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Armed Forces

Home guard






THE COAT OF ARMS OF ESTONIA IS THE COAT OF ARMS OF THE PRINCES OR Junior Kings of Denmark: Or, three lions passant guardant Azure. This coat of arms appeared for the first time on the seal of King Waldemar II (1202-1241) on his seals of 1204/05 [1]. 


Danish Rule 1224 (1237) – 1346


In the years 1219-1220 the Danes under King Waldemar II conquered all of Northern Estonia and build a castle in Reval (today’s Tallinn). This castle is called Toompea in estonian.

In the period after the construction of Toompea the Danes came in conflict with Germans, organized in the Order of the Sword (Schwertbrüderorden), founded by bishop Albrecht I of Riga in 1202. The Order conquered Toompea in 1227 and one year later was enfeoffed with Estonia by the Roman King Henry VII (1220-’36). This implicated that henceforth Estonia had to be considered as a part of the Holy Roman Empire. As a consequence the sovereign of Estonia could fly the banner of the Holy Roman Empire which was a white cross on a red field.


The Danebrog

It is said that at the Battle of Lyndaniz against the Estonians in 1219, when the Danes were in great distress, the socalled Danebrog, consisting of a white cross on a red field, fell from heaven. [2] The story reminds us of the Vision of Constantine who, at the Battle of the Milvian Bridge in 312, saw the emblem of Christ appear in the sky with the words: In Hoc Signo Vinces (under this sign you will conquer). In fact, Waldemar II, as a vassal of Barbarossa and the Holy Empire, could fly the banner of the Empire but the white cross on a red field only appeared in the Danish context at the beginning of the 14th century. 

Logically, Waldemar II can not have used the banner of the Holy Empire in the time from 1219 until 1227 because he was not a vassal of the Holy Empire in Estonia. On the contrary, the Order of the Sword would have been the first which was entitled to bear the banner of the Empire in Estonia. 


The Schwertbrüderorden

On the seal of Master of the Schwertbrüderorden was a sword per pale and a greek cross or crux quadrata in chief. [3]

After the Battle of Saule at which the Order suffered an annihilating defeat, the survivors of the disaster were incorporated into the Teutonic Order. With the Treaty of Stensby of the 7th of June 1237 Northern Estonia was ceded by the Grandmaster of the Teutonic Order to King Waldemar II. He made the territory, which consisted of the northern part of today’s Estonia with the city of Reval, a duchy with the name ‘Estland’. For the time being the king of Danmark himself bore the title ‘Duke of Estonia’ (DUX  ESTONIÆ).


Initially king Waldemar II bore a coat of arms with three lions passant. [4] On his later seals, used 1216-’41), however is the royal Danish coat of arms with the three lions passant on a field strewn with hearts. Of course the title of duke of Estland is not yet in the legend of the seal. [5]  Contradictory to this fact in Estonia itself the statues of King Waldemar, who is considered as the one who converted the estonians to Christianity, always display the arms with the three lions passant only. [6]


Seal of Otto, Lord of Denmark, duke of Estonia and Laaland, dated 06.10.1333. A.: Three crowned lions passant guardant. L.: SECRETV X OTTONIS X DEI GRA X DOMICEL…..RVM. (Petersen n°  35).

Seal of Reval (Tallinn) used 1340-1390. A.: Three crowned lions passant guardant. As a supporter or crest a crowned bust. L.: SIGILLUM : CIVIVM : DE : REVALIE:. No print of this seal seems to have been preserved.


At the end of the Danish rule, when the duchy had proven not to be very succesful, and during the interregnum in Denmark of 1332 until 1340, the title of Duke of Estland passed to Otto, the second son of Christoffer II. As a prince of Denmark he bore the coat of arms with the three lions passant only.

In fact it is this coat of arms that came to be the coat of arms of Estonia because it appears on the seal of the city of Reval used from 1340 until 1390. On this seal the coat of arms is supported by duke Otto himself.

When King Waldemar IV Attertag (*1320-†1375, King 1340) ascended to the throne he also adopted the title of Duke of Estonia. In his first years as a king he still bore his arms as a prince of Denmark which was identical with the arms of Otto but with a crest.

After the St. George’s Night Insurrection (1343-’45), Waldemar IV readopted the coat of arms with the hearts and wrote himself explicitly ‘Duke of Estonia’ on his seals. His title reads WOLDE­MARUS, DANORUM S­CLA­VO­RUMQUE REX ET DUX ESTO­NIÆ.


In the time of the Danish Rule, apart of the coat of arms of the ruler, a crown was an other symbol used in Danish Estonia. Thus a crown was printed on coins minted in Reval in that era, and a seal with the title of the Duke of Estonia in the legend [X SECT.] WALD. DI G. DANOR’ SCLAVOR’ Q’ REG ET. DVC. EST[ON] also displays a crown. [7] In fact this means that Estonia was considered as being ‘under the Danish crown’ and had no symbolic identity of itself.


Coins minted in Reval in the second half of the 13th century: Crown [8]


Rule of the Teutonic- and the Livonian Order (1346-1561)


In 1346 Waldemar IV sold Estonia for 19 000 silver marks tot the Teutonic Order. One year later the duchy was sold tot the Livonian Order, subordinated to the Teutonic Order,  for 20 000 silver marks. The Livonian Order became a sovereign order after the secularization of the Teutonic Order in 1525.

The coat of arms, both of the Teutonic Order and the Livonian Order, was a black cross on a white field.  [9]


Seal of the Marshal of Livonia dd. 8.X.1348. [10]

Knight with  pennon and shield with a cross . L.: X s(igillum) marscal­ci de livoni­a.


On the seal of the Komtur is the resurrection of Christ. We may supppose that the banner of Christ is red with a white cross like on many other versions of the Resurrection.[11]


Banner of the Landmaster of the Livonian Order, captured at the Battle of Tannenberg, 1410.

Jan Dlugosz: Banderia Prutenorum (1431) fol 44v° (reverse of the banner on fol 43v°)


Banner: St. Maurice of Africa (a Moor with a golden halo) in armour with golden elbow- and knee protectors, vested in a blue tunica an white cloak. Crowned with a golden ducal hat. In his right a spear with a white pennon and at his feet a shield argent, a cross sable; and standing on a grassy ground proper. In sinister chief  the arms of the Teutonic Order.


In the Livonian Order era coins were minted with the cross of the Order:


Coins minted in the era of the Livonian Order: Arms with cross.

6-8: artigs from the second half of the 14th and first quarter of the 15th c.

9. killing from the middle of the 15th c.

10-12: farthings from the time of Wolter von Plettenberg Landmeister of Livonia (1494-1535) .


Swedish Rule 1561-1710


In the Livonian War (1558-’83) the knights and citizens of Tallinn pledged their allegiance to the king of Sweden, Eric XIV, on the 1-3rd of May 1561. This oath was repeated on the 6th of June and on the 8th of August King Eric recognized the priviliges of the city.

The King of Sweden used the coat of arms of Duke Otto and the city of Reval for his title of Duke of Estonia. The difference is that the lions are just passant and not passant guardant. On the shield is a ducal crown.

Seal of king John III of Sweden (1568-1592).

Royal achievement surrounded by the coats of arms of the Swedish territories. Among them the coat of arms with the three lions passant for the title of „Hertig af Esthen” .


Arms of the Hertig af Esthen/Landscape of Estonia

In a Swedish manuscript of 1570


Arms: Or, three lions passant Azure the upper one holding a leaf in its dexter claw (?)

Below the arms the title ‘Lifflandh’ (sic!).[12]


Coins of the Swedish era: Arms with three lions passant

13. farthing of Erik XIV (1567); 14. farthing of John III (1568-’92)

15-16. 4 and 2 rundstück of Charles XI (1668)


Russian Rule 1710-1918


The Swedish administration lasted for a century and a half. In 1710 Tallinn was besieged by Russian troops and the city surrendered on the 29th of september 1710. With the Peace of Nystad (1721) the loss was recognized by Sweden and the territory was ceded to Russia. In the Russian Empire the duchy of Estonia was changed into a government with the territorial reorganization of Catharina the Great in 1775. The Russian Tsars nevertheless incorporated the title of ‘Duke of Estonia’ in their greater imperial title thereafter.



