Republic of Estonia
In the Estonian language, the oldest known endonym of the Estonians was maarahvas, meaning “country people” or “people of the soil”. The land inhabited by Estonians was called Maavald meaning “Country Realm” or “Land Realm”.
One hypothesis regarding the modern name of Estonia is that it originated from the Aesti, a people described by the Roman historian Tacitus in his Germania (ca. 98 AD)The historic Aesti were allegedly Baltic people, whereas the modern Estonians are Finno-Ugric. The geographical areas between Aesti and Estonia do not match, with Aesti being further down south.
Ancient Scandinavian sagas refer to a land called Eistland, as the country is still called in Icelandic, and close to the Danish, German, Dutch, Swedish and Norwegian term Estland for the country. Early Latin and other ancient versions of the name are Estia and Hestia.
Esthonia was a common alternative English spelling prior to 1921
The Government of the Republic of Estonia
(Estonian: Vabariigi Valitsus) exercises executive power pursuