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Estonia (Republic of), independent country on the east coast of the Baltic Sea, bordered by Russia in the west, and Latvia in the south. The largest cities are Tallinn, the capital; Tartu; and Pärnu.

Land and climate

A third of the land, which consists of plains and low plateaus, is forested. The climate is temperate.


Estonians are ethnically and linguistically related to the Finns. The population largely consists of Estonians (64%). Russians are the most important ethnic minority (29%). Estonian is the official language. 60% of the population is Evangelical-Lutheran

More than half the population is urban.


Agriculture, especially dairy farming, is the chief industry. After independence was proclaimed, the economy was swiftly modernized, particularly the industry: machinery, electronics, and textile.


Estonia became an independent state in 1918, but was annexed by the USSR in 1940 (along with Latvia and Lithuania) under the terms of a secret agreement between the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany. The country was occupied by Germany during World War II and again taken over by the USSR in 1945. An independence movement gained massive support in the late 1980s, and independence was attained in 1991. Estonia aims at joining western institutions, such as NATO and the EU.


Additional topics

21st Century Webster's Family Encyclopedia21st Century Webster's Family Encyclopedia - Erasistratus to Federalism