Bengt Gottfried Forselius

Bengt Gottfried Forselius (ca 1660, Harju-Madise, Harju County, Swedish Estonia – November 16, 1688, Baltic Sea) was a founder of public education in Estonia, author of the first ABC-book in the Estonian language, and creator of a spelling system which made the teaching and learning of Estonian easier. Forselius and Johan Hornung were mainly responsible for making a start at reforming the Estonian literary language in the late 17th century. Some German constructions were abandoned, and a strict spelling system was adopted which still relied on German orthography.

Forselius was a Swede born in Estonia. His father, Pastor Johann Forselius [1] was originally a Swede from Finland, thus the Swedish family was familiar with Finnic languages. Forselius spoke good Estonian as well as Swedish and German. He received his first education at the Tallinn (Reval) Gymnasium and then graduated with a law degree from the University of Wittenberg in Germany.

In 1684, after returning to Estonia, Forselius founded the first teachers’ college, to teach Estonian schoolteachers and parish clerks, in Piiskopimõisa (Bishop’s Manor) near Tartu (Dorpat). The course there lasted for two years, with emphasis on fluent reading, religion instruction, German, arithmetic and bookbinding. Forselius introduced a new method of teaching whereby, instead of remaining passive, during lessons one student read aloud while the others followed. In 1686, an ABC-book devised by him was introduced into use in Estonian schools.

Many local Baltic German aristocrats at the time disliked Forselius’ idea of encouraging peasants to aspire to education and complained that pupils of the schools were taken by the Swedish army or that school fees were expensive. Forselius countered this by taking two of his best pupils, Ignati Jaak and Pakri Hansu Jüri (Jüri, son of Hans from Pakri), from the parish of Kambja, to Stockholm, where their abilities impressed King Charles XI of Sweden.

By the time of Forselius death in 1688 he had founded 38 schools with 800 pupils in the Estonian areas of Swedish Livonia and 8 schools with 200 students in Swedish Estonia.[2] Forselius drowned during a storm on his return from Stockholm where he had just been appointed inspector of Livonian peasant schools with the power to create as many as he saw fit. Between 1687-1695 by the order of Swedish state schools were to be established in every Estonian parish.[2]

By 1898, 97 percent of Estonian population was literate.[3]

Memorial stone for Bengt Gottfried Forselius in his birthplace, Harju-Madise


  1. ^ Westling, Gustaf Oskar Fredrik (1904). Beiträge zur Kirchengeschichte Livlands von 1656-1710 (in German). C. Mattiesen. p. 37.
  2. ^ a b Raun, Toivo (2001). Estonia and the Estonians. Hoover Press. p. 33. ISBN 0-8179-2852-9.
  3. ^ Miljan, Toivo (2004). Historical dictionary of Estonia. Scarecrow Press. p. 313. ISBN 0-8108-4904-6.
1688 in literature

This article presents lists of the literary events and publications in 1688.

Culture of Estonia

The culture of Estonia combines an indigenous heritage, represented by the country's Finnic national language Estonian, with Nordic cultural aspects. The culture of Estonia is considered to be largely influenced by Germanic culture, having grown out of it. Due to its history and geography, Estonia's culture has also influenced by the traditions of the adjacent area's Baltic Finns, Baltic Germans and Slavs, as well as by cultural developments in the former dominant powers, Sweden, Denmark and Russia. Traditionally, Estonia has been seen as an area of rivalry between western and eastern Europe on many levels. An example of this geopolitical legacy is an exceptional combination of multiple nationally-recognized Christian traditions: Western Christianity (the Catholic Church and the Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church) and Eastern Christianity (the Orthodox Church (the Estonian Apostolic Orthodox Church)). The symbolism of the border or meeting of east and west in Estonia was well illustrated on the reverse side of the 5 krooni note. Like the mainstream cultures in the other Nordic countries, Estonian culture can be seen to build upon ascetic environmental realities and traditional livelihoods, a heritage of comparatively widespread egalitarianism arising out of practical reasons (see freedom to roam and universal suffrage), and the ideals of closeness to nature and self-sufficiency.


Estonia (Estonian: Eesti [ˈeːsʲti] (listen)), officially the Republic of Estonia (Estonian: Eesti Vabariik), is a country in Northern Europe. It is bordered to the north by the Gulf of Finland with Finland on the other side, to the west by the Baltic Sea with Sweden on the other side, to the south by Latvia (343 km), and to the east by Lake Peipus and Russia (338.6 km). The territory of Estonia consists of a mainland and 2,222 islands in the Baltic Sea, covering a total area of 45,227 km2 (17,462 sq mi), water 2,839 km2 (1,096 sq mi), land area 42,388 km2 (16,366 sq mi), and is influenced by a humid continental climate. The official language of the country, Estonian, is the second most spoken Finnic language.

