Historian Helmut Piirimäe dies at 86

Helmut Piirimäe. Source: (Postimees/Scanpix)

Acclaimed Estonian historian and University of Tartu professor emeritus Helmut Piirimäe died aged 86 on Monday.

Piirimäe was born on Sept. 8, 1930 in Uue-Põltsamaa Municipality, Põltsamaa Parish.

He graduated from the University of Tartu with a degree in history in 1955. A year later, he began teaching at the university, where he was chosen Professor of General History in 1977. He gave his final lecture at the university in 2001.

Piirimäe served as a professor for generations of historians, and his research focused primarily on historical ties between the Baltics and Scandinavia, although his interests ranged from economic to cultural history.

The professor emeritus has made especially noteworthy contributions to researching the Swedish-era University of Tartu. Among other things, it was in large part due to his efforts that 1632, not 1802, began to be recognized in the Soviet Union as the year the university was established.

Piirimäe was a member of the Estonian Students' Society, an honorary doctor of the University of Uppsala and an honorary member of the Learned Estonian Society. He was bestowed the Order of the White Cross, 3rd Class in 1998.

The Institute of History and Archaeology at University of Tartu told ERR that Piirimäe's funeral will be held in the university's Assembly Hall on Saturday, Aug. 26 at 12 p.m.

Editor: Aili Vahtla

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