A Country Guide to Estonia

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Overview

With an interesting location, Estonia is a tiny, but scenically huge, country. Bordering the Baltic Sea, the Russian Federation, and Latvia, Estonia is the most northerly of the three former Soviet Baltic Republics.

The country is dotted with several forests, water bodies, lakes, and islands. In fact, nearly half the country is covered with forests and wetlands, which are preserved by the communities. Estonia has preserved what is destroyed in Europe. The natural wealth of the country is largely unspoilt with less population and consequently, less pressure on the resources.

Another 5% of the country’s landscape is dotted with lakes. It is estimated that the country has more than 1,000 lakes on its relatively flat landscape. Estonia’s topography is quite interesting with two-third of its territory lying less than 50m (164ft.) above sea level. Add 7,000 rivers and streams and you have a true natural treasure in the form of Estonia.

Another one-fifth of the country is covered with bogs and wooded swamplands of different types. In fact, Estonia has the second largest cover of wooded swamplands in the world, next only to its northern neighbour, Finland.

The smallness of Estonia has also been its bane because throughout its history, and of other Baltic States, the country has struggled for its independence against the imperialistic designs of the more powerful neighbouring nations. Russia acquired Estonia from Sweden through the Treaty of Nystadt in 1721.

After the German invasion of the erstwhile Soviet Union during the Second World War, Estonia merged into Soviet Socialist Republic as the 15th Republic. Finally, in 1990, the then President of USSR, Mikhail Gorbachev offered choice to the Baltic States, and Estonia Communist Party voted in favour of full independence from the erstwhile USSR after a 6-month transition period. Soon, Estonia was recognized by major countries and it was admitted to the UN to complete its transition towards complete nationhood. Estonia joined the European Union (EU) in 2004.

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