The Estonian Students’ Society, the oldest Estonian student organisation, was founded in 1870 at Tartu University and has continuously been active ever since. In 1940, EÜS was shut down in Estonia by the occupying Soviet authorities. In 1944, however, EÜS chapters were opened in both Finland and Sweden, and later in many Western countries. EÜS resumed its activities in Tartu in 1988.
Before the establishment of the Republic of Estonia in 1918, EÜS members played a leading role in Estonia’s movement of national awakening as well as in the founding of national initiatives, enterprises and organisations. EÜS's blue-black-white flag, consecrated in 1884, quickly became a national symbol as well as the official flag of the Republic of Estonia. A number of EÜS alumni have played a significant role in political, scientific, cultural and economic life in Estonia. First and foremost, however, EÜS is a student organisation with chapters not only in Tartu, but also in Tallinn, Pärnu, Brussels, Sweden, Canada and the United States of America. New members studying in many universities worldwide are accepted every semester. After graduating from university, as alumni they continue to espouse Estonian values as well as the EÜS spirit, principles and traditions.