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Colonialism and Decolonization in National Historical Cultures and Memory Politics in Europe

Modules for History Lessons

Edited By Uta Fenske, Daniel Groth, Klaus-Michael Guse and Bärbel P. Kuhn

Colonialism and decolonization are historical phenomena that are part of the historical experience of many European countries. This volume offers students and teachers a new understanding of how colonialism and decolonization fit into our shared European past and contains teaching materials for history classes in European schools. The contributions have been produced by the EU project CoDec, involving partners from Belgium, Germany, Estonia, Great Britain, Austria, Poland and Switzerland. Analyzing colonial pasts, processes of decolonization and memory politics in different European countries from comparative and transnational perspectives, the study presents useful sources and practical suggestions for cutting-edge history lessons in European schools.
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The Case of Lutheranism in Estonian History – From External Determination to People’s Church


Introduction to the Module

During the violent Livonian crusade of the early 13th century the population of present-day Estonia was subordinated to German-Danish rulers and a new faith. The local peoples were Christianized. Henceforth, Roman Catholicism acquired the position of the one and only religion. Slowly but steadily the ancestors of the Estonians were turned into a dependent peasant class under the secular and ecclesiastical power of the new elite of foreign origin, the Baltic German minority. Throughout the following centuries the Baltic Germans never made up more than five per cent of the whole population.

After a series of long and bloody wars, by the early 17th century the Estonian soil came under the rule of the Swedish monarchs. In local matters the Baltic Germans, who maintained various contacts with German lands at all times, still largely retained their power. A major change of earlier beginning – the Lutheran Reformation – came to a successful end under the King Gustav II Adolf, who also led Sweden to political and military supremacy in the Thirty Years’ War.

In the 17th-century Swedish conglomerate kingdom, the Lutheran confession enjoyed the position of the one and only established religion, founded on the decree of the Uppsala Assembly of 1593 and backed by the continuing support and protection of the central government. However, while the authorities paid attention to the confessional unity of the state, they tolerated great institutional diversity in different parts of the realm. Thus, as...

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