Information on Estonia
|Ethnicities||65,3 % Estonians, 28,1 % Russians 2,5 % Ukranians a.o.|
|Religion||More than 60 % Lutherans|
|Urban %||69 %|
|Basis: Predictions 2013|
|Real Gross Inland Product (GIP), change against previous year||3,3 %|
|Consumer Prices, increase against previous year||3,3 %|
|Unemployment Rate, average/year||9,5 %|
|Trade Balance, balance in % of the GIP||- 3,5 %|
|Official Name of the State||Republic of Estonia|
Tallinn (400.000 inhabitants)
|Type of Government||Parlamentary Democracy|
|President||Toomas Hendrik Ilves|
|Prime Minister||Andrus Ansip|
|Highest Judicial Power||Supreme Court|
|Electoral System||Proportional Representation|
|Age of majority||18 years|
The Republic of Estonia is located in North-Eastern Europe, on the eastern shore of the Baltic Sea. The neighbours are Russia, Latvia, Finland and Sweden.
The territory of Estonia covers 45,227 km2
(a little bigger than Switzerland). Estonia’s northern coastline is on the
Gulf of Finland and its territory includes more than 1520 islands, the largest
of them are Saaremaa
(2673 km2 ) and Hiiumaa (989 km2 ). The capital Tallinn with its 480'000 inhabitants has an international airport. The second largest city, Tartu (109'000 inh.), is the old university town.
Estonia lies in the Eastern European time zone, that is GMT + 2 h
Estonia is mostly plain (the average height is only 50 m above sea level) but in the South there is a hilly county. A third of the total land area is utilized by agriculture. Estonia has the most forests of all the baltic states. About a third of the landscape is covered with forests (pine, spruce, birch) and 20% are covered by moorland and marsh. Estonia is rich in lakes and rivers. There are more than 1400 lakes and 20'000 pounds. The water depth lies generally between 1 m and 10 m. The largest lake is Lake Peipsi (3,555 km2 ), which is a border lake between Estonia and Russia.
The Estonian coast is by far the longest and the most varied of all the Baltic states. That is why it accomodates a whole variety of fauna and flora.
Climate: the summers are warm, 17°C, the winters are moderately cold (- 5°C). (Peak values in summer +30°C, in winter -20°C). Usually snow covers the ground from December to March.
The population counts 1,4 mio. people. The share of ethnic Estonians is 60% and Russians 30%. The main reason for this ethnic mix are the two World Wars. In those days the respective occupants murdererd and deported hundreds of thousands of Estonians. Thousands exiled. After the World War II the population had declined to 2/3.
People in Estonia consider themselves Lutherian. After the collapse of the Soviet Union the church has experienced an enormous influx.
The colours of the Estonian state flag, blue-black-white, have developed from the Estonian Students‘ Club. In 1918 the colours were made to the official state flag.
The three lions of the Estonian coat of arms come from the Danish coat of arms.
The whole history of Estonia is determined by the struggle for the access to the Baltic Sea. Formerly it was the neighbours Danmark and the Teutonic Knights who struggled for power on the Estonian territory. The reformation in 1523 gave the Estonians at last the possibility to liberate themselves from the authority of the Church and the Order. This enabled the until now oppressed Estonians to educate themselves. The weakening of the Order made it possible for the other neighbour states to occupy the land. Russia, Poland and Sweden shared Estonia. In 1721 the czaristic troops occupied the whole of Estonia. A russification began.
At the start of World War I in 1914 the Germans occupied the whole Balticum. Then the Red Army invaded in Estonia but the Estonians succeeded in chasing away the Soviets. In 1920 the independence was proclaimed.
The secret Hitler-Stalin-Pact in 1939 put a sudden end to the new-won independence. The Free Republic of Estonia becomes a Soviet Republic. In 1941 the Germans invaded in Estonia.
The Brown Terror replaces the Red Horror. After the collapse of Germany a second Soviet occupation begins. The country is massively russificated.
In 1988 begins the „Singing Revolution“ which makes history. On 23.8.88 approximately two million people from Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia stood on the Vilnius-Tallinn road, holding hands. The unprecedented living chain measured nearly 600 km in length. In 1991 the Estonian parliament proclaimed the restitution of the independent State of Estonia.
In 1991 the Republic of Estonia became a full member of the United Nations and of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE). Estonia is also a member of the Council of Europe and of the Council of the Baltic Sea States and participates in the North Atlantic Cooperation Council and the North Atlantic Assembly. In early 1992 it was agreed to abolish almost all trade restrictions between the three Baltic countries and to introduce a common visa policy.
||January 1st||New Years Day|
|February 24th||Independence Day|
|May 1st||Spring Day|
|June 23th||Victory Day|
|June 24th||Jaanipäev (St. John’s Day)|
|August 20th||Day of Restoration of Independence|