Fast Facts

Population:
1,345,000
Capital:
Tallinn; 391,000
Area:
45,227 square kilometers (17,462 square miles)
Language:
Estonian, Russian
Religion:
Evangelical Lutheran, Russian Orthodox, Eastern Orthodox
Currency:
Estonian kroon
Life Expectancy:
71
GDP per Capita:
U.S. $11,000
Literacy Percent:
100
Flag: Estonia
Map: Estonia

Estonia, smallest in population of the former Soviet republics, is a low-lying land on the Baltic Sea with 1,500 lakes and plenty of forests. Independence blossomed briefly between 1918 and1940 after centuries of German, Swedish, and Russian rule. During World War II it was invaded first by Russian troops, then Germans, and then Russians again, forcing Estonia into the Soviet Union in 1944. Since independence in 1991, Estonia deals with the legacy of Russian workers brought in during the Soviet years—26 percent of the population is Russian. As a stable democracy with a market economy, Estonia looks west for trade and security, joining both the European Union and NATO in 2004.

ECONOMY

  • Industry: Engineering, electronics, wood and wood products, textiles
  • Agriculture: Potatoes, vegetables; livestock and dairy products; fish
  • Exports: Machinery and equipment, wood and paper, textiles, food products, furniture

—Text From National Geographic Atlas of the World, Eighth Edition

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