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Updated: 20.12.2003

Officially Republic of Estonia, Estonian Eesti, or Eesti Vabariik, country in north-eastern Europe, the northernmost of the three Baltic States. It is bounded on the west and north by the Baltic Sea and on the east by Lake Peipus (Peipsi; Russian: Chudskoye Ozero) and the Narva River; it is bordered on the east and southeast by Russia and on the south by Latvia. Estonia has an area of 17,462 sq mi (45,227 sq km), of which about one-tenth is made up of some 1,500 islands and islets. The larger islands are Saaremaa (1,044 sq mi) and Hiiumaa (395 sq mi). The capital is Tallinn.

Estonia has been dominated by foreign powers through much of its history. In 1940 it was incorporated into the USSR as one of its constituent republics. Estonia remained a Soviet republic until 1991 when, along with the other Baltic states, it declared its independence. The USSR agreed to independence for Estonia and the other Baltic states on Sept. 6, 1991, and United Nations membership followed shortly thereafter.

Population: 1.3 million (UN, 2003)
Capital: Tallinn
Major languages: Estonian, Russian
Major religion: Christianity
Life expectancy: 66 years (men), 77 years (women) (UN)
Monetary unit: 1 kroon = 100 sents
Main exports: Machinery, textiles, wood products
Average annual income: US $3,870 (World Bank, 2001)
Internet domain: .ee
International dialling code: + 372

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