Map Page 1130 Area 16,852 square mi (43,211 square km) Population 1,408,556 Capital Tallinn Highest Point 1,050 ft (318 m) Lowest Point 0 m GDP per capita $10,900 Primary Natural Resources oil shale, peat, phosphorite, clay, limestone, dolomite.
FOR CENTURIES DOMINATED by its larger and stronger neighbors, since independence from the former Soviet Union in 1991, the small country of Estonia has shown itself to be the economic tiger of the former communist countries of Eastern Europe.
The smallest of the three Baltic states, Estonia was the first to reintroduce its own currency and has managed to reduce inflation from 1,000 percent in 1992 to 2.8 percent in 1999 and unemployment to a mere 3.3 percent, well below the EUROPEAN UNION (EU) average.
Having joined the NORTH ATLANTIC TREATY ORGANIZATION (NATO) in 2002, Estonians embarked on a new course, firmly directed toward the West, with membership in the EU dating from May 1, 2004.
Estonia is closely tied to the Baltic region, with a long coastline (2,618 mi or 3,794 km), including its northern coast on the Gulf of Finland and over 1,500 islands in the Baltic Sea.
The largest of these are Saaremaa and Hiiumaa.
Its neighbors include RUSSIA to the east, and LATVIA to the south, with FINLAND a short distance across the gulf (about 53 mi or 85 km) at its closest.
Historically, the region was connected to other Baltic powers through sea commerce and the economic expansion of German merchants during the Middle Ages.
Estonia's towns were essentially German for most of their history as members of the vast Hanseatic League, including its main city of Tallinn, formerly known as Reval.
The area formed a province in the changing empires of the region, either Danish, German or Swedish, and finally Russian from 1721.
The Estonian people themselves, sharing ethnic and linguistic affinity with the Finns (and, more distantly, Hungarians), generally populated the countryside and served as the agricultural labor force supplying the industry and trade of the Germanic towns.
In the 19th century, however, Estonian nationalism stirred and began to clamor for an independent Estonia for Estonians.
Yet as late as 1914, the so-called Baltic Barons, German noble landowners, still owned 90 percent of the large agriculture estates (60 percent of the total land) and dominated the cities as they had done since the Middle Ages.
With GERMANY's defeat in 1918, Estonia declared itself independent, but this was short-lived, and the country was occupied by the Soviet Union in 1940, and formally declared a Soviet socialist republic.
The terrain is mostly flat and marshy in the north and west, becoming more hilly in the south and east.
Bogs and wooded swamps cover a fifth of the country, and there are over 1,500 lakes.
The largest of these lakes form part of the border with Russia, Lake Peipus and Lake Pskov.
These lakes are connected by a channel, and flow out toward the Gulf of Finland through the Narva River.
Vorts-Jarv is a large inland lake whose waters flow eastward into Lake Peipus, passing by Estonia's second-largest city, Tartu.
ESTONIAN INDUSTRY The Narva corridor is also the center of Estonia's heavy industry, highly developed under the Soviet regime, with more investment per capita from Moscow than any other part of the Soviet Union.
Estonian industry was geared to production of oil-from one of the world's largest deposits of combustible shale-and also military supplies.
Leningrad, roughly 245 mi (395 km) away, became dependent on Estonia for gas and oil, but also relied on Estonia's fertile soils and dairy farms for its food needs, much as the city had done (as St.
Petersburg) since its founding in the early 18th century.
Estonians remain wary of the large Russian population still living in Narva, while it converts the remains of the Soviet military industry to more useful products.
Estonia has a very low population density, allowing much of the land to remain cultivated in small farms or left wooded for the second-largest economic activity, timber, paper, and furniture.
Approximately one-third of the population lives in Tallinn.
The fastest growth is occurring in service industries, such as tourism, trade and banking, and Estonia is becoming famous as a leader in e-government.
- You can now apply for Australian Visa through the Internet
"Country entry permit application has become facilitated and the procedure itself takes less time.
Starting from October 1 this year this new system allows to apply for visa online 24/7, including holidays.
Electronic system makes possible not to visit the consulate to apply for the entry permit and you no longer need to mail papers. Moreover, the authorized individuals for applying from the applicant are free to use this system to apply for a visa instead of the applicant.
You are able to verify your application status through the Internet and when you get the entry permit to Australia all the documents will be sent either to your e-mail address or by a registered letter on the mailing address specified in the application form. You will need to take the received document with you and be able to show it if needed. However, it is noted that the airline company will be aware whether you have got the Australian visa or not (airport staff have an access to the electronic data system, which will also include information about received entry permits) and therefore you may not show your visa at passport control and during the boarding. "
- Airplane was forced to land because of the broken coffee machine
"SAS plane routing from Stockholm to Chicago was forced to make an emergency landing by a faulty coffee maker.
The carrier’s reps report that the flight something got short-circuited. The crew realized that there was a smell of smoke and after that the decision to make an emergency landing at the Greenland airport was made. It is stated that there was no panic aboard: all the passengers remained at their seats till the full landing.
Causing the coffee machine breakdown had to stay at a hotel overnight in Greenland; the next day the plane departed for Chicago. "