All About Estonia
Although the smallest
of the Baltic states, Estonia is currently being described by tourism
companies as no longer being Europe's best-kept secret. The capital
Tallinn has become a popular cruise ship destination and is being included
in most northern Europe cruise itineraries. Tourists
admire the old medieval portion of the city with it's 14th-centruy
buildings and cobbled streets.
The country has been ruled for many centuries by the
Danish, Swedes, Germans and Russians. It has been attacked,
devastated, and pillaged on numerous occasions throughout history.
The country was forcibly incorporated into the USSR in 1940 and it
regained its freedom in 1991.
The climate can be described as maritime, wet, with
moderate winters and cool summers. The terrain is marshy lowlands --
flat in the north, hilly in the south. The highest elevation
is at Suur Munamägi -- 318 m. Offshore lie more than 1,500
islands -- Saaremaa being the largest. The country is divided into
15 counties including: Harjumaa, Hiiumaa, Ida-Virumaa, Järvamaa,
Jõgevamaa, Läänemaa, Lääne-Virumaa, Pärnumaa, Põlvamaa, Raplamaa,
Saaremaa, Tartumaa, Valgamaa, Viljandimaa and Võrumaa. A visitor
will find old manor houses, iconic windmills, quaint country villages,
lovely seaside towns, spa resorts, medieval ruins and an abundance of
forests and marshlands.
© Alexander Kozik - used with permission.
Official Name -- Republic of
Population -- 1.34 million;
Area -- 45,227
(17,462 sq. m.);
Capital City -- Tallin
People -- Estonian 67.9%, Russian 25.6%, Ukrainian 2.1%, Belarusian 1.3%,
Finn 0.9%, other 2.2%
Languages -- Estonian (the official language), Russian;
Religions -- Mainly Lutheran; Orthodox Christian, others;
Government -- Parliamentary Democracy.
a result of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact of 1939, Nazi Germany
gave control of
to the Soviet Union.
World War II, between 1939 and 1945, through both the Nazi and Soviet
's direct human losses reached 180,000 residents, which amounted to 17% of its
total population. During the Nazi occupation from 1941 to 1944, 7,800 citizens
(70% ethnic Estonians, 15% ethnic Russians, 12.8% Estonian Jews, and 2.2%
representing other nationalities) were executed in Nazi prison camps.
the late 1980s, looser controls on freedom of expression under Soviet
leader Mikhail Gorbachev reignited the Estonians' call for
self-determination. By 1988, hundreds of thousands of people were
to sing previously banned national songs in what became known as the
Department of State-Estonia
did the passengers of the Walnut flee from their Homeland?
1944] Thousands of civilians left the country with the retreating German
troops or in boats over the stormy sea. Nearly 70,000 Estonians managed to
reach the West; how many lives were claimed by the sea is not known.
the end of the Second World War, every tenth Estonian lived abroad. Large
and vigorous Estonian colonies formed in Sweden, Canada and the USA
the Russian troops arrived, tens of thousands of refugees left Estonia.
They formed exile Estonian communities and tried to maintain their cultural
identity and language for all the years when their homeland was occupied by the
lost altogether a whole quarter of its population in the war, i.e. 282,000
people — either dead, fled abroad or deported. 30,000 men were killed in
action. Estonia also lost all its minorities: the Baltic Germans left for
Germany in 1939–1940, the coastal Swedes went to Sweden in 1943–1944,
the Jews were exterminated, and the districts with a Russian majority
across the Narva River, in Pechory (Petseri) and in Ivangorod (total 2334
sq km, 56,000 inhabitants) were incorporated into Russia in late 1944.
This action violated even the existing laws of the Soviet Union. In early
1945, the population of Estonia was no more than 800,000, of whom 97–98
percent were Estonians.
late autumn 1944, the entire Estonian territory had again been occupied by
the Red Army. Although the Western countries did not recognize the
annexation of the Baltic states de jure, they were not prepared to take
action, being unwilling to confront the Soviet Union. Estonia, Latvia and
Lithuania were the only countries whose independence was not restored at
the end of the war, not even in the form of the so called people’s
democracies of the Soviet Union’s Central and East European satellite
annexation immediately resulted in another wave of Red Terror: arrests,
executions, deportations and other brutal violations of human rights.
time the main pretext for persecution was service in the German army or in
local government during the German occupation period. Between 1945 and
1959, 75,000 people suffered repressive measures, 19 000 of them were
executed or perished. All Germans and sectarians were deported from
Estonia; a whole generation was deprived of the opportunity to lead a
normal life, even by Soviet standards. The key positions in local
administrative systems were given to Russians and Russian Estonians.
- Warfare in Estonia in 1944.
you like to see the beautiful landscape of Estonia
and hear the national anthem?
CLICK HERE to go to view
ESTONIAN ANTHEM VIDEO at YouTube.
above video is compliments of aka "ESTONIAisTHEbest"
Used with his kind permission.
recommended website filled with facts about Estonia's
culture, education and science, state, economy, society and nature.
encyclopedia Estonica (www.Estonica.org) is a bilingual web
publication, compiled by the Estonian Institute, with the aim of
offering a compact and systematic overview of Estonian society,
culture, history, nature, education, science, state
administration and economy, and of the connections between these
is a continually expanding and dynamic store of information. The
texts are written by experts and are supplemented by archive
materials and pictures taken by professional photographers. The
project aspires to show Estonia as it is and help people to
orientate in our cultural space. In addition to presenting
objective information, Estonica tries to BE analytical and
visionary, encouraging the reader to think about matters
concerning Estonia also in the future.
© 2009 - 2019 Tiiu Roiser-Chorowiec. All rights reserved.
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All images and text on this page are used with permission and are
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I thank all the individuals who have graciously allowed us to post their images
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Background pattern courtesy of Subtlepatterns.com
music featured on this page is an Estonian Hymn. Tune by Juhan Aavi,
The Midi "Hoia, Jumal Eestit" has been created and arranged by Tiiu
Roiser © 2009
page was last updated 27/12/2018 08:05 PM
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