The Republic of Estonia is situated in Northern Europe along the Baltic Sea. Finland lies to the north of Estonia, on the other side of the Gulf of Finland. Sweden is the western neighbour across the Baltic Sea. Estonia borders Russia in the east, with St. Petersburg at approximately 200 kilometres from the northeastern border. In the south Estonia borders Latvia.
Estonians have been living in this territory since approximately 2500 B.C., making them one of the longest settled of the European peoples. Due to Estonia’s strategic location as a link between east and west, it has been conquered numerous times, and it has been under foreign rule for several centuries. After centuries of Danish, Swedish, German and Russian rule, Estonia attained independence in 1918. The period of independence was brief and Estonia was forcibly annexed by the Soviet Union in 1940. In 1991, Estonia regained its independence, having managed to break free from the Soviet Union without any acts of violence.
At a Glance
- Estonia covers an area of 45,227 sq km, neighbouring Finland, Sweden, Latvia and Russia.
- 50% of Estonian land is covered by forests.
- Estonian climate is humid and temperate.
- 30% of Estonia’s 1.3 million population lives in the capital Tallinn.
- Estonia is among the least densely populated countries in the world.
- Estonians are Finnic peoples with Estonian and Finnish languages sharing many similarities.
- Over the centuries, Estonians have been subjected to Danish, Teutonic, Swedish and Russian rule.
- Estonia became a member of NATO on 29 March 2004 and joined the European Union on 1 May 2004. As of 21 December 2007, Estonia is a part of the Schengen visa area. As of 1 January 2011, it is a part of the eurozone.