General information about Estonia
The official name is the Republic of Estonia (Eesti Vabariik). Located in the northeast of Europe. The area is 45.2 thousand km2, the population is 1.423 million people. (2001). The official language is Estonian. The capital is Tallinn (500 thousand people, 2001). Public holiday – Independence Day February 24 (1918). The monetary unit is kroon (equal to 100 centimes).
Member of the UN (since 1993), Council of Europe (since 1993), EU (since 2004), NATO (since 2004), etc.
Geography of Estonia
Estonia is located between 22° and 28° east longitude and 60° and 58° north latitude, on the southern coast of the Gulf of Finland, washed by the Baltic Sea and the Gulf of Riga. The length of the land border is 637 km, in the south with Latvia (343 km), in the east with the Russian Federation (294 km). The nearest northern neighbor is Finland. The coastline is heavily indented – 3794 km. More than 1500 islands, the largest are Saaremaa, Hiiumaa, Muhu.
Estonia is located within the East European Plain, gradually rising from the coasts of the Gulf of Riga and the Gulf of Finland in eastern and southeastern directions. The average height is 50 m above sea level, the highest point – 318 m – Suur Munamägi hill in the south of the country.
Estonia has a dense river network. Rivers: Narva, Pirita, Kazari, Pärnu, etc. The longest river – Pärnu (144 km) flows into the Gulf of Riga. The most abundant rivers are Narva and Emajõgi.
There are more than 1150 lakes (mostly of glacial origin) and St. 250 ponds. The lakes cover approx. 4.8% of the territory. The largest of them, Peipsi (or Peipsi), is located in the east and forms a natural and historical border with the Russian Federation (out of a lake area of 3555 km2, 1616 km2 belong to the lake). The largest inland water body is Lake Võrtsjärv (266 km2).
More than 48% of the territory is covered with mixed coniferous-broad-leaved forests (pine, spruce, warty and downy birch, aspen, as well as oak, maple, ash, elm, linden). The low coastal strip is occupied by coastal meadows with specific flora that tolerate soil salinity.
There are approx. 1560 species of flowering, gymnosperms and ferns. A wide variety of mosses (507 species), lichens (786), fungi (about 2500), algae (more than 1700). There is approx. 60 species of mammals. These are: moose, roe deer, hares, wild boars, foxes, pine martens, badgers, squirrels, etc. More than 70 species of fish live in fresh water and coastal waters (cyprinids, salmon, burbot, trout, crucian carp, tench, carp, herring, sprat , cod, flounder, sea whitefish, eel, etc.).
Estonia has a rather variegated soil cover from sod-podzolic, carbonate to stony podzolic. In general, waterlogged soils occupy more than half of the country’s area, and swamps – approx. 22%.
Minerals: shale tar (kukersite), combustible shale and phosphorites (explored reserves are estimated at 3.8 billion tons, predicted – about 6 billion tons), peat, amber, limestone, clay, phosphates, dolomite.
According to Bridgat, the climate is transitional from maritime to continental, the average July temperature is approx. +17°C, February from -4°C on Lake Saaremaa to -8°C in Narva.
Population of Estonia
According to the estimated data of national statistics, at the beginning of 2003 the population of Estonia was 1356 thousand people, it decreased by 20.7 thousand people. compared to the 2000 census data.
The population in Estonia is decreasing due to both negative natural growth and emigration. From 1995-2001, the death rate has steadily increased (from 11.9 to 13.5‰), while the birth rate has decreased (from 13.9 to 8.7‰), while the infant mortality rate has also decreased (from 18.7 to 12, 6 people per 1000 newborns). Average life expectancy is 69.7 years, men 63.7, women 76 years. In 2001, 17% of the population was under 15, 15% over 15, 68% St. 65 years old. Men make up 47% of the population, women 53%. 67.1% of the population lives in cities. The retirement age since 2002 is 65 for men, 60 for women.
Ethnic composition: Estonians – 65.1%, Russians – 28.1%, Ukrainians – 2.5%, Belarusians – 1.5%, Finns – 1%. 75.1% of the permanent population (almost all Estonians) have Estonian citizenship, 6.2% – Russian, do not have any citizenship of St. 12%.
Estonian belongs to the Baltic-Finnish branch of the Finno-Ugric family of languages.
Among believers, Lutherans predominate (80-85%), there are Orthodox (including Estonians), Baptists, Methodists, Seventh-day Adventists, Catholics, and Pentecostals. 8 churches, 8 parish unions and 66 private parishes are registered.