ESTONIA



Republic of Estonia

Eesti Vabariik

CAPITAL : Tallinn

FLAG : Three equal horizontal bands of blue (top), black, and white.

ANTHEM : Mu isamaa, mu õnn ja rõõm (My Native Land, My Pride and Joy).

MONETARY UNIT : The Estonian kroon ( EEK ) was introduced in August 1992, replacing the Russian ruble. EEK 1 = $0.07015 (or $1 = EEK 14.254); as of May 2003.

WEIGHTS AND MEASURES : The metric system is in force.

HOLIDAYS : New Year's Day, 1 January; Independence Day, 24 February; Good Friday, 14 April; Labor Day, 1 May; Victory Day, anniversary of the Battle of Vonnu in 1919, 23 June; Midsummer Day, 24 June; Christmas, 25–26 December.

TIME : 2 PM = noon GMT.


TOPOGRAPHY

The topography of Estonia consists mainly of marshy lowlands with a hilly region in the southeast.

FLORA AND FAUNA

Calcareous soil and a relatively mild climate permit rich flora and fauna in western Estonia. Native plants number over 1,500 species. The abundance of woodland and plant species provide a suitable habitat for elk, deer, wild boar, wolf, lynx, bear, and otter.

ARMED FORCES

Active armed forces numbered 5,510 in 2002, with some 24,000 reserves. The army maintained four defense regions with 2,550 soldiers. The navy numbered 440 and the air force had 220 members. The Estonian Border Guard numbered 2,600 and also served as the coast guard. The estimated defense expenditure in 2002 was $155 million or 2% of GDP.

INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION

Estonia was admitted to the UN on 17 February 1991. The country is a member of the OSCE, EBRD, FAO, IAEA, IMF, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UPU, WHO, WIPO, the World Bank, and the WTO, and is applying for membership in other international organizations, but is not a member of the CIS. In 2002, Estonia was formally invited to join both the EU and NATO, with accession to each body slated for 2004.

INSURANCE

Since Estonia regained its independence, it has sought to develop a system of health insurance involving the decentralization of medical care.

HOUSING

According to 2000 census figures, housing stock consisted of 415,146 spartment buildings, 166,765 detached or semi-detached, family dwellings, 16,692 other small residential buildings, and 2,032 non-residentail buildings that were being used for housing.

The housing costs of low-income families are subsidized. Most housing is expected to be privatized eventually.

DEPENDENCIES

Estonia has no territories or colonies.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Estonia: the Transition to a Market Economy. Washington, D.C.: World Bank, 1993.

Kasekamp, Andres. The Radical Right in Interwar Estonia. New York: St. Martin's Press, 2000.

Raun, Toivo U. Estonia and the Estonians. Stanford, Calif.: Hoover Institution Press, 2001.

Taagepera, Rein. Estonia: Return to Independence. Boulder, Colo.: Westview Press, 1993.

McElrath, Karen (ed.). HIV and AIDS: A Global View. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 2002.

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