Estonia, inhabited at least since the 1st century AD. C., has lived a large part of its history under the control of other peoples and countries. Thus, the first invaders were the Vikings, in the ninth century d. C., and, until the arrival of the Germans at the end of century XII, Estonia was victim of several Swedish, Danish and Russian incursions. German rule began in 1180, with the arrival of Christian monks in the region of Livonia (southern Estonia and Latvia), with the purpose of spreading the Christian faith in a peaceful way. But, from 1198, this Christianization started to be made by crusades, making that, in 1219, Germany already dominated the whole country, being noteworthy that the North and the islands in the Baltic Sea were dominated jointly with the kingdom of Denmark through an alliance between the two parties (in 1343-45).
In the 16th century, more precisely in 1561, Livonia came to be dominated by Lithuania (which had united with Poland), while Russian Tsar Ivan IV, the Terrible, had conquered, in 1558, the Narva region, in the center from the country. In that same year, the kingdom of Sweden conquered the North of Estonia, extending its dominion to the whole country after expelling the Russians in 1581 and defeating the Lithuanians in 1629. Russia, after centuries of failed attempts, finally managed to conquer Estonia. In 1709 he took over Livonia, forcing the Swedes to give up the remaining territories in 1721.
At the end of the 19th century, Estonia experienced a period of prosperity thanks to Russia’s land privatization policy that favored Estonian farmers. This prosperity, however, allowed the overwhelming majority of the population to invest in their cultural formation, which opened the door to the birth of a nationalist spirit. This conjuncture provoked an intensification of the domination of Russia through the definitive establishment of the Russian political-administrative framework in Estonia. However, instability arose with the Russian Revolution of January 1905, and on November 27 the National Liberal Party (NLP) was founded, founded by Jaan Tônisson. But only after the Russian Revolution of March 1917 did Estonia secure its autonomy, its first government being appointed by the Estonian National Council (Maapäev), on 12 October, led by Konstantin Päts (one of the inspirers of NLP), a government that would be replaced, a month later, by the communists following a coup d’état supported by Russia. February 1918 was marked by the German invasion, which caused the Communists to flee, which Maapäev used to declare independence, which happened on the 24th, a renewed declaration on the day of German capitulation (11 November 1918). However, Estonia had to endure a new Russian invasion, repelled completely in late February 1919 thanks to the aid of the Allies.
For 20 years, Estonia survived the pro-Soviet communist conspiracies, but the signing, in August 1939, of the Non-Aggression Pact between the USSR and Germany proved to be fateful for Estonia’s independence. On September 28, the USSR imposed the signing of a mutual assistance treaty, the fulfillment of which served as a pretext for the Soviet invasion on June 17, 1940, and Estonia’s entry into the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics was made official on July 21 of that year. This statute only became effective, however, on September 22, 1944, after three years of German military presence.
Soviet rule over Estonia, carried out through the Communist Party, was based on repressive measures that largely mischaracterized the country, as evidenced by the presence of Estonians in the existing population in 1940 (90%) compared to what is counted today (60%). The situation changed with the advent of Glasnost and Perestroika, policies implemented by Mikhail Gorbachev in the late 1980s, which allowed the strengthening of the independence claims led by the now formed Popular Front. In the elections held in March 1990, the independenceists won a resounding victory, proclaiming, on the 30th of that month, a transitional phase for independence, which would be formally declared in August 1991.
On July 26, 1994, in Moscow, Estonia and Russia signed a border-setting agreement under the supervision of US President Bill Clinton, although border disputes did not cease, and on August 31, Russian troops withdrew from the country. Despite the existing internal political instability (then President Lennart Meri refused the ministerial composition made by Prime Minister Mart Laar, causing his replacement by Environment Minister Andres Tarand), Estonia started its integration in the western world, evidenced by the participation active in the North Atlantic Cooperation Council and the Partnership for Peace (which replaced the Warsaw Pact in its relationship with NATO). For Estonia democracy and rights, please check intershippingrates.
In October 2001, President Lennart Meri, the first after the removal of Soviet power, was replaced by Arnold Ruutel. Its main objectives were achieved with Estonia’s formal accession to the European Union and NATO on 1 May 2004, in a ceremony held in Dublin.
- Countryaah.com: Offers a full list of airports in the country of Estonia, sorted by city location and acronyms.
- Abbreviationfinder.org: Provides most commonly used abbreviations and initials containing the country name of Estonia. Listed by popularity.
1UpTravel.com – Maps of Estonia
Browse a collection of country, political, historical and shaded relief maps of this European country. Check out the map of major defense industry facilities.
Estonia – Facts and Information
Browse a healthy dose of facts and figures out this northern European country. With info on geography, land area and natural resources.
Estonia – InfoPlease.com Map
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Estonia – Merriam-Webster Atlas
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Estonia – National Geographic Map Machine
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Estonia – Rec.org Map
Close-up view map allows users to more easily locate populated areas, land features and bordering nations. Also, find key water bodies.
Expedia.com Maps – Estonia
Provides a map allowing users to zoom in and out of different geographic regions of this small country on the Baltic Sea.