Travel Reference
In-Depth Information
Kremlin was waging “cyber war.” Since then, Estonia has taken an international leadership
role in Internet security.
Estonia Almanac
Official Name: Eesti Vabariik—the Republic of Estonia—or simply Estonia.
Population: Estonia is home to 1.3 million people (77 per square mile). Nearly three
in four are of Estonian heritage, and about one-quarter are of Russian descent, with
smaller minorities of Ukrainians, Belarusians, and Finns. About 70 percent speak
the official language—Estonian—and nearly 30 percent speak Russian. The ma-
jority of Estonians are unaffiliated with any religion. About 14 percent are Luther-
an and 13 percent are Orthodox.
Latitude and Longitude: 59°N and 26°E, similar latitude to Juneau, Alaska.
Area: 17,500 square miles, about the size of New Hampshire and Vermont combined.
Geography: Between Latvia and Russia, Estonia borders the Baltic Sea and Gulf of
Finland. It includes more than 1,500 islands and islets, and has the highest number
of meteorite craters per land area in the world.
BiggestCity: The capital of Estonia, Tallinn, has 400,000 people (500,000 in the met-
ropolitan area).
Economy: Estonia's transition to a free-market system included joining the World
Trade Organization and the European Union. Once a Baltic tiger, its economy was
hard-hit by the recent economic downturn. But Estonia is making a comeback: It
now has the highest GDP growth rate in Europe and boasts a per-capita GDP of
$20,600—the highest of the Baltic states. Its three major trading partners are Fin-
land, Sweden, and Germany; its strengths are electronics and telecommunications
(the country is so wired that its nickname is E-stonia).
Currency: €1 (euro) = about $1.30.
Government: Estonia is a parliamentary democracy, with a president elected by par-
liament (Toomas Hendrik Ilves, since October of 2006) and a prime minister
(Andrus Ansip, since April of 2005). The 101-member parliament (Riigikogu) is
elected by popular vote every four years.
Flag: The pre-1940 Estonian flag was restored in 1990. It has three equal horizontal
bands with blue at the top, black in the middle, and white on the bottom. The blue
represents Estonia's lakes and sea, and the loyalty and devotion of the country to
its people. The black symbolizes the homeland's rich soil and the hardships the
people have suffered. The white represents hope and happiness.
The Average Estonian: He or she is 40 years old, has 1.4 children, and will live to
be 72. About 58 percent of the population are women (they live longer), and when
she sings the national anthem, she uses the same melody as Finland.
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