On the 8th of December 1856 a coat of arms was adopted for the Government of Estonia. It is identical with the arms for the duchy of Estonia in the Swedish era. On the shield is the Imperial Russian crown and around the shield is a garland of branches of oak intertwined with the blue ribbon of the Order of Alexander Newski (Russia, 21st of Mai 1725). [13]


The title ‘Prince of Estonia’ in the greater title of Alexander III (1881-1894):


бoжiею поспђшествчющею милстію александрь третіи императоръ и самодержець всероссіискіи, московскіи, киевскіи, владимирскіи, новгородскіи, царь казанскіи,  царь  астраханскіи,  царь  полскіи,  царь сибирскіи, царь херсониса таврическаго, царь грузинскіи, государь псковскіи и великіи князь смоленскіи, литовскіи, волинскіи, подолскіи и финляндскіи, князь естляндскіи, лифляндскіи, курляндскіи и семигалскі и самогитскіи, бђостокскіи, корелскіи, тверскіи, югорскіи, пермскіи, вятскіи, болгарскіи и иныхъ, государь и великіи княз новгорода низовскіи, земли, черниговскіи, рязанскіи, полотскіи, ростовскіи, ярославскіи, бђлозерскіи, удорскіи, обдорскіи, кондинскіи, витебскіи,  мстис-лавскіи и всея съверныя страны повелитель  и государь иверскія карталискія и кабардинскія земли и области арменскія черкасскихь и горскихь князей и иниыхь наслђдныи государь и обладатель государь туркестанскіи наслђдникь норвежскіи герцогь шлесвигь-голстинскіи, стормарскіи, дитмарскіи и олденбургскіи и прочая и про. и про..


United Baltic Duchy



Under the German military administration, Baltic Germans began forming provincial councils between September 1917 and March 1918.

On 8 March 1918, the local Baltic German-dominated Kurländische Landesrat declared the restoration of Duchy of Courland (Herzogtum Kurland), which was formally recognised by Emperor Wilhelm II on 15 March 1918. On 12 April 1918, a Provincial Assembly (Vereinigter Landesrat) composed of 35 Baltic Germans, 13 Estonians, and 11 Latvians passed a resolution calling upon the German Emperor to recognize the Baltic provinces as a monarchy and make them a German protectorate.

The United Baltic Duchy was nominally recognized as a sovereign state by emperor Wilhelm II only on 22 September 1918, half a year after Soviet Russia had formally relinquished all authority over former Russian Imperial Baltic governorates to Germany in the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk. On 5 November 1918, a temporary Regency Council (Regentschaftsrat) for the new state led by Baron Adolf Pilar von Pilchau was formed on a joint basis from the two local Land Councils.

The capital of the new state was to be Riga. It was to be a confederation of seven cantons: Kurland (Courland), Riga, Lettgallen (Latgale), Südlivland (South Livonia), Nordlivland (North Livonia), Ösel (Saaremaa), and Estland (Estonia), the four first cantons thus covering the territory corresponding to today's Latvia and the latter three corresponding to today's Estonia.



The first head of state of the United Baltic Duchy was to be Duke Adolf Friedrich of Mecklenburg, not as a sovereign monarch, but as a subordinate to the German emperor, similar to other princes of the German Empire. But Adolf Friedrich never assumed office. The appointed Regency Council consisting of four Baltic Germans, three Estonians and three Latvians functioned until 28 November 1918, without any international recognition, except Germany.

In October 1918, the Chancellor of Germany, Prince Maximilian of Baden, proposed to have the military administration in the Baltic replaced by civilian authority. The new policy was stated in a telegram from the German Foreign Office to the military administration of the Baltic: "The government of the Empire is unanimous in respect of the fundamental change in our policy towards the Baltic countries, namely that in the first instance policy is to be made with the Baltic peoples."

