Nature Conservation in 2007 Diversity of nature in Estonia (An 83 page
book in PDF).
Estonian Ecotourism Association Connects individuals, organizations and authorities for tourism development that contributes to the local communities and conserves the natural and culture heritage of Estonia.
|Background: After centuries of Swedish and Russian rule, Estonia
attained independence in 1918. Forcibly incorporated into the USSR in
1940, it regained its freedom in 1991 with the collapse of the Soviet
Union. Since the last Russian troops left in 1994, Estonia has been free
to promote economic and political ties with Western Europe.
Government type: parliamentary democracy
Currency: 1 Estonian kroon (EEK) = 100 sents
Geography of Estonia
Location: Eastern Europe, bordering the Baltic Sea and Gulf of Finland, between
Latvia and Russia
People of Estonia
The name "Eesti," or Estonia, is derived from the word "Aisti," the name given by the ancient Germans to the peoples living northeast of the Vistula River. The Roman historian Tacitus in the first century A.D. was the first to mention the Aisti, and early Scandinavians called the land south of the Gulf of Finland "Eistland," and the people "aistr." Estonians belong to the Baltic-Finnic group of the Finno-Ugric peoples, as do the Finns and Hungarians. Archaeological research supports the existence of human activity in the region as early as 8,000 BC but by 3,500 BC the principal ancestors of the Estonians had arrived from the east.
Estonians look like and consider themselves Nordics, evidenced through the strong cultural and religious influences gained over centuries during Germanic and Scandinavian colonization and settlement. This highly literate society places strong emphasis upon education, which is free and compulsory until age 16. The first book in Estonian was printed in 1525. Most Estonians belong to the Evangelical Lutheran Church, but a sizable minority are Russian Orthodox.
From 1945-1989 the percentage of ethnic Estonians in Estonia dropped from 94% to 61%, caused primarily by the Soviet program promoting mass immigration of urban industrial workers from Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus, as well as by wartime emigration and Stalin's mass deportations and executions. Estonia's citizenship law and constitution meet international and OSCE standards, guaranteeing universal human and civil rights.
Written with the Latin alphabet, Estonian is the language of the Estonian people and the official language of the country. One-third of the standard vocabulary is derived from adding suffixes to root words. The oldest known examples of written Estonian originate in 13th century chronicles. The Soviet era had imposed the official use of Russian, so most Estonians speak Russian as a second language while the resident Slavic populace speaks Russian as a first language.
Population: 1,332,893 (July 2005 est.)
SOURCES: The World Factbook, U.S. Department of State
Mother Earth Travel > Country Index > Estonia > Map Economy History