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Estonia

Facts & Figures

President: Toomas Hendrik Ilves (2006)

Prime Minister: Taavi Rõivas (2014)

Land area: 16,684 sq mi (43,211 sq km); total area: sq mi (sq km)

Population (2014 est.): 1,257,921; growth rate: –0.68%; birth rate: 10.29/1000; infant mortality rate: 6.7/1000; life expectancy: 74.07

Capital and largest city (2011 est.): Tallinn, 400,000

Other large city: Tartu, 100,100

Monetary unit: Kroon

More Facts & Figures

Flag of Estonia

Geography

Estonia is mainly a lowland country that is bordered by the Baltic Sea, Latvia, and Russia. It has numerous lakes and forests and many rivers, most draining northward into the Gulf of Finland or eastward into Lake Peipus, its largest lake.

Government

Parliamentary democracy.

History

Estonians resisted the assaults of Vikings, Danes, Swedes, and Russians before the 13th century. In 1346, the Danes, who possessed northern Estonia, sold the land to the Teutonic Knights of Germany, who already possessed Livonia (southern Estonia and Latvia). The Teutonic Knights reduced the Estonians to serfdom. In 1526, the Swedes took over, and the power of the German (Balt) landowning class was reduced. But after 1721, when Russia succeeded Sweden as the ruling power under the Peace of Nystad, the Estonians were subject to a double bondage—the Balts and the czarist officials. The oppression lasted until the closing months of World War I, when Estonia finally achieved independence after a victorious war (1918–1920). But shortly after the start of World War II, the nation was occupied by Russian troops and incorporated as the 16th republic of the USSR in 1940. Germany occupied the nation from 1941 to 1944, when it was retaken by the Soviets.


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