For centuries Estonia has been occupied by Danish, Swedish, German and Russian powers until independence was declared on the 24th February 1918. For 22 years Estonian was a self governing nation with its own parliament the "Riigkogu", currency the "kroon" and national anthem "Mu isamaa, mu õnn ja rõõm". In 1940 Estonia was once again invaded and occupied by foreign forces - Russia 1940-1941, Nazi Germany 1941-1944 then forcibly annexed to the Soviet Union from 1944 until 1991. Restoration of independence took place on the 20th August 1991.
Approximately 1.3 million people live in Estonia with another half a million Estonians residing across the globe in countries such as Germany, Canada, Australia, USA, Sweden and the United Kingdom.
Estonia is divided into 15 counties. Tallinn, Tartu, Narva and Pärnu are four of the largest and most visited cities respectively.
The territory of Estonia covers 45,227 km2.. There are over 1500 islands, 1000 lakes and 7000 rivers in Estonia. About 50% of Estonia is covered in forest.
Estonia meets over 90% of its own energy needs from its oil shale.