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National Anthem of Estonia Eesti Hümn01:05

National Anthem of Estonia Eesti Hümn

"Mu isamaa, mu õnn ja rõõm. My Fatherland, My Happiness and Joy" Performed by Philip Sheppard / London Philharmonic Orchestra. (2012).

Flag of Estonia

The Estonian Flag.

Flag of Estonia proposed in 1919

A proposed Estonian flag with the Nordic Cross.


Estonia is one of the 3 Baltic states and has a population of 1.34 million. Its capital is in Tallinn.

The Republic of Estonia (Estonian: Eesti Vabariik), is a state in the Baltic region of Northern Europe. The Estonians are one of the group Finnic people, and are thus related to Ingrians, Vepsians and Finns.

Like the other Baltic states, Estonia is a democratic parliamentary republic. It is sub-divided into 15 counties. The capital and largest city is Tallinn. The nation is a member of the European Union, Eurozone and NATO. Estonia is listed as a "High-Income Economy" by the World Bank and as an "advanced economy" by the International Monetary Fund and the country is an OECD member. The United Nations also lists Estonia as a developed country with a Human Development Index of "Very High". Estonia has the highest GDP per person among former Soviet Union. The country is also respected and highly rated for it's high levels of press freedom, economic freedom, democracy and political freedom and public education.

Tallinn's Old Town was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Sites. It is also ranked as a global city and has been listed among the top 10 digital cities in the world. Tallin became the European Capital of Culture for 2011, along with Turku, Finland.

HistoryEdit

Poland & The New Baltic States

The geo-political situation that followed the treaties of Versailles and Brest-Litovsk is reflected in this 1918 map.

United Baltic Duchy flag

The flag of the 1918-1919 United Baltic Duchy.

Estonia had acquired some autonomy in April 1917 by a decree of the Russian provisional government, although Estonia remained under the suzerainty of the Russian Empire for the forcible future. After the October Revolutions, the Bolshevik regime suspended Estonia's provisional government, known as the Maapäev.

Estonia’s Committee of Elders of the Maapäev passed the Estonian Declaration of Independence in Pärnu on 23 February and in Tallinn on 24 February 1918 to pre-empt the advancing German forces and the hostile Russian Bolsheviks as they advanced on the interim United Baltic Duchy.

After winning the Estonian War of Independence against both the competing forces of Soviet Russia and the German Freikorps and the Baltic Germans' Baltische Landeswehr volunteers and signed the Tartu Peace Treaty on 2 February 1920. The Republic of Estonia was recognised (de jure) by Finland on 7 July 1920. It gradually gained political recognition between 1920 and 1922.

The declaration of independence in the town of Pärnu, which is named after the near by Pärnu River near the on 23 February in 1918, is captured on one of the first images of the new republic.

Estonia was a democracy, but the parliament (The Riigikogu) was disbanded after popular riots, in 1934, caused by the economic chaos of the Great Depression and was then ruled by decree by Konstantin Päts, who became President in 1938, when democracy was restored.

Estonia was a victim of the German–Soviet Nonaggression Pact of August 1939 after Stalin gained Hitler's agreement to divide Eastern Europe into "spheres of special interest" according to the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact and its Secret Additional Protocol.

The Estonian government was forced under force of arms to give their assent to an agreement which allowed the USSR to establish military bases and station 25,000 troops on Estonian soil for supposed "mutual defence” on 24 September 1939. On 12 June 1940, the order for a total military blockade on Estonia was given to the Soviet Baltic Fleet. Later that year, the USSR annexed Estonia. World War 2 saw many battles, including the Soviet evacuation of Tallinn.

Baltic German flag

The flag of the Germanic Baltische Landeswehr volunteers and the Baltics ethnic Germans.

There were, at the time of Soviet occupation in 1940, approximately 4,300 Estonian Jews. The Soviets scraped all ethnic rights and The Jewish Cultural Autonomy was immediately abolished and Jewish cultural institutions were closed down. About 350–500 Jews were deported or killed by the Soviets, while almost 1,000 killed by the Nazis.

Nazi Germany's Einsatzgruppe-A and local collaborators hunted down and killed both the Jews, Communists and Roma people. Many Estonians joined the Nazi armies and local militias of their own free will to fight against the soviets. In January 1962 a war crimes trial was held in Tartu, Estonia SSR. The Pro-Nazi collaborators Juhan Jüriste, Karl Linnas and Ervin Viks were accused of murdering 12,000 civilians in the notorious Tartu concentration camp. As the Germans retreated, on September 18 the nationalist, Jüri Uluots, formed a independent government led by the Deputy Prime Minister, Otto Tief.

The Soviets re-annexed Estoniain late 1944 and thousands were again deported. this sparked a guerrilla war against the occupying Soviet authorities in Estonia which lasted into the early 1950s by Metsavennad "forest brothers", who consisted mostly of Estonian war veterans of both the German and Finnish armies as well as some civilians and Scandinavian volunteers. About 125- 200,000 were deported, 20,000 enslaved in ‘Labour camps’ and about 75,000 were sent to Gulags by the Soviets. Within the few weeks that followed the take over, almost all the remaining rural households were collectivized. About a half of the deported died and the other half were not allowed to return until the early 1960s.
125px-Flag of Estonian SSR.svg

Flag of the Estonian SSR

The Estonians, however, kept their own government working in Washington D.C. and elsewhere, while the Baltic gold and money in western banks were frozen until early 1990s.

The city of Paldiski which was entirely closed to all public access. The city had a support base for the Soviet Baltic Fleet's submarines.
The country was badly damaged and depopulated by the various wars and purges and took a long time to recover.

Estonia, similar to the other Baltic states and the Caucus mountain states of Georgia and Armenia, have been interested in European intergration and been fairly anti-Russian since independence.

In 2004 Estonia was accepted as a member of NATO as well as the EU. The euro was adopted as the national currency in 2011. It currently has the smallest public debt of all eurozone countries (~10% of GDP).

 In the Baltic countries R1a frequencies decrease from Lithuania (45%) to Estonia (around 30 %).

Computing and scienceEdit

The Skype computing network was written by Estonians and is mainly developed in Estonia.

Geography and climateEdit

Satellite image of Estonia in April 2004

A satalite image of Estonia.

Tallinn SPOT 1020

A satalite image of Tallin.

Estonia has over 1,400 lakes. Most of them are very small, with the largest, Lake Peipus, being 3,555 km2 /1,373 sq mi. There are many rivers in the country. The longest of them are Võhandu 162 km/101 mi, Pärnu 144 km/89 mi, and Põltsamaa 135 km/84 mi. Estonia has numerous fenlands, marshes and bogs.the According to the WWF Estonia belongs to the ecoregion of the 'Sarmatic mixed forests'. The highest point in Estonia is Suur Munamägi at 318 m/1,043 ft
Luftbild Finnischer Meerbusen

Estonia, southern Finland and the Gulf of Finland.

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The weather is particularly cold, windy and bitter in Winter with the heavy snow cover, which is deepest in the south-eastern part of Estonia, usually lasting from mid-December to late March.

Notable people from EstoniaEdit

  • Fabian Gottlieb von Bellingshausen - discoverer of Antarctica.
  • Lennart Meri - first president of Estonia and a relevant person in Estonia's regaining of independence.

Notable ex-pats and exilesEdit

Lembit opik

Lembit Öpik M.P.

The former British Liberal Democrat MP, Lembit Öpik was born by parents who had fled Estonia shortly after it was annexed by the Soviet Union.

International alliancesEdit

Also seeEdit

MapEdit

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