The Germans in Estonia – from driving force to loss of power
One may find names of German descent on several memorials and gravestones in Estonia. German words decorate places like archways of country houses, churches, schools etc – an unmistakable indication of a long German-Estonian past.
Traditionally, the Baltic Germans dominated in politics, trade and culture, however, their power started to decline only with the Industrialisation at the end of the 19th century. Now, Estonia discovered its national consciousness. At the same time, the structure of the population began to change to the disadvantage of the German minority.
In 1918, Estonia became politically independent for the first time and due to the implemented land reforms, Germans lost their property all over the country.
What remains is a number of words of German origin in the Estonian language and the awareness of the similarities, which existed between the two countries. People have learned to approach each other. The remaining 3.500 Germans have fully assimilated into the Estonian society.
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