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The Estonian Swedes, Estonia-Swedes, or Coastal Swedes
Swedes
(Swedish: estlandssvenskar, " Estonia
Estonia
Swedes", colloquially aibofolke, "Island People", Estonian: rannarootslased, i.e. "Coastal Swedes" or eestirootslased) are a Swedish-speaking minority traditionally residing in the coastal areas and islands of what is now western and northern Estonia. The beginning of the continuous settlement of Estonian Swedes
Swedes
in these areas (known as Aiboland) dates back to the 13th and 14th centuries, when their Swedish-speaking ancestors arrived in Estonia
Estonia
from what is now Sweden
Sweden
and Finland. Almost all of Estonia's Swedish-speaking minority fled to Sweden
Sweden
during World War II, and only the descendants of a few individuals who opted to stay are permanently resident in Estonia
Estonia
today.

Contents

1 History

1.1 Early history 1.2 Swedish Estonia 1.3 Russian rule

1.3.1 Forced emigrations

1.4 Conditions improve 1.5 World War II 1.6 Today

2 Areas of population and demographics 3 Language 4 See also 5 References 6 External links

History[edit]

Traditional Swedish Sprachraum, with Estonian dialects marked.

Early history[edit] The Swedish-speaking population in Estonia
Estonia
persisted for about 650 years. The first written mention of the Swedish population in Estonia comes from 1294, in the laws of the town of Haapsalu. Further early mentions of Swedes
Swedes
in Estonia
Estonia
came in 1341 and 1345 (when an Estonian monastery in Padise
Padise
sold "the Laoküla Estate" and Suur-Pakri
Suur-Pakri
Island to a group of Swedes). During the 13th through 15th centuries, large numbers of Swedes
Swedes
arrived in coastal Estonia
Estonia
from Swedish-speaking parts of Finland, which was part of the Kingdom of Sweden
Sweden
(and would remain so until 1809), often settling on Church-owned land. The first documented record of the island of Ruhnu
Ruhnu
(Swedish: Runö), and of its Swedish population, is also a 1341 letter sent by the Bishop of Courland which confirmed the islanders' right to reside and manage their property in accordance with Swedish law. Swedish Estonia[edit]

The Swedish Empire
Swedish Empire
in 1658, including the Dominion of Swedish Estonia and the Dominion of Swedish Livonia (now southern Estonia).

In 1561, Sweden
Sweden
established the Dominion of Swedish Estonia, which it would hold until 1710 (formally until 1721, when the territory was ceded to Russia under the Treaty of Nystad). The Estonia-Swedes prospered during this period. Swedish, along with German and Estonian, was one of the official languages. Russian rule[edit] After the Teutonic Order
Teutonic Order
lost much of its power in the 16th century and the Dominion of Swedish Estonia
Estonia
was lost to Russia following the Great Northern War
Great Northern War
(1700–1721), conditions worsened for Swedes
Swedes
in Estonia: the lands they had settled were often confiscated from the Church and given to local nobility, and taxes increased. This situation remained the same during Russian rule, and the Estonian Swedes' suffering continued as, for example, the Agrarian reforms which liberated the land of Estonian serfs in 1816, did not apply to Estonian (mostly non-serf) Swedes. Forced emigrations[edit] At certain times during Russian Estonia
Estonia
period, groups of Estonian Swedes
Swedes
were forced to leave Estonia
Estonia
for other parts of the Russian Empire. Most notably, Empress Catherine II of Russia
Catherine II of Russia
forced the 1,000 Swedes
Swedes
of Hiiumaa
Hiiumaa
(Swedish: Dagö), to move to Southern Russia (today littoral Ukraine) in 1781, where they established the community of Gammalsvenskby
Gammalsvenskby
(today within Kherson Oblast). See also: West Estonian archipelago Conditions improve[edit] The Estonian Swedes' positions improved during the 1850s and 1860s, due to further agrarian reforms, but discrimination remained during the rest of the period of Tsarist rule in Estonia. After the First World War and the Russian Revolution, the independent Republic of Estonia
Estonia
was created in 1918. The constitution of independent Estonia granted the ethnic minority groups the control over their language of education, the right to form institutions for their national and social rights, the right to use their native language in official capacities where they formed majorities of the population, and the choice of nationality. Swedes, Baltic Germans, Russians, and Jews
Jews
all had ministers in the new national government. Svenska Folkförbundet, a Swedish political organization, was formed. In 1925, a new law giving more cultural autonomy was passed, although the Russians
Russians
and Swedes
Swedes
in Estonia
Estonia
did not take advantage of these new freedoms, mainly for economic reasons. World War II[edit] In 1939, the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
forced Estonia
Estonia
to sign a treaty concerning military bases. Many of the islands upon which Estonian Swedes
Swedes
lived were confiscated, bases were built on them, and their inhabitants were forced to leave their homes. A year later, Estonia
Estonia
was occupied by, and annexed into, the Soviet Union, and their voice in government was lost. Estonian Swedish men were conscripted into the Red Army
Red Army
and, during the German occupation, into the German armed forces. Most of the remaining Estonian Swedes
Swedes
fled to Sweden
Sweden
prior to the second invasion of Estonia
Estonia
by the Soviet army in 1944. On June 8, 1945, there were 6,554 Estonian Swedes
Swedes
and 21,815 ethnic Estonian refugees in Sweden.[3] Today[edit]

Maria Murman (1911-2004), an Estonian Swede who remained in Estonia after the Second World War, in Vormsi
Vormsi
(Ormsö), 1994.

Today, small groups of remaining Estonian Swedes
Swedes
are regrouping and re-establishing their heritage, by studying Swedish language
Swedish language
and culture. They are led by the Estonian Swedish Council, which is backed by the Estonian government. In 2000, Swedes
Swedes
were the 21st largest ethnic group in Estonia, numbering only 300.[2] There are however many Estonian Swedes
Swedes
and descendants of Estonian Swedes
Swedes
residing in Sweden. Areas of population and demographics[edit]

An older Swedish map of the West Estonian archipelago, in which the Estonian Swedish population was concentrated.

Population figures during the early centuries of Swedish settlement are not available. At the end of the Teutonic period, there were probably around 1,000 Estonian Swedish families, with some 1,500 Swedes
Swedes
in the capital Tallinn
Tallinn
(Swedish: Reval), giving a total population of roughly 5-7 thousand, some 2-3% of the population of what is now Estonia
Estonia
at the time. The 1897 Russian Census
Census
gives a total Swedish population of 5,768 or 1,39% in the Governorate of Estonia. The majority of the Swedes
Swedes
lived in the Wiek County where they formed a minority of 5,6%.[4] The 1922 census gives Estonia
Estonia
a total population of 1,107,059[5][6] of which Estonia- Swedes
Swedes
made up only 0.7%, some 7,850 people,[5][7] who made up majorities in some places, such as Ruhnu
Ruhnu
(Swedish: Runö), Vormsi
Vormsi
(Swedish: Ormsö), Riguldi (Swedish: Rickull). It dropped slightly to 7,641 in 1934.[8] By the time of the Second World War, the population was nearly 10,000, and roughly 9,000 of these people fled to Sweden.[citation needed] Towns with large pre-war Swedish populations include Haapsalu
Haapsalu
(Swedish: Hapsal) and Tallinn
Tallinn
(Swedish: Reval). After World War II
World War II
the numbers stayed fairly stable: there were 435 Estonian Swedes
Swedes
in 1970, 254 in 1979 and 297 in 1989, when they placed 26th on the list of Estonia's minority groups (before the Second World War, they were third in number, after Russians
Russians
and Germans). The 2000 census shows a number of 300, placing Swedes
Swedes
at 20th on the list of Estonia's minority groups.[2] However, only 211 of them are Estonian citizens. Since all do not claim their real ethnic background, some have estimated the real number of Estonian Swedes
Swedes
in Estonia
Estonia
to be about 1,000.[9] Language[edit] Main article: Swedish dialects There was not a unified Estonian-Swedish dialect, but several. The Estonian- Swedish dialects
Swedish dialects
are subdivisions of the Eastern varieties of Standard Swedish. Ruhnu
Ruhnu
had its own dialect, the Vormsi-Noarootsi- Riguldi dialect was spoken on those islands, there was also a Pakri-Vihterpalu variety. The dialect of Hiiumaa
Hiiumaa
is still spoken by a few in Gammalsvenskby
Gammalsvenskby
(which is called Gammölsvänskbi in the Hiiumaa/Gammmalsvenskby dialect). See also[edit]

Estonian National Council in Sweden

References[edit]

^ Population of Estonia
Estonia
by ethnic nationality, mother tongue and citizenship Archived July 17, 2011, at the Wayback Machine. ^ a b c "2000. Aasta rahva ja eluruumide loendus (Population and Housing Census)" (PDF) (in Estonian and English). 2. Statistikaamet (Statistical Office of Estonia). 2001. ISBN 9985-74-202-8. Retrieved 2009-09-23.  ^ Seppo Zerterberg: Viro, Historia, kansa, kulttuuri. Helsinki: Suomalaisen kirjallisuuden seura, 1995, ISBN 951-717-806-9 (in Finnish) ^ Russian Imperial Census
Census
1897 Archived June 22, 2011, at the Wayback Machine. ^ a b Riigi Statistika Keskbüroo (1924). "1922 a. üldrahvalugemise andmed. Vihk II. Üleriikline kokkuvõte. Tabelid" (PDF) (in Estonian). Retrieved 2009-09-15.  ^ "Population in counties and towns, 1922". Statistics Estonia. 2008-01-12. Retrieved 2009-09-13.  ^ "Ethnic minorities in Estonia: past and present". Estonian Institute. 1998-12-26. Archived from the original on 2009-04-03. Retrieved 2009-09-13.  ^ Riigi Statistika Keskbüroo (1937). "Rahvastikuprobleeme Eestis. II Rahvaloenduse tulemusi. Vihk IV" (PDF) (in Estonian). Retrieved 2009-09-15.  ^ Estlandssvenskarna i Estland - har upprättat kulturellt självstyre (in Swedish)

External links[edit]

Svenska Yle Arkivet: Estlandssvenskar 1991 och 1998 Svenska Yle Arkivet: Estlandssvenskar på Ormsö 1989 Brief information about verbs in Estonian Swedish in the 19th century Estonian Institute: Estonian Swedes Estonian Swedes
Swedes
embrace cultural autonomy rights Ethnic Minorities in Estonia Gammalsvenskby: the true story of Swedish settlement in Ukraine Statistics Estonia: Population by Ethnic Group, Nationality, Mother Tongue, and Citizenship Den Andra Stranden -Information project about the Estonian Swedes
Swedes
with history, interactive maps, thousands of pictures, music and personal stories Estlandssvenskarna i Estland - har upprättat kulturellt självstyre (In Swedish) Karl Friedrich Wilhelm Rußwurm: Eibofolke oder die Schweden an der Küste Esthlands und auf Runö, eine ethnographische Untersuchung mit Urkunden, Tabellen und lithographirten Beilagen. Reval 1855. E-Text (In German)

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