The territory of Estonia has been inhabited since at least 9,000 B.C. Ancient Estonians were some of the last European pagans to be Christianized, following the Livonian Crusade in the 13th century. After centuries of successive rule by Germans, Danes, Swedes, Poles and Russians, a distinct Estonian national identity began to emerge in the 19th and early 20th centuries. This culminated in independence from Russia in 1920 after a brief War of Independence at the end of World War I. Initially democratic, after the Great Depression Estonia was governed by authoritarian rule since 1934 during the Era of Silence. During World War II (1939–1945), Estonia was repeatedly contested and occupied by the Soviet Union and Germany, ultimately being incorporated into the former as the Estonian Soviet Socialist Republic. After the loss of its de facto independence, Estonia's de jure state continuity was preserved by diplomatic representatives and the government-in-exile. In 1987 the peaceful Singing Revolution began against Soviet rule, resulting in the restoration of de facto independence on 20 August 1991.

The sovereign state of Estonia is a democratic unitary parliamentary republic divided into fifteen counties. Its capital and largest city is Tallinn. With a population of 1.3 million, it is one of the least-populous member states of the European Union since joining in 2004, the economic monetary Eurozone, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, Schengen Area, and of the Western military alliance of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). It is a developed country with an advanced, high-income economy that has been among the fastest-growing in the EU. Estonia ranks very high in the Human Development Index, and performs favourably in measurements of economic freedom, civil liberties, education, and press freedom (third in the world in 2012 and 2007). Estonian citizens are provided with universal health care, free education, and the longest-paid maternity leave in the OECD. One of the world's most digitally advanced societies, in 2005 Estonia became the first state to hold elections over the Internet, and in 2014 the first state to provide e-residency.

Estonian language

The Estonian language (eesti keel [ˈeːsti ˈkeːl] (listen)) is the official language of Estonia, spoken natively by about 1.1 million people: 922,000 people in Estonia and 160,000 outside Estonia. It is a Southern Finnic language and is the second most spoken language among all the Finnic languages.

Estonian orthography

Estonian orthography is the system used for writing the Estonian language and is based on the Latin alphabet. The Estonian orthography is generally guided by phonemic principles, with each grapheme corresponding to one phoneme.


Forselius is a surname. It may refer to:

Bengt Gottfried Forselius (c. 1660–1688), Estonian scholar

Johann Forselius (d. 1684), Estonian scholar

Sten Forselius (1890–1937), Swedish Olympic athlete

Emil Forselius (1974–2010), Swedish actor

Jesper Forselius, first drummer of the Swedish band The Kristet Utseende


Kavandu is a village in Kambja Parish, Tartu County in eastern Estonia.

Kavandu is the birthplace of Ignatsi Jaak (ca 1670–1741), a schoolteacher and sacristan, the most famous student of scholar Bengt Gottfried Forselius.

List of Estonians

This is a list of notable Estonians.

List of Martin Luther University of Halle-Wittenberg people

A list of Martin Luther University of Halle-Wittenberg people

Madise, Harju County

Madise (also Harju-Madise) is a village in Lääne-Harju Parish, Harju County, Estonia. It is the birthplace of Bengt Gottfried Forselius.

November 16

November 16 is the 320th day of the year (321st in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 45 days remaining until the end of the year.


Nõo is a small borough (Estonian: alevik) in Tartu County, in southern Estonia. It's located about 15 km southwest of the city of Tartu by the Tartu–Valga–Riga railway and the European route E264 (also known as Via Hanseatica). Nõo is the administrative centre of Nõo Parish. As of 2011 Census, the settlement's population was 1,492.Nõo was first mentioned in 1319 as Nughen and as a separate church parish in 1483, during the times when it belonged to the Bishopric of Dorpat. Nõo St. Laurence Lutheran Church is believed to have been built around the 1250s to 1260s.According to Bengt Gottfried Forselius schooling took place in Nõo already in 1686. Since 1688 a local parish school has been working in Nõo. In 1953 the primary school was reorganized as a secondary school. In 1965 a computing centre was established, the school was given the first school computer in the USSR – the Ural-1. In 1994 Nõo school was separated into Nõo Secondary Science Gymnasium and Nõo Primary School.

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