Estonia of the 21st Century

Jake Harrison (8th Hour)


Estonia is mainly a lowland country that is bordered by the Baltic Sea, Latvia, and Russia. It has numerous lakes and forests and many rivers, most draining northward into the Gulf of Finland or eastward into Lake Peipus, its largest lake.


During Feudal Times, Estonia had been occupied by Denmark, Sweden, and Vikings. In 1346, the Danes sold northern Estonia to Germany, who owned southern Estonia and Latvia.

Sweden took control of Estonia in the 1500's, reducing the power of the Balts. (The German landowning class)

In 1721, Russia took over from Sweden. The Estonians were then subject to a double bondage between the Balts and the czarist officials.

This oppression lasted until after World War I, when Estonia gained it's independence in 1920.

During World War II, Adolf Hitler (Germany) and Joseph Stalin (USSR) signed an agreement dividing up much of Europe, including Estonia. Hitler broke the treaty, and in 1941, the Nazi Army took control of the country. They retreated in 1944, allowing the Russians to regain Estonia.


The Government

Estonia is a democracy headed by Prime Minister Taavi Roivas (since 2014). The Republic of Estonia (or the cabinet) carries out the country’s domestic and foreign policy, shaped by parliament; it directs and co-ordinates the work of government institutions and bears full responsibility for everything occurring within the authority of executive power. The government, headed by the Prime Minister, thus represents the political leadership of the country and makes decisions in the name of the whole executive power.

The People and Culture

Because of its history and geography, its culture and traditions have been influenced by surrounding countries like Russia, Sweden, and Finland. Over 1,300,000 call Estonia home. Most people there are Evangelical Lutheran, Russian Orthodox, Estonian Orthodox, Baptist, Methodist, and Roman Catholic. The main language is Estonian. In Estonian society, the family is the center of life. Part of Estonian tradition is the yearly Lalupidu Singing Festival, when over 30,000 come to sing their hearts out. Estonians also tend to keep quiet and reserved, speak softly, and typically remain calm all the time.


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