Mihkel Veske

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Mihkel Veske Mihkel Veske, TaM F354 (F133-12).jpg
Mihkel Veske

Mihkel Veske (28 January [ O.S. 16 January] 1843 in Holstre Parish, Viljandi County16 May [ O.S. 4 May] 1890 in Kazan) was an Estonian poet and linguist. [1]

Old Style and New Style dates 16th-century changes in calendar conventions

Old Style (O.S.) and New Style (N.S.) are terms sometimes used with dates to indicate that the calendar convention used at the time described is different from that in use at the time the document was being written. There were two calendar changes in Great Britain and its colonies, which may sometimes complicate matters: the first was to change the start of the year from Lady Day to 1 January; the second was to discard the Julian calendar in favour of the Gregorian calendar. Closely related is the custom of dual dating, where writers gave two consecutive years to reflect differences in the starting date of the year, or to include both the Julian and Gregorian dates.

Viljandi County County of Estonia

Viljandi County or Viljandimaa;, is one of 15 counties of Estonia. It is located in southern Estonia bordering Pärnu, Järva, Jõgeva, Tartu and Valga counties.

Kazan City of republic significance in Tatarstan, Russia

Kazan is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Tatarstan, Russia. With a population of 1,243,500, it is the sixth most populous city in Russia. Kazan is one of the largest religious, economic, political, scientific, educational, cultural and sports centers in Russia. Kazan lies at the confluence of the Volga and Kazanka Rivers in European Russia, about 715 kilometres (444 mi) east from Moscow. The Kazan Kremlin is a World Heritage Site.



Mihkel Veske was born in Veske farm, Holstre Parish (now in Metsla village, Tarvastu Parish), Viljandi County in northern Livonia. He attended the village school in Pullerits, the parish school in Paistu and secondary school in Tartu. Between 1866 and 1867 he attended the mission school in Leipzig. In 1872 he graduated from the University of Leipzig with a doctoral degree. He published his doctorate in 1873 on comparative grammar of languages. Veske then returned to Estonia and worked as a journalist for the newspaper Eesti Põllumees .

Metsla, Viljandi County Village in Viljandi County, Estonia

Metsla is a village in Tarvastu Parish, Viljandi County, Estonia located 16 km southeast of the town of Viljandi, 7 km northwest of the small borough of Mustla. Neighboring villages include, Vilimeeste, Raassilla and Ülensi. As of 2011, the population of Metsla was 38, a decrease from 55 in the 2000 census.

Tarvastu Parish Municipality of Estonia in Viljandi County

Tarvastu Parish was a rural municipality of Estonia, in Viljandi County. It had a population of 4,216 and an area of 409.00 km².

Governorate of Livonia governorate of the Russian Empire

The Governorate of Livonia was one of the Baltic governorates of the Russian Empire, now divided between the Republic of Latvia and the Republic of Estonia.

From 1874 to 1887 Veske was a lecturer in Estonian language at the University of Dorpat. From 1886 until his untimely death in 1890 Veske was a lecturer in Finno-Ugric languages at the University of Kazan.

Finno-Ugric languages language family

Finno-Ugric, Finno-Ugrian or Fenno-Ugric is a traditional grouping of all languages in the Uralic language family except the Samoyedic languages. Its commonly accepted status as a subfamily of Uralic is based on criteria formulated in the 19th century and is criticized by some contemporary linguists as inaccurate and misleading. The three most-spoken Uralic languages, Hungarian, Finnish, and Estonian, are all included in Finno-Ugric, although linguistic roots common to both branches of the traditional Finno-Ugric language tree are distant.

During the 1880s, Veske was one of the leading representatives of the Estonian national awakening. He belonged to the strongly patriotic groups around the Estonian intellectuals and journalists Carl Robert Jakobson. From 1882 to 1886 Veske was the President of the Society of Estonian Literati. 1884 Veske edited the magazine Oma Maa (My Land).

Estonian national awakening

The Estonian Age of Awakening is a period in history where Estonians came to acknowledge themselves as a nation deserving the right to govern themselves. This period is considered to begin in the 1850s with greater rights being granted to commoners and to end with the declaration of the Republic of Estonia in 1918. The term is sometimes also applied to the period around 1987 and 1988.

Carl Robert Jakobson Estonian politician

Carl Robert Jakobson was an Estonian writer, politician and teacher active in the Governorate of Livonia, Russian Empire. He was one of the most important persons of the Estonian national awakening in the second half of the 19th century.

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Veske was one of the first Estonian linguists to use the comparative method of historical linguistics. Between 1875 and 1884, he spent the summers traveling, comparing the dialects in different regions. In 1880 he visited Finland, and in 1885/86 Hungary. He advocated an Estonian standard language on the basis of the North Estonian dialect and phonetic spelling. During his time in Kazan, he studied the languages of the Mari and Mordvin, and dealt with the cultural relations between the Finno-Ugric and Slavic peoples. In 1881-83 he created a two volume textbook of the Finnish language.

Finland Republic in Northern Europe

Finland, officially the Republic of Finland, is a country in Northern Europe bordering the Baltic Sea, Gulf of Bothnia, and Gulf of Finland, between Norway to the north, Sweden to the northwest, and Russia to the east. Finland is a Nordic country and is situated in the geographical region of Fennoscandia. The capital and largest city is Helsinki. Other major cities are Espoo, Vantaa, Tampere, Oulu and Turku.

Hungary Country in Central Europe

Hungary is a country in Central Europe. Spanning 93,030 square kilometres (35,920 sq mi) in the Carpathian Basin, it borders Slovakia to the north, Ukraine to the northeast, Austria to the northwest, Romania to the east, Serbia to the south, Croatia to the southwest, and Slovenia to the west. With about 10 million inhabitants, Hungary is a medium-sized member state of the European Union. The official language is Hungarian, which is the most widely spoken Uralic language in the world, and among the few non-Indo-European languages to be widely spoken in Europe. Hungary's capital and largest city is Budapest; other major urban areas include Debrecen, Szeged, Miskolc, Pécs and Győr.

Mari people ethnic group

The Mari are a Finno-Ugric ethnic group, who have traditionally lived along the Volga and Kama rivers in Russia. Almost half of Maris today live in the Mari El republic, with significant populations in the Bashkortostan and Tatarstan republics. In the past, the Mari have also been known as the Cheremisa or the Cheremis people in Russian and the Çirmeş in Tatar.

After his death in Kazan, Veske's body was returned to Estonia. He is buried at the Uus-Jaani cemetery in Tartu (Dorpat). The bronze bust on his tomb was created by the Estonian sculptor August Weizenberg (now lost).


Veske's poetry is inspired by the simplicity of the popular Estonian folk song. Veske also collected folk poetry. He translated numerous German, Russian, Finnish and Hungarian folk songs into Estonian.

Poetry collection

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  1. Henno Jänes, Geschichte der estnischen Literatur, p48.