Germany's defeat in the First World War prevented the consolidation of the Baltic Duchy. On 19 November 1918 the German Commissioner in the Baltic States August Winning, confirmed Estonia's independence. On 26 November 1918, the nobility of Estland decided to cooperate with the Provisional Government of Estonia. This ended the existence of the Baltic Duchy. [14]


Flag of the Baltic Duchy

Being the flag of the Teutonic Order


Sovereignty, 1918 - 1940


EESTI VABARIK  24.02.1918 - 1940


(Foto Ebay)

One Estonian Marka, 1922


After the proclamation of independence on the 24th of Februari 1918, the three lions of the coat of arms of the Government of Estonia were placed on the newly minted coins of the Republic. The lions are passant guardant again like in the coat of arms of Duke Otto, but not crowned.  On the 11th of June 1925 a new coat of arms was officially adopted. The garland of golden branches of oak was maintained but the ribbon and the crown are omitted.




The sections of the law about the national coat of arms were published in Riigi Teataja, 1925 Nr. 117/118. They read:


§ 1.   Eesti riigivapil on kaks kuju: 1) suur vapp ja 2) väike vapp.

§ 2. Suureks riigivapiks on kuldse pöhjaga kilbil kolm sinist leopardi. Kilp on kolmest küljest ümbritsetud kuld tammepuulehtedest pärjaga.

§ 3.   Väikeseks vapiks on eelmises (2) paragrahvis kirjedatud vapp ilma ümbritseva pärjata.[15]


That is:

§ 1. The Estonian national coat of arms has two shapes: 1) a large coat of arms and 2) a small coat of arms.

§ 2. The large national coat of arms has three blue leopards on a golden shield. The shield is surrounded on three sides by a gold wreath of oak leaves.

§ 3. The small coat of arms is the coat of arms described in the previous paragraph (2) without the surrounding wreath.



State seal of the first Estonian Republic (after Oja)


Soviet Vassalage 1940-1990




As a consequence of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact the Sovjet Union invaded the independent Republic of Estonia on the 16th of July 1940. Already on the 21th of October of the same year a new coat of arms for the then called ‘Estonian Socialist Peoples Republic’ was adopted. It is of the usual Sovjet design:


Arms: A rising sun, its rays charged with a hammer and sickle in saltire, Or.

Crest: A five-pointed star Gules, fimbriated Or.

Garland: Branches of fir and ears of wheat proper.



§ 115 of the Constitution of 1940 about the coat of arms reads:


Государственный герб Эстонской Советской Социалнстической Републики состоит из изображения в лучах восходящего солнца серпа и молота, окруженных венком, который состоит слева - из хвойных ветвей и справа - из ржаных колосьев. Обе половины венка перевиты красной лентой с надписями на естонском и русском языках «Пролетарии всех стран, соединяйтесь!» и ниже инициалы «Eesti NSV». Наверху герба находится пятиконечная звезда.

                        Статнья 115 Контитуции Этонской ССР


Published in: ENSV Teataja, nr 37 dd. 1.IX.1940 p. 421 and adopted 21 X 1940.


Sovereignty 1991 - present


EESTI VABARIIK  08.05.1990

Independent 20.08.1991


In May 1990 the Estonian government abolished the Socialist Republic and established a new (third) republic. By decree of 7th of August 1990 § 2.1, ratified by chairman Arnold Rüütel on the 16th of October 1990, the flag and coats of arms of the first republic were restored. [16]             

On the 20th of August 1991 Estonia retired from the Soviet Union and declared itself a sovereign state.


As before, the coats of arms were of two categories: the larger arms and the smaller arms. The difference was that the larger arms consisted of the smaller arms surrounded by a garland of branches of oak. 


Smaller arms of the Estonian Republic, 1990


Larger arms of the Estonian Republic, 1990


By National Coat of Arms Act, Passed 13 June 2001 and ratified 1st of January 2002, the coat of arms of the Republic of Estonia was officially adopted.

At this occasion the colors of the coats of arms were officially fixed


The act was published in RT1 I 2001, 65, 376,


The act was amended on:

19.06.2002 (ratified 01.09.2002)  Published: RT I 2002, 63, 387

27.03.2002 (ratified 06.04.2002)  Published: RT I 2002, 34, 206.


