Estonia (official name: Republic of Estonia), smallest in population of the former Soviet republics, is a low-lying land on the Baltic Sea with 1,500 lakes and plenty of forests. Independence blossomed briefly between 1918 and1940 after centuries of German, Swedish, and Russian rule. During World War II it was invaded first by Russian troops, then Germans, and then Russians again, forcing Estonia into the Soviet Union in 1944. Since independence in 1991, Estonia deals with the legacy of Russian workers brought in during the Soviet years—26 percent of the population is Russian. As a stable democracy with a market economy, Estonia looks west for trade and security, joining both the European Union and NATO in 2004. Estonia is situated on the eastern coast of the Baltic Sea, with a coastline of more then 3,700 kilometers long. Other large towns in Estonia, apart from the capital Tallinn, are the university town of Tartu (population 100,000), the border town of Narva (population 70,000) and the sea resort town of Parnu (population 45,000).
Economy of Estonia
- Industry: Engineering, electronics, wood and wood products, textiles
- Agriculture: Potatoes, vegetables; livestock and dairy products; fish
- Exports: Machinery and equipment, wood and paper, textiles, food products, furniture
History of Estonia
The Danish King Valdermar II conquered Tallinn in the year 1219. According to the legend, the Danish flag Danebrog fell from the the sky during the battle of Tallinn. The name of the city may be derived from Taani + Linn (Danish + town). Tallinn, Parnu and Viljandi belonged to the Hanseatic League. The Lubeck law came into effect in Tallinn on the 15th of May 1248. The times under the Swedish crown (1561-1710) between the Livonian War and the Northern War are remembered in Estonian folklore as the Good Old Swedish Times.