Estimates of historical disturbance patterns are essential to guide forest management aimed at ensuring the sustainability of ecosystem functions and biodiversity. However, quantitative estimates of various disturbance characteristics required in management applications are rare in longer-term historical studies. Thus, our objectives were to (1) quantify past disturbance severity, patch size, and stand proportion disturbed and (2) test for temporal and subregional differences in these characteristics. We developed a comprehensive dendrochronological method to evaluate an approximately two-century-long disturbance record in the remaining Central and Eastern European primary mountain spruce forests, where wind and bark beetles are the predominant disturbance agents. We used an unprecedented large-scale nested design data set of 541 plots located within 44 stands and 6 subregions. To quantify individual disturbance events, we used tree-ring proxies, which were aggregated at plot and stand levels by smoothing and detecting peaks in their distributions. The spatial aggregation of disturbance events was used to estimate patch sizes. Data exhibited continuous gradients from low- to high-severity and small- to large-size disturbance events. In addition to the importance of small disturbance events, moderate-scale (25-75% of the stand disturbed, >10 ha patch size) and moderate-severity (25-75% of canopy disturbed) events were also common. Moderate disturbances represented more than 50% of the total disturbed area and their rotation periods ranged from one to several hundred years, which is within the lifespan of local tree species. Disturbance severities differed among subregions, whereas the stand proportion disturbed varied significantly over time. This indicates partially independent variations among disturbance characteristics. Our quantitative estimates of disturbance severity, patch size, stand proportion disturbed, and associated rotation periods provide rigorous baseline data for future ecological research, decisions within biodiversity conservation, and silviculture intended to maintain native biodiversity and ecosystem functions. These results highlight a need for sufficiently large and adequately connected networks of strict reserves, more complex silvicultural treatments that emulate the natural disturbance spectrum in harvest rotation times, sizes, and intensities, and higher levels of tree and structural legacy retention.