A Short History of Estonia
A Short History of Estonia

Estonians speak a Finno-Ugrian language closely related to Finnish, and distantly to Hungarian. Estonian has no relation to Russian, German, English or any of the Indo-European language family. Estonia was first settled in 2,000 B.C. and remained a independent nation until the 13th century A.D. In 1193 the Pope called for a crusade against the Baltics and the country was overrun by Danish and German knights by 1220. The situation oscillated many times until the Swedish kingdom took control of the majority of the country in 1561. Their rule lasted until 1710 when Estonia was given over to the Russian empire who ruled until 1918 when Estonian independence was asserted.

Freedom lasted until 1940 when the country was retaken under the pretense of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact between Nazi Germany and the Stalinist regime. In the course of the war, Estonia fell under the occupation of Germany for three years. In 1944 Stalin retook the country, and the doors fell shut for the next fifty years. Estonia would not see independence again until 1991, the year the Soviet Union collapsed and the Cold War ended. Since the reestablishment of independence the nation has been rapidly transforming and adapting to the modern world. Today Estonia boasts the most successful economy of the former Soviet region.

May 2, 1997
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