Johans Kristofs Petri
Petri, Johans Kristofs
(in German, Johan Kristof Petri). Born Nov. 5, 1762; died Feb. 24, 1851. Baltic historian and publicist. Doctor of philosophy (1809). German by nationality.
Petri worked as a tutor in Estonia and St. Petersburg from 1784 to 1796, later teaching in Erfurt. In 1797 in Germany he began publishing works that made use of material he had gathered about the Estonian peasantry and the economy and culture of the Baltic region. A staunch opponent of serfdom and the gentry, he believed that governmental reforms could solve the peasant question. Works by Petri, G. Merķelis, and other educators were of great importance in the sharp ideological struggle that preceded the abolition of serfdom in the Baltic region. Petri’s views exerted a strong influence on 19th-century Estonian democrats.