The population of Livonia, which was 621,600 in 1816, reached 1,000,876 in 1870, and 1,295,231 in 1897, of whom 43.4 were Letts, 39.9% Ehsts, 7.6% Germans, 5.4% Russians, 2% Jews and 1.2% Poles.
The Ehsts, who resemble the Finns of Tavastland, have maintained their ethnic features, their customs, national traditions, songs and poetry, and their harmonious language.
In 1186 the emissaries of the archbishop of Bremen began to preach Christianity among the Ehsts and Letts, and in 1201 the bishop of Livonia established his residence at Riga.
In1878 the nobility, mostly of German descent, owned and farmed 52% of the land; 42% was farmed, but not owned, by the peasants, mostly Esths or Ehsts, and only 3% was owned by persons outside the ranks of the 'nobility.
The Esths, Ehsts or Esthonians, who call themselves Tallopoeg and Maamees, are known to the Russians as Chukhni or Chukhontsi, to the Letts as Iggauni, and to the Finns as Virolaiset.