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Estonia /ɛsˈtoʊniə/ (help·info) (Estonian: Eesti), officially the Republic of Estonia (Estonian: Eesti Vabariik), is a country in Northern Europe. It is bordered to the north by the Gulf of Finland, to the west by the Baltic Sea, and to the south by Latvia. The territory of Estonia covers 11,135 sq km (4299 sq mi) and is influenced by a temperate seasonal climate.The Estonians are a Finnic people, and the Estonian language is closely related to Finnish.
The settlement of modern day Estonia began around 8500 BC, immediately after the Ice Age. Over the centuries, the Estonians were subjected to Danish, Teutonic, Swedish and Russian rule. Foreign rule in Estonia began in 1227. In the aftermath of the Livonian Crusade the area was conquered by Danes and Germans. From 1228–1562, parts or most of Estonia were incorporated into a crusader state Terra Mariana, that became part of the Ordensstaat, and after its decline was formed the Livonian Confederation. During the era economic activities centered around the Hanseatic League. In the 1500s Estonia passed to Swedish rule, under which it remained until 1710/1721, when it was ceded to the Russian Empire.
The Estophile Enlightenment Period (1750–1840) led to a national awakening in the mid-19th century. In 1918 the Estonian Declaration of Independence was issued, to be followed by the Estonian War of Independence (1918–1920), which resulted in the Tartu Peace Treaty recognizing Estonian independence in perpetuity. During World War II, Estonia was occupied and annexed first by the Soviet Union and subsequently by the Third Reich, only to be re-occupied by the Soviet Union in 1944.
After Doomsday the Estonian SSR was ravaged by a couple of hits, including its capital of Tallinn. In desperation the westernmost counties voted to create a Estonian state. Originally it was supposed to be a placeholder for the Soviet government, but the Estonians discovered through outside contact that this wouldn't happen anytime soon. They declared the Estonian Republic fully independent of the Soviet Union. The Estonian government had also made it clear that it was the successor state to the First Estonian Republic that was annexed to the USSR in 1940.
After contact was established with the Scandinavian countries and the Nordic Union was formed, the Estonian government made their ultimate long-term goal to join the Nordic Union, citing their cultural and historic ties to Finland. However, due to difficulties in the first years of independence, their application for membership was first sent on June 18, 1998. Due to the rapid economic growth since the 2000s, the Nordic Law Thing recommended making Estonia an official candidate for membership in May 2002. Candidate country status was granted to Estonia in 2006 by the Nordic Law Thing and by the Nordic Council and a date for the beginning of entry negotiations was set for early 2007. The Nordic Union announced that the way was open for Estonia to join the union along with Karelia and North Germany on August 10, 2010, making Estonia a an official member of the Nordic Union.
Food, construction, and electronic industries are currently among the most important branches of Estonia's industry. In 2007, the construction industry employed around 12% of the entire country's workforce.
Although the amount of pollutants emitted to the air have been falling since the 1980s, the air is still polluted with sulphur dioxide from the mining industry which was rapidly developed by the Soviet Union in early 1950s. In some areas the coastal seawater is polluted, mainly around the Sillamäe industrial complex.
Politics of Estonia takes place in a framework of a parliamentary representative democratic republic in which the Prime Minister of Estonia is the head of government and of a multi-party system.
The military of Estonia is based upon the Estonian Defence Forces (Estonian: Kaitsevägi) which is the name of the unified armed forces of the republic with Maavägi (Army), Merevägi (Navy), Õhuvägi (Air Force) and a paramilitary national guard organization Kaitseliit (Defence League). The Estonian National Defence Policy aim is to guarantee the preservation of the independence and sovereignty of the state, the integrity of its land, territorial waters, airspace and its constitutional order.
The Estonians have good relations with the Finns, and by extension, the Nordic Union, of which it is a part. They have been worried that the Siberians would refuse to acknowledge their independence and as of present the Soviet Union has no diplomatic relations with the breakaway state. Nordic concerns with the situation were a motivator in their pressuring the rest of the ADC to seek out a ceasefire rather than subduing the Sicilians completely in the Second Sicily War. The Estonians have polite relations with Courland and Lithuania, but most Estonians feel that there is more of a cultural connection with the Nordic countries, which eventually resulted in the Estonians joining the Nordic Union.
Despite its membership in the Nordic Union, Siberia refuses to let them join the League of Nations. However, membership in the ADC is likely at some point for the same reasons.