Section 3 of the act reads:


§ 3. Riigivapi heraldiline kirjeldus


(1) Riigivapil on kaks kuju: suur riigivapp ja väike riigivapp.


(2) Suurel riigivapil on kuldsel kilbil kolm sinist sammuvat otsavaatavat lõvi. Külgedelt ja alt ümbritsevad kilpi kaks kilbi allosas ristuvat kuldset tammeoksa.


(3) Väike riigivapp on käesoleva paragrahvi lõikes 2 kirjeldatud vapp ilma tammeoksteta.


That is tot say:


§ 3. Heraldic description of the national coat of arms


(1) The national coat of arms has two forms: the larger national coat of arms and the smaller national coat of arms.

(2) The larger national coat of arms consists of a golden shield with three blue lions passant guardant. The shield is surrounded at the base and on both sides by two golden oak branches which intersect at the base of the shield.

(3) The smaller national coat of arms is the same as the coat of arms described in subsection (2) of this section but without the oak branches.


The act, with the official colored and black-and-white versions of the coats of arms, has been published on internet at:



Smaller arms of the Estonian Republic, 2002


Larger arms of the Estonian Republic, 2002




President Kertis Karjulaid, 2016-

wearing the collar  and jewel of the Order of the National Coat of Arms


The Order of the National Coat of Arms (Riigivapi teenetemärk)

The Order of the National Coat of Arms was instituted in 1936 to commemorate 24 February 1918, the day on which Estonian independence was declared. The Order of the National Coat of Arms is bestowed only on Estonian citizens as a decoration of the highest class for services to the state. The Order of the National Coat of Arms comprises six classes.

Collar and star


Presidential Flag 1920-1940; 08-10-1992-present





The Estonian Police (Eesti Politsei) was the law enforcement agency of Estonia. It was subordinate to the Ministry of the Interior. In 2010, the organization was superseded by the Police and Border Guard Board.

The Estonian Police was established on 12 November 1918, when police stations were taken over from the German occupation forces Between 1918-1919, the police was called militsiya, it was subordinate to the local self-government and acted according to the Russian Provisional Government law. During the Estonian War of Independence (1918-’20) the police conducted joint operations with the Estonian Defence League.

On 1 January 1919, the self-government based police became a national agency, subordinate to the Ministry of the Interior and lead by the Police Directorate (Politsei Peavalitus). The Police Directorate was called Politseivalitsus between 1929-1938, and Politseitalitus between 1938-1940.

On 17 December 1919, the Estonian Constituent Assembly passed the Police Act. A field police was established, to protect public safety and order. Police districts were formed based on counties and cities, these were divided into divisions, which were further divided into precincts. Criminal police was established on 5 January 5, and the Estonian Internal Security Service on 12 April 1920.

Furthermore, police reserve was established in 1920. The police consisted of field police and the Internal Security Service, which were subordinate to the Ministry of the Interior, and criminal police, which was subordinate to the Ministry of Justice. On May 1, 1924, the services were unified under the control of the Police Directorate.

On January 1, 1926, police districts became prefectures and the Internal Security Service was renamed political police. Police ranks were put in accordance with the rest of Europe. By 1940, there were nine prefectures: Tallinn-Harju, Tartu-Valga, Viljandi-Pärnu, Petseri-Võru, Saare, Lääne, Viru-Järva, Narva, and Railroads prefecture. In 1940, the Soviets occupied Estonia and on August 28, the institution was disbanded.


Police cap badge

adopted 15.11.1935


Police coat of arms



Police coat of arms

Arms: Azure, a lion rampant Argent keeping an escutcheon of the national arms of Estonia proper.



Azure: Peace and stability

The lion rampant: valor and courage and willingnes to act

Argent: nobility and manhood

The national coat of arms: commitment to protecting public order and the interests of the state


The design is based on the Estonian Police badge from the 1930s.


Eesti Piirivalve / Estonian Border Guard 


The Estonian Border Guard (Eesti Piirivalve) was the national security agency responsible for the border security of Estonia. It was subordinate to the Ministry of the Interior. The Border Guard also assisted with Search and Rescue missions. It was founded on 21 November 1922.  In 2010, the organization merged into the  Police and Border Guard Board.



