Historical Dictionary of Estonia
Estonia, with a total population of only 1.4 million is located at the interface of East and West, between Eastern Orthodoxy and Western Protestantism, and between Russia and Sweden and Germany. As such, its territory has been a battlefield between larger countries and it has been subject to the Germans, Swedes, and Russians. Only with the National Awakening in the latter 19th century were the Estonians able to begin to assert control over their nation and its culture. Alas, the independent Republic of Estonia only lasted two decades, and it was not until the collapse of the Soviet Union that the new state was created in 1991. In the ensuing decade the image of Estonia has undergone a magical transformation as it moved from being a forgotten component of the authoritarian and economically moribund Soviet Union to a democratic, vibrant, and competitive member of modern Europe. The road has not been easy and success depended not only on the efforts of the Estonians, but also on the international situation and serendipity. Still, they can now look back on major achievements, including membership in the United Nations, NATO, and the European Union, as well as reasonable economic, social, and political progress. This volume covers Estonian history from the 12th century to the present and includes numerous detailed entries on important persons, places, and events. It was written by Toivo Miljan, who was born in Estonia and returned to the region recently as director of the EuroFacutly established by the Council of Baltic States.
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