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one knows with absolute certainty what the origin of the name Estonia is. Historic
Scandinavian names for the country are Eistland, which may be the origin.
It may also come from the Latin name for the region, Aesti or Estia.
The Estonians are an oddity in Europe in terms of ethnicity as they are more closely
related to the Finns and the people of Central Asia than they are to most other
Europeans. However, once these original immigrants arrived to Europe, they quickly
settled the lands and European influence began. This began with life as farmers,
who relied on the lands for survival, a shift from the people's nomadic ways
in Central Asia.
The lands of Estonia are fairly fertile, despite the short growing season, and most
people found survival on the lands in this way. For much of time the lifestyle was
focused on the lands, the weather, and the sunlight and even today many people make
a living working the lands. However, most other aspects of the people's culture
The colors on Estonia's flag have
unknown origins and meanings. Blue likely represents faith, loyalty, devotion, the
sky, sea, or lakes, black symbolizes the soil of the country and the dark past endured
by the people, while white likely represents the country striving towards enlightenment
Name: Republic of Estonia
Independence: August 20, 1991 &
February 24, 1918 (celebrated)
Population: 1,266,375 (2013 estimate)
Ethnicity: Estonian, Russian, & others
Religion: None & Evangelical Lutheran
Foreigners introduced many new aspects of culture to the people, beginning with
Christianity and the growth of cities and trading posts, guaranteeing continuous
outside contact. These influences began in the form of trade and influence, but
soon turned into foreign control over the people, including being ruled by the Swedes
and Russians. While these people changed the culture and lifestyle to a degree,
they also encouraged a stronger Estonian identity as the people clung tightly to
their language, foods, dress, and lifestyle.
The Soviet Union eventually took over the Estonian people and this vastly changed
the lifestyle. The Soviets introduced technology in numerous forms, while encouraging
people to urbanize and take on jobs in the industrial sector. Farming was still
needed and remained an important occupation for many people, but urbanization occurred
to a great degree as well. More importantly though, the Soviet government encouraged
ethnic Russians to work these new jobs in Estonia as cities swelled with Russians.
The introduction of ethnic Russians created some tensions, but also solidified the
differences between these two groups culturally. The Russians maintained most aspects
of their culture, while the Estonians clung to their historic culture, magnifying
the differences and more strongly identifying as "Estonian."
Today the ethnic division remains in the country, with Russians heavily focused
in urban centers, while the Estonians live throughout the country. Both maintain
their own histories, cultures, lifestyles, and identities. However, the country
is still changing as the people are looking west for inspiration and growth; Estonia
joined the European Union as it progresses technologically and economically.
Learn More About Estonia:
Map of Estonia: