Pärnu pärˈno͞o [key], Ger. Pernau, Rus. Pyarnu, city (1994 pop. 51,963), SW Estonia, on the Gulf of Riga. A seaport, it exports timber and flax and is also a beach and health resort. It was founded c.1250 by the Livonian Knights and became a city of the Hanseatic League. After the dissolution (1561) of the Livonian Order it was contested by Sweden, Russia, and Poland. Peter I of Russia took it from the Swedes in 1710, and its cession was confirmed by Sweden in 1721. Pärnu was incorporated into newly independent Estonia in 1918.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2024, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

See more Encyclopedia articles on: CIS and Baltic Political Geography