The emblem of the Estonian Border Guard was designed in 1932, ten years after the establishment of the service by the artist Günther Reindorff (†1974).

It is:

Emblem: An Estonian border pole being bendy sinister blue, black and white, its chief charged with an escutcheon Estonia, charged with an eagle, wings expanded, holding a sword per fess in its dexter claw. Surrounded by a garland of oak leaves with a listel in base with the date 1.XI.1922 all Argent.


Banner (ancient)

Banner (present)


The banner of the Border Guard is the national flag with a green triangle with a yellow border, in the middle of which are placed large white Latin letters PV at the mast end.

Sleeve patch



Police and Border Guard 2010- present


Coat of arms

Police and Border Guard  Banner

proportions: 7 : 9


Police and Border Guard Shoulder patch

adopted 19.01.2009





Cap Badge

adopted 19.01.2009



Kaitsepolitseiamet / Estonian Internal Security Service


The Estonian Internal Security Service (Kaitsepolitseiamet) was first established on April 12, 1920. From 1925 to 1940 the institution was known as Political Police (Poliitiline politsei, abbreviated PolPol). The PolPol fought against subversive activities of political extremists, espionage, desertion, smuggling and terrorism. When the Soviet Union annexed Estonia on 17 June 1940 the PolPol was one of the first institutions to be repressed.

The Estonian Internal Security Service was reestablished on March 1, 1991, as a part of restoration of Estonian independence from the Soviet occupation. Until June 18, 1993, the Estonian Internal Security Service was a department of the central police structure; then, it was reorganised as a distinct entity.


Coat of arms








Badges of Security service units


Armed Forces




Ministry of Defence logo


The command of the Estonian Defence Forces has had several denominations in the course of history


1917-1920 Staff of the Estonian Division

1920-1924 Staff of Estonian Armies

1924-1929 General Staff

1929-1937 Staff of the Defence Forces

1937-1940 Staff of the Armies

1991 -2008 General Staff of the Defence Forces

From 2009 Headquarters of the Estonian Defence Forces


General Staff of the Estonian Defence Forces (1991-2008)


On 31 October 1991 the Headquarters of the Estonian Defence Forces was set up with the order no. 404-k of the Government of the Republic. The basic documents for the work of the Headquarters were the temporary statutes adopted by the Government of the Republic on 2 December 1991, other national defence legislation, decrees of the Parliament and the Government of the Republic prepared and adopted in 1992-1998.

Since its creation, the Headquarters of the Estonian Defence Forces has used the names of departments, structures and procedures corresponding to those at the staffs of NATO and these are constantly being developed. In 1995 the Navy Staff and the Air Force Staff were created as independent units on the basis of the Navy and Air Force Department of the General Staff. In 2001 the Army Staff was added to the former.


The General Staff of the Defence Forces is the working body of the Chief of the Defence Forces. The General Staff is a joint staff engaged with operational leadership, training and development of the Defence Forces. Operational leadership is implemented by the Operational Staff, which plans and controls operations and ensures defence readiness and mobilisation.

The departments for training and development are responsible for long-term and mid-term planning, resource planning, organisation and control of the planning of training and implementation of national defence activities. The General Staff of the Defence Forces is headed by the Chief of the General Staff.


General Staff (1991-2008)


Headquarters of the Estonian Defence Forces (2009-present)




The achievement of the Headquarters of the Estonian Armed Forces is:


Arms: Or, three lions passant guardant Azure.

Crest: A four-pointed star Or

Garland: A crown of oak, Or

Motto: VIRIBUS UNITIS (With United Forces) in black lettering on a ribbon Or

Supporters: A shield Azure charged with a sword and a marshall’s baton in saltire Argent



General Staff Banner


The Headquarters of the Estonian Defence Forces received its flag on 29 October 2010. The flags blue field contains the emblem of the headquarters, with "KAITSEVÄE PEASTAAP"  written in silver at the top, and two silver datums at the bottom - one marking the formation date and the other marking the restoration date of the headquarters.

