- Stenbocksgodset i Estland, som speglar Östersjöhistoria

- the Stenbock estate in Estonia reflecting the history around the Baltic Sea




Karl Montan

The aim of this home page is to show the close relations between people around the Baltic Sea during nearly 1000 years. In this case the story is told by an estate in Estonia and its inhabitants. The estate is Kolk - in Estonian Kolga - about 50 km east of Tallinn.

The study is published more in detail in a booklet (see below).

The estate has its roots in the Danish conquest of parts of Estonia in the beginning of the thirteenth century. The Danish king, Waldemar Sejr, gave it as a gift to his son Knud. Later it was donated to Roma monastery at Gotland.

The Swedish interest in Estonia increased during the end of the sixteenth century and the military leader Pontus de la Gardie had, after his successful campaigns, got Kolga from king Johan III. A granddaugther of Pontus bought Kolga and through her marriage to field-marshal Gustaf Otto Stenbock the estate came under the ownership of the Stenbock family and still is.

Kolga was one of the largest estates in the Baltic area with 50,000 ha - a community in itself and could be compared to a small German principality in the nineteenth century. Here must be mentioned, that Kolga was in reality associated with some other smaller estates, which altogether constituted Kolga.

Field-marshal Magnus Stenbock was, next to Karl XII, looked upon as the most powerful person in Sweden. He was partly owner of Kolga, but is supposed never to have visited his estate.

After the decline of the Swedish realm, Estonia was lost to Russia in the beginning of the eighteenth century. Owners of estates in this area had to sell the estates or settle there. The eldest son of Magnus thus transferred to Kolga and was a Russian citizen. Thus the mainline of the Stenbock family was established in Russia.

Thereafter is a long row of members of the Stenbock family as owners of the estate Kolga (tenants in tail). Some of them had no interest in running the estate, some was most eccentric, as Erich and his son Eric Stanislaus exceeded his father in eccentricity and unconventional manners but was also a gifted poet.- He was mentioned by William B.Yeats as scholar, connoisseur, drunkard, poet, pervert, most charming of men,"Hamlet of our time".

Some were efficient and interested in the well-being of the famers and their families and most of the Stenbocks had the reputation of being humane patriarchs. Some started careers in the Russian administration or the military forces before they took over the estate. In these careers high positions in the Russian hierarchy were reached.

But there were also examples of owners without humane treatment of the employees. One owner had very hard hands due to the cleansing of Swedish speaking farmers from Dagö/Hiumaa to Ukraine. During the transport 700 died of the 1200.

The estates were expropriated when the free state of Estonia was created in 1918 and only a small part was left for the original owner.

The most dramatic time was however still to come. In 1940 the Sovjet troops crossed the borders and Kolga, as all other Baltic estates, was socialized. And there was the Sovjet rule up to 1991, apart from an interlude with German troops 1941-44.

From 1984 Kolga was integrated in the fishing kolkhoz Kirov. In 1990 the mini-estate Kolga was again established and returned to the Stenbock family society.

The mansion was worn out after the Sovjet and German occupation. Some necessary repairs are now being done, but only a small part of the building is fully restored (restaurant and shop).

A nearby low building was during the Sovjet time used as lodging for temporary workers at the kolkhoz and is now modernized and used as a most cosy hotel.



Chapter 1. The Estonian farmers.

Chapter 2. Kolga/Kolga has its roots in early Middle Ages.

Chapter 3. The sons of field-marshal Magnus Stenbock became Russian citizens.

Chapter 4. The grandson of Magnus Stenbock with hard hands.

Chapter 5. A highlight on Kolga.

Chapter 6. Kolga and Zitter - a paradise for children.

Chapter 7. A short interlude of decadence and exoticism.

Chapter 8. Once again Kolga was an estate of tail.

Chapter 9. The Stenbock family tree shoots new sprouts in Sweden.

Chapter 10 Kolga during the first period of Estonia´s freedom 1919-1940.

Chapter 11 Kolga a part of the kolkhoz Kirov.

Chapter 12 Kolga after the year 1990.

Appendix 1. The Stenbock family tree.

Appendix 2. Literature.

Appendix 3. List of persons.

This narrative is now more detailed published in Swedish in a booklet Kolk/Kolga - the Stenbock estate in Estonia reflecting the history around the Baltic Sea, with summaries in Estonian and English. The booklet - 56 pages, 26 illustrations - can be optained from Nils Montan, e-mail <nilmon@spray.se> . Price 10 US dollars incl. postage .