The history of Estonia book also has the following, Estonia ruling system, Estonia politics, Estonia culture, Estonia travel guide, Estonia people and relation, Estonia tourism. vacation package. Estonia's struggles for independence during the twentieth century were in large part a reaction to nearly 700 years of foreign rule. Before 1200 the Estonians lived largely as free peasants loosely organized into parishes (kihelkonnad ), which in turn were grouped into counties (maakonnad ). In the early 1200s, the Estonians and the Latvians came under assault from German crusaders seeking to impose Christianity on them. Although the Estonians' resistance to the Teutonic Knights lasted some twenty years, the lack of a centralized political organization as well as inferior weaponry eventually brought down the Estonians in 1227. The Germans, moving from the south, were abetted by Danish forces that invaded from the north and captured Tallinn. Together with present-day Latvia, the region became known as Livonia; the Germans and Danes settled down as nobility, and the Estonians were progressively subordinated as serfs. During 1343-45 an Estonian peasant uprising against the German and Danish nobility prompted the Danes to relinquish their control of northern Estonia to the Germans. After this resistance was crushed, the area remained generally peaceful for two centuries.