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Mahtra War was a peasant insurgency at the Mahtra estate (now in Rapla County, 60 km from Tallinnmarker) in Estoniamarker, in the then Russian Empiremarker in May-July 1858.

The revolt was suppressed using the regular army, 14 peasants were wounded and 7 killed on site, 3 died later of wounds. The military casualties included 13 soldiers wounded and 1 officer killed. 60-65 peasants were sentenced to death by a court-martial in Tallinn that was reduced by Baltic governor-general Suvorov to corporal punishment, 35 were sentenced to exile in Siberiamarker, 21 defenders were released.

Historical context

In the Governorate of Estonia, serfdom was abolished in 1816 (in comparison, in the whole Russian Empire it was abolished in 1861), however the land was not redistributed among the peasants and the corvée labor was preserved (until 1876). The March 19 1856 manifesto of Tsar Alexander II spoke about further agrarian reforms, but the implementation was slow, and this sparkled the unrest, including the Mahtra revolt.

The events significantly influenced the work of the committees working on the project of the emancipation of the serfs in Russia.

In culture

  • Mahtra Peasant Museum ( ) [474190], [474191]
  • Eduard Vilde, "War in Mahtra", historical novel (1902, Estonian title: “Mahtra sõda"; Russian translation: Эдуард Вильде, Война в Махтра, 1950, Tallinnmarker, publisher: "Художественная литeратура и искусство")
  • Anatoli Garshnek, "Mahtra sõda" [Mahtra War] (1958), cantata


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