A country of north-central Europe west of Russia, bordering on the Baltic Sea. Settled before the 1st century A.D., it was held successively between the 13th and 18th centuries by the Danes, German Livonian Knights, Swedes, and Russians. Estonia became an independent republic in 1918 but was annexed by the USSR in 1940. Occupied by Germany in 1941, it reverted to Soviet control in 1944 and was known as the Estonian Soviet Socialist Republic. Full independence was gained in 1991. Tallinn is the capital and the largest city. Population: 1,320,000.
Republic on the Baltic Sea, bordered by Latvia to the south, Russia to the east, and, separated by the Gulf of Finland, Finland to the north. Estonia also includes several hundred small islands in the Baltic. Its capital and largest city is Tallinn.
Although more closely related by race, language, culture, and history to Scandinavia and Germany than to Russia, after 1721 Estonia was subject to Russian rule. The country briefly achieved independence in the years between World War I and World War II. It resisted integration with the Soviet Union but was forcibly annexed in 1940. In 1991, Estonia was one of the first of the Soviet republics to declare its independence as the communist system and the Soviet Union collapsed.