Republic of Estonia

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Flag of Estonia Flag of Estonia
Pre-1940 flag restored by Supreme Soviet in May 1990 - three equal horizontal bands of blue (top), black, and white.

After centuries of Danish, Swedish, German, and Russian rule, Estonia attained independence in 1918. Forcibly incorporated into the USSR in 1940, it regained its freedom in 1991, with the collapse of the Soviet Union. Since the last Russian troops left in 1994, Estonia has been free to promote economic and political ties with Western Europe. It joined both NATO and the EU in the spring of 2004. - CIA World Factbook.

Map of Estonia

Estonia Coat of Arms

National symbols of Estonia
The coat of arms, the national colours and the national anthem officially became Estonia's after the War of Independence of 1918 - 1920, when the Republic of Estonia was internationally recognized. All three symbols had existed long before.

Estonia - Fotw
Description of the Flag, Legislation, Vertical Banner, Table Flag, Pennant.

Estonia -
The Estonian people are ethnically related to the Finns. The Estonian language is one of the Finno-Ugric languages and as such, along with its close relative Finnish as well as Hungarian, is one of the few official languages of the European Union that is not of Indo-European origin.

Estonia - U.S. Department of State
        Estonians belong to the Balto-Finnic group of the Finno-Ugric peoples, as do the Finns and the Hungarians. Archaeological research confirms the existence of human activity in the region as early as 8,000 BC, but by 3,500 BC the principal ancestors of the Estonians had arrived from the east.
        Estonians have strong ties to the Nordic countries today stemming from deep cultural and religious influences gained over centuries during Scandinavian colonization and settlement. This highly literate society places great emphasis upon education, which is free and compulsory until age 16. About 20% of the population belongs to the following churches registered in Estonia: Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church, Estonian Apostolic Orthodox Church, Estonian Orthodox Church subordinated to the Moscow Patriarchate, Baptist Church, Roman Catholic Church, and others.
        As of November 2006, 84.6% of Estonia's population held Estonian citizenship, 7.6% were citizens of other countries (primarily Russia), and 8.8% were of undetermined citizenship.
        Written with the Latin alphabet, Estonian is the language of the Estonian people and the official language of the country. Estonian is one of the world's most difficult languages to learn for English-speakers: it has fourteen cases, which can be a challenge even for skilled linguists. During the Soviet era, the Russian language was imposed for official use.