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Playing cards have been with us since the 14th century, when they first entered popular culture. Over the centuries packs of cards, in all shapes and sizes, have been used for games, gambling, education, conjuring, advertising, fortune telling, political messages or the portrayal of national or ethnic identity. All over the world, whatever language is spoken, their significance is universal. Their popularity is also due to the imaginative artwork and graphic design which is sometimes overlooked, and the “then & now” of how things have changed.

Estonia

Estonia's first period of independence lasted 22 years, beginning in 1918, and this period was one of great cultural advancement.

Playing Cards in Estonia

Estonia's first period of independence lasted 22 years, beginning in 1918, and this period was one of great cultural advancement when some of the best playing card designs were produced. But then Estonia was occupied and annexed by the Soviet Union in 1939-1940. During the war Estonia was occupied by Nazi Germany in 1941, then reoccupied by the Soviet Union in 1944. Estonia regained independence in 1991 after the collapse of the USSR and joined the European Union in 2004.

See also:   Estonian Historic Playing Cards

Modern Estonian Souvenir Playing Cards

Above: Estonian Souvenir playing cards, c.2010.

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By Simon Wintle

Member since February 01, 1996

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Curator and editor of the World of Playing Cards since 1996.

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Estonia

Estonia

Estonia's first period of independence lasted 22 years, beginning in 1918, and this period was one of great cultural advancement.