Lennart Meri (b.1929), writer and historian, became president of Estonia in 1992 and won a second term in 1996. Writer Friedrich Reinhold Kreutzwald (1803–1882) wrote the epic Kalevipoeg (Son of Kalev), which was published by the Estonian Learned Society between 1857–61 and marked the beginning of Estonian national literature.
The Revolution of 1905 forced many Estonian writers to flee the country. In 1906 a stable government was established in Estonia and a literary movement took hold, Birth of Young Estonia. The movement was led by poet Gustav Suits (1883–1956). He fled to Finland in 1910 but returned after the Russian Revolution of 1917. Later, Suits became a professor of literature at Tartu University. His fellow writers and poets between the revolution of 1917 and 1940 included Friedbert Tuglas (1886–1971) and Marie Under (1883–1980). Writers who fled abroad during World War II include Karl Rumor (1886–1971) and Arthur Adson (1889–1977). Estonian writers banned or exiled during the Soviet period include the playwright Hugo Raudsepp.