrive in areas freed from ice. Later, humans also arrive.

Ca. 9000 B.C. The earliest known traces of human inhabitation in Estonia (socalled Kunda settlement sites along the lower reaches of the Pärnu River).

Ca. 4000 B.C. The Estonian climate is the most favourable of all time: broadleaved forests inhabited by bison, aurochs and wild boar predominate. The use of large clay vessels with linear decorations — so-called comb ceramics — spreads among the Estonian hunter-gatherer tribes. These populations are considered to be the direct ancestors of the Balto-Finnic peoples.

3200 B.C. Animal husbandry and primitive agriculture — the so-called Boat Axe and Corded Ware Culture — spread gradually in Estonia as a cultural loan and apparently also through migration to the area.

1800 B.C. The first bronze objects arrive in Estonia via Scandinavia and the Volga region. Agriculture becomes more intense on the shallow alvar soils of northern Estonia, although the people continue to subsist mainly from hunting, and in coastal areas from fishing and seal hunting.

800 B.C. Fortifications begin to be constructed for the protection of both the trade routes passing through Estonia, and local bronze processing centres. A new burial practice originating from northern Estonia spreads across the land (above-ground burials in stone coffins).

Ca. 600 B.C. A meteorite falls at Kaali on the island of Saaremaa: the sun-like [setting] of the bright meteorite has a strong influence on the attitudes and understandings of the people who inhabit the region at this time.

Ca. 500 B.C. Beginning of the Iron Age in Estonia. The new and valuable metal is initially also used for the making of ornaments.

330 B.C. Greek geographer and astronomer Pytheas begins a journey from Marseilles to Thule, the northern end of Europe, and presumably for the first time, describes the territory of Estonia.

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