Geographic and Governmental Profile of Estonia

After centuries of Danish, Swedish, German, and Russian rule, Estonia attained independence in 1918. Forcibly incorporated into the USSR in 1940 - an action never recognized by the US - 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 the West. It joined both NATO and the EU in the spring of 2004, formally joined the OECD in late 2010, and adopted the euro as its official currency on 1 January 2011.
Eastern Europe, bordering the Baltic Sea and Gulf of Finland, between Latvia and Russia
Geographic coordinates
59 00 N, 26 00 E
Continent / Subcontinent
45,228 sq km
42,388 sq km
2,840 sq km
includes 1,520 islands in the Baltic Sea
Area - comparative
slightly smaller than New Hampshire and Vermont combined
Land boundaries
633 km
border countries:
Latvia 343 km, Russia 290 km
3,794 km
Maritime claims
territorial sea:
12 nm
exclusive economic zone:
limits fixed in coordination with neighboring states
maritime; wet, moderate winters, cool summers
marshy, lowlands; flat in the north, hilly in the south
Elevation extremes
lowest point:
Baltic Sea 0 m
highest point:
Suur Munamagi 318 m
Natural resources
oil shale, peat, rare earth elements, phosphorite, clay, limestone, sand, dolomite, arable land, sea mud
Land use
arable land:
permanent crops:
87.6% (2005)
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Irrigated land
40 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources
21.1 cu km (2005)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural)
1.41 cu km/yr (56%/39%/5%)
per capita:
1,060 cu m/yr (2002)
Natural hazards
sometimes flooding occurs in the spring
Environment - current issues
air polluted with sulfur dioxide from oil-shale burning power plants in northeast; however, the amount of pollutants emitted to the air have fallen steadily, the emissions of 2000 were 80% less than in 1980; the amount of unpurified wastewater discharged to water bodies in 2000 was 1/20 the level of 1980; in connection with the start-up of new water purification plants, the pollution load of wastewater decreased; Estonia has more than 1,400 natural and manmade lakes, the smaller of which in agricultural areas need to be monitored; coastal seawater is polluted in certain locations
Environment - international agreements
party to:
Air Pollution, Air Pollution-Nitrogen Oxides, Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants, Air Pollution-Sulfur 85, Air Pollution-Volatile Organic Compounds, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified:
none of the selected agreements
Geography - note
the mainland terrain is flat, boggy, and partly wooded; offshore lie more than 1,500 islands
Country name
conventional long form:
Republic of Estonia
conventional short form:
local long form:
Eesti Vabariik
local short form:
Estonian Soviet Socialist Republic
Government type
parliamentary republic
geographic coordinates:
59 26 N, 24 43 E
time difference:
UTC+2 (7 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
daylight saving time:
+1hr, begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October
Administrative divisions
15 counties (maakonnad, singular - maakond); Harjumaa (Tallinn), Hiiumaa (Kardla), Ida-Virumaa (Johvi), Jarvamaa (Paide), Jogevamaa (Jogeva), Laanemaa (Haapsalu), Laane-Virumaa (Rakvere), Parnumaa (Parnu), Polvamaa (Polva), Raplamaa (Rapla), Saaremaa (Kuressaare), Tartumaa (Tartu), Valgamaa (Valga), Viljandimaa (Viljandi), Vorumaa (Voru)
counties have the administrative center name following in parentheses
20 August 1991 (declared); 6 September 1991 (recognized by the Soviet Union)
National holiday
Independence Day, 24 February (1918); note - 24 February 1918 was the date Estonia declared its independence from Soviet Russia and established its statehood; 20 August 1991 was the date it declared its independence from the Soviet Union
adopted 28 June 1992
Legal system
civil law system
International law organization participation
accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
18 years of age; universal for all Estonian citizens
Executive branch
chief of state:
President Toomas Hendrik ILVES (since 9 October 2006)
head of government:
Prime Minister Andrus ANSIP (since 12 April 2005)
Ministers appointed by the prime minister, approved by Parliament
president elected by Parliament for a five-year term (eligible for a second term); if a candidate does not secure two-thirds of the votes after three rounds of balloting in the Parliament, then an electoral assembly (made up of Parliament plus members of local councils) elects the president, choosing between the two candidates with the largest number of votes; election last held on 29 August 2011 (next to be held in the fall of 2016); prime minister nominated by the president and approved by Parliament
election results:
Toomas Hendrik ILVES reelected president; parliamentary vote - Toomas Hendrik ILVES 73, Indrek TARAND 25
Legislative branch
unicameral Parliament or Riigikogu (101 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms)
last held on 6 March 2011 (next to be held in March 2015)
election results:
percent of vote by party - Estonian Reform Party 28.6%, Center Party of Estonia 23.3%, Union of Pro Patria and Res Publica 20.5%, Social Democratic Party 17.1%, Estonian Greens 3.8%, Estonian People's Union 2.1%, other 4.6%; seats by party - Estonian Reform Party 33, Center Party 26, Union of Pro Patria and Res Publica 23, Social Democratic Party 19
Judicial branch
Supreme Court (chairman appointed for life by Parliament)
Political parties and leaders
Center Party of Estonia (Keskerakond) [Edgar SAVISAAR]; Estonian Greens (Rohelised) [Aleksander LAANE]; Estonian People's Union (Rahvaliit) [Andrus BLOK]; Estonian Reform Party (Reformierakond) [Andrus ANSIP]; Social Democratic Party [Sven MIKSER]; Union of Pro Patria and Res Publica (Isamaa je Res Publica Liit) [Urmas REINSALU]
International organization participation
Australia Group, BA, BIS, CBSS, CE, EAPC, EBRD, ECB, EIB, EMU, ESA (cooperating state), EU, FAO, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICRM, IDA, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC, MIGA, NATO, NIB, NSG, OAS (observer), OECD, OIF (observer), OPCW, OSCE, PCA, Schengen Convention, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNTSO, UPU, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
Diplomatic representation in the US
chief of mission:
Ambassador Marina KALJURAND
2131 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
[1] (202) 588-0101
[1] (202) 588-0108
consulate(s) general:
New York
Diplomatic representation from the US
chief of mission:
Ambassador Michael C. POLT
Kentmanni 20, 15099 Tallinn
mailing address:
use embassy street address
[372] 668-8100
[372] 668-8265
Flag description
three equal horizontal bands of blue (top), black, and white; various interpretations are linked to the flag colors; blue represents faith, loyalty, and devotion, while also reminiscent of the sky, sea, and lakes of the country; black symbolizes the soil of the country and the dark past and suffering endured by the Estonian people; white refers to the striving towards enlightenment and virtue, and is the color of birch bark and snow, as well as summer nights illuminated by the midnight sun
National symbol(s)
barn swallow, cornflower
National anthem
"Mu isamaa, mu onn ja room" (My Native Land, My Pride and Joy)
Johann Voldemar JANNSEN/Fredrik PACIUS
adopted 1920, though banned between 1940 and 1990 under Soviet occupation; the anthem, used in Estonia since 1869, shares the same melody with that of Finland but has different lyrics
Data source 1: All Above textual data, maps and flags were extracted from The World Factbook which was prepared by the Central Intelligence Agency and made available on the following link: The World Factbook. Lebanese Economy Forum is not sponsered or affiliated, in any way, by the US Central Intelligence Agency
Data source 2: Plots and Charts are constructed using the world bank public data catalog which can be viewed by visiting the following link: World Bank Data Catalog. Lebanese Economy Forum is not sponsored or affiliated, in any way, by the worldbank

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