Bronze Age stone-cist graves Human settlement in Estonia became possible 13, to 11, years ago, when the ice from the last glacial era melted. According creatsd radiocarbon datingit was settled around 11, years ago. At that time the country was covered with forests, and people lived in semi-nomadic communities near bodies of water.
Subsistence activities consisted of hunting, gathering and fishing. Several Scandinavian sagas referred to major confrontations with Estonians, notably when "Estonian Vikings" defeated and killed the Swedish king Ingvar. In Yaroslav the Wise defeated Estonians and established a fort in modern-day Tartu. This foothold lasted until an Estonian tribe, the Sosols, destroyed it infollowed by their raid on Pskov. The coastal areas of Northern and Western Estonia had close overseas contacts with Scandinavia and Finlandwhile inland Southern Estonia had more contacts with Balts and Pskov. Two larger subdivisions appeared: the parish Estonian: kihelkond and the county Estonian: maakondwhich consisted of multiple parishes.
A parish was led by elders and centered on a hill fort; in some rare cases a parish had multiple forts. Counties were independent entities and engaged only in a loose cooperation against foreign threats. Spiritual practices were guided by shamanswith sacred grovesespecially oak groves, serving as places of worship.
The German Livonian Brothers of the Swordwho had previously subjugated LivoniansLatgaliansand Seloniansstarted campaigning against the Estonians inand over next few years both sides made numerous raids and counter-raids. A major leader of the Estonian resistance was Lembituan elder of Sakala Countybut in the Estonians suffered a significant defeat in the Battle of St. Matthew's Day aas, where Lembitu was killed. Ina major revolt ejected the Germans and Danes from the whole of Estonia, except Revalbut the crusaders soon resumed their offensive, and inSaaremaa was the last county to surrender.
Inafter suffering a major defeatthe Sword Brothers merged into the Teutonic Order becoming the Livonian Order.
Ina major rebellion started, known as the St. The Teutonic Order finished suppressing the rebellion inand the next year the Danish king sold his possessions in Estonia to the Order. Reval acted as a trade intermediary between Novgorod and Western Hanseatic cities, while Dorpat filled the same role with Pskov. Many guilds were formed during that period, but only a very few allowed the participation of native Estonians. After the king's death it became known as "Academia Gustaviana".
The Livonian Order was decisively defeated inprompting Livonian factions to seek foreign protection. Russian forces gradually conquered the majority of Livonia, but in the late s the Polish-Lithuanian and Swedish armies started rating own offensives and the bloody war finally ended in with Russian defeat.
The protracted war ended in with Sweden gaining Livoniaincluding the regions of Southern Estonia and Northern Latvia.]