ancient estonian land

estonia map.jpg

I came across this map on the wall of the Taarkataro cafe in Obinitsa, which is in Setomaa, this rather interesting border region separating, in some people’s minds, Estonia proper from Russia proper. For centuries, the Piusa River formed a boundary between the lands of the Estonian and Livonian Governates and the lands of Pskov. Those on the “Estonian” side became Lutherans, attained a high level of literacy already in the 17th century under Swedish rule, and developed a different kind of relationship with authority from those on the “Russian” side, who became Orthodox and remained illiterate deep into the 19th century. In some ways, the Seto people who lived in the border region were similar to other Finnic peoples in the Russian Empire who were not historically under Swedish or German rule, such as the Mari, Udmurts, Komi, Moksha, etc. They thought of themselves as one ethnic group within the greater Russian Empire. The border here, as most borders, has always been in flux. Many note that much of what is now Estonian “Setomaa” was, until 1920, always under Russian administration. Looking at this map, though, I noticed that a small village on the other side of Lake Peipsi, the “Russian side,” was apparently part of Livonia for some part of history. This is called “Soztinez” on the map, which dates to the 1790s. According to Google Maps, there is still a settlement there, but I cannot find a name for it. I wonder how many people there know that they were once part of the provinces that later became Estonia.