The flag was designed by Margus Haavamägi.[17]


Eesti kaitseväe juhataja / Commander in Chief

Estonian Foreign Intelligence Service


The service  dates back to 1992 when the Information Agency of the Government Office of the Republic of Estonia was established. In 1994, the Information Agency was subordinated to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In 2001, the Estonian Information Board was established, which was then subordinated to the Ministry of Defence, and was united with the signals intelligence unit of the former Government Communications Agency. As of 1 July 2017, our organisation is named the Estonian Foreign Intelligence Service to more clearly communicate our main task, which is the collection of intelligence.

It is under the purview of the Ministry of Defence.



The Army is the main arm of the Defence Forces.


The Army development priorities are the capability to participate in missions outside the national territory and the capability to perform operations to protect the territory of Estonia, also in co-operation with the Allies.


The Army component of the operational structure consists of an infantry brigade and a homeland security structure. Deployable infantry battalion tactical group and some deployable CS, CSS units will developed in the Army structure in accordance with NATO Force Proposals requirements. Infantry brigade will act as a training and support frame for deployable units. Homeland security structure units will have the capability to carry out territorial military tasks and support civil structures.


Coat of arms















Cap Badges


Admirals and Officers

Petty Officers







EML Wambola (A433)

EML Admiral Cowan (M313)


EML Sakala (M314)

EML Ugandi (M315) (formerly HMS Bridport)





The roots of the current organization go back to the Russian revolution of February 1917, after which the Estonian state obtained a degree of autonomy within Russia, which included the establishment of national armed forces. The Estonian Declaration of Independence in early 1918 was not recognized by Germany, which disbanded the Estonian armed forces.

After the armistice on 11 November 1918, the Estonian Provisional Government immediately set about establishing a military aviation unit. The Aviation Company of the Engineer Battalion began to establish air bases near Tallinn for seaplanes and land planes, but it was not until January 1919 that the first operational aircraft was acquired.

After the defeat of Poland in 1939 Estonia was forced to accept a Mutual Assistance Pact with the Soviet Union, signed on 28 September 1939. On 17 June 1940 the three Baltic States were invaded by Soviet forces. The air force became the Aircraft Squadron of the 22nd Territorial Corps of the Soviet Army in the summer of 1940.

The Estonian Air Force was re-established on 16 December 1991 after the restoration of independence of the Republic of Estonia in 1991


Air Force Staff





Flag (reverse and obverse)



Cocarde  / Roundel


Pilot Badge





Estonian Defence League / Eesti Kaitseliit


The Estonian Defence League (Eesti Kaitseliit) is the unified paramilitary armed force of the Republic of Estonia. Its aim is to guarantee the preservation of the independence and sovereignty of the state, the integrity of its territory and its constitutional order.

The Defence League engages in military exercises, fulfilling the tasks given to it by law. The organization is divided into 15 Defence League regional units, called Malevs, whose areas of responsibility mostly coincide with the borders of Estonian counties.


History of Estonian Defence Leage Tallinn Unit (Malev) Naval Division (NAVDIV) reaches back to 1924, when enginer Eduard Avik started to organize defence for Harbour and Sea Industry building. Before the occupation NAVDIV had more than 240 members and was very active subunit. Unit was re-established in december 1994. Today NAVDIV is one of the four Defence League Tallinn Unit's (malev) exterritorial subunits and is strongly focust in co-operation with Estonian Navy. NAVDIV is currently the only naval reserve force unit in Estonia. In the beginning of 2010 unit had more than 160 members. 





Estonian Defence League Flag

Obverse and reverse


Defense League Units / Eesti Kaitseliit malev


Afbeeldingsresultaat voor Eesti Kaitseliit malevs





















Retrieved from: http://www.kaitseliit.ee/et/malevate-lipud


Counties of Estland



Design of Güstav Reindorff, 1936













Design of Güstav Reindorff, 1936




Petserimaa 1927-1930




Pechorsky District (Russia)



Coat of arms and traditional costume (1944)






Saaremaa, 1935






The arms of 1931

With garland and swords in saltire








Coat of arms and traditional costume (1944)



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© Hubert de Vries 2008.05.28. Updated 2015-09-22; 2018-08-13




[1] Petersen, Henry: Danske Kongelige Sigiller samt Sonderjydske Hertugers, 1185-1559. Kjobenhavn, 1917.  6.

