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Tere tulemast Eesti portaali
Estonia (Estonian: Eesti [ˈeːsʲti] (listen)), officially the Republic of Estonia (Estonian: Eesti Vabariik), is a country in northern Europe. It is bordered to the north by the Gulf of Finland across from Finland, to the west by the Baltic Sea across from Sweden, to the south by Latvia, and to the east by Lake Peipus and Russia. The territory of Estonia consists of the mainland, the larger islands of Saaremaa and Hiiumaa, and over 2,200 other islands and islets on the eastern coast of the Baltic Sea, covering a total area of 45,339 km2 (17,505 sq mi). The capital city Tallinn and Tartu are the two largest urban areas of the country. The Estonian language is the autochthonous and the official language of Estonia; it is the first language of the majority of its people, as well as the world's second most spoken Finnic language.
The land of what is now modern Estonia has been inhabited by humans since at least 9,000 BC. Ancient Estonians were one of the last "pagan" civilisations in Europe to adopt Christianity following the Papal-sanctioned Livonian Crusade in the 13th century. After centuries of successive rule by the Teutonic Order, Denmark, Sweden, and the Russian Empire, a distinct Estonian national identity began to emerge in the mid-19th century. This culminated in the 24 February 1918 Estonian Declaration of Independence from the then warring Russian and German Empires, and, after the end of World War I, in the 1918–1920 War of Independence where Estonians were able to repel the Bolshevik Russian invasion and successfully defended their newborn freedom. Democratic throughout most of the interwar period, Estonia declared neutrality at the outbreak of World War II, however the country was repeatedly contested, invaded and occupied, first by Stalinist Soviet Union in 1940, then by Nazi Germany in 1941, and ultimately reoccupied in 1944 by, and annexed into, the USSR as an administrative subunit (Estonian SSR). After the loss of its de facto independence to the Soviet Union, Estonia's de jure state continuity was preserved by diplomatic representatives and the government-in-exile. Following the bloodless Estonian "Singing Revolution" of 1988–1990, the nation's de facto independence was restored on 20 August 1991.
Estonia is a developed country, with a high-income advanced economy; ranking very high in the Human Development Index. The sovereign state is a democratic unitary parliamentary republic divided into fifteen counties. It has a population of 1.3 million, and is one of the least populous members of the European Union, the Eurozone, the OECD, the Schengen Area, NATO, and the United Nations Security Council. Estonia has consistently ranked highly in international rankings for quality of life, education, digitalization of public services and the prevalence of technology companies. (Full article...)
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The history of Estonia forms a part of the history of Europe. Humans settled in the region of Estonia near the end of the last glacial era, beginning from around 8500 BC. Before German crusaders invaded in the early 13th century, proto-Estonians of ancient Estonia worshipped spirits of nature. Starting with the Northern Crusades in the Middle Ages, Estonia became a battleground for centuries where Denmark, Germany, Russia, Sweden and Poland fought their many wars over controlling the important geographical position of the country as a gateway between East and West.
After Danes and Germans conquered the area in 1227, Estonia was ruled initially by Denmark in the north, by the Livonian Order
, an autonomous part of the Monastic state of the Teutonic Knights
and by Baltic German
ecclesiastical states of the Holy Roman Empire
. From 1418 to 1562 the whole of Estonia formed part of the Livonian Confederation
. After the Livonian War
of 1558–1583, Estonia became part of the Swedish Empire
until 1710/1721, when Sweden ceded it
as a result of the Great Northern War
of 1700–1721. Throughout this period the Baltic-German
nobility enjoyed autonomy, and German
served as the language of administration and education. (Full article...
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The following are images from various Estonia-related articles on Wikipedia.
History of Estonia)
Soviet prison doors on display in the Museum of Occupations, Tallinn (from
Stone Cist Graves from The Bronze Age in Northern Estonia (from
Counties of Ancient Estonia in the beginning of the 13th century. (from
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