[2] The danish historian the franciscan monk Peder Olesen, wrote at the beginning of the 16th century that the Danes at the battle of  Felin were almost defeated. They prayed to God for help and  "....da opnåede de den nåde, at de straks modtog et flag, som faldt ned fra himlen, tegnet med et hvidt kors på ulden dug, og de hørte en røst i luften, som sagde, at når det blev løftet i vejret, skulle de visseligt vinde en fuldstændig sejr....hvilker også skete". In this version of the story it is quite remarkable that the Danebrog is a yellow or golden banner with a white cross which was, indeed, the banner of Frederick Barbarossa, the first suzerain of the Danish kings.

[3] The coat of arms of the Order was, according to Sebastian von Munster in his Cosmographia Book III p. dccccxviii (1543) a sword per pale and an eightpointed star in chief.

[4]  Petersen n°  6

[5]  Petersen n° s 7-11 dd. 1216-'41. With the title WALDEMARUS DEI GRACIA DANORUM SCLAVORUMQUE REX. On the reverse with the coat af arms: CLIPEVS …..

[6]  A polychromized statue of  King Waldemar II, dated 1540 (Height ca 50cm) is in the collection of the Museum of the Church of  Niguliste (Tallinn). On the shield are the three lions passant only. The same with a 19th c. statue of King Waldemar on the façade of a house in the Olevi­mägi in Tallinn.

[7]  Petersen n° 37. This secret seal was used 1342-‘71, and  thus even after Estonia was sold to the Teutonic Order. Apparently no effort was made to adapt the legend to the new circumstances.

[8]  Illustrations of  Danish, Livonian and Swedish coins from: Pullat, Raimo: Tallinn Through the Ages. Tallinn, 1983.

[9] The coat of arms of the Livonian Order was: Argent, a cross sable; Pullat nrs 6-11; Seal of the Komtur of  Reval: Resurrection of Christ. L.: S(i­gillvm): commendatoris : revalie. D.: 1348-1465. (800 J. Deutscher Orden n° VI.3.25); Jan Dlugosz Banderia fol.'s 43 & 44: Argent a cross sable. Pullat no. 12 dd. 1528; thaler of Herman of Bruggeney, Landmaster of Livonia (1535-'49). On the reverse the cross of Reval. L.: Moneta Nova Argentea Reva­liensis. D.: 1536. (800 JDeutscher Orden no.  III.2.3.)

[10]  800 Jahre Deutscher Orden, 1990. No. VI.3.23.

[11] Depending of the political color of the buyer of the Resurrection, the banner of Christ was red with a white cross or white a red cross. The last version is common in countries depending of the Holy See.

[12] Ms 400. Kungliga Biblioteket, Stockholm.

[13] Ströhl, Hugo Gerard: Russisch-Europäische Wappenrolle. Die Wappen der Gouvernements in Russland, Polen und Finnland, das Wappen des Gebietes der Donischen Kasaken und die Wappen der Hauptstädte dieser Territorien. In: Jahr­buch des K.u.K. Heraldischen und Genealogischen Vereins "Adler". 1902, pp. 163-186. VI Tafeln. Winkler, P.P. von: Gerby Gorodov Gubernii, Oblastei o Posadov Rossiiskoi Imperii s 1649 po 1900 God. St. Petersburg, 1900. (Repr. Planeta, Moskva, 1990). P. 193

[14] See also: Vahur Joala: Saulepi valitsejad 2013

[15] Oja, Tiiu & Eero Medijainen: Eesti Vapidja Lipud. 16. Sajand - 1940. Tallinn, 1993. p. 40-43.  Taska, Artur: Eesti Vapp. Lund, 1984.  p. 64.

[16] Published in: Sov. Est. N° 258, 9 IX 1990, p. 1

[17] "Kaitseminister andis kaitseväe peastaabile lipu". www.postimees.ee (in Estonian). 29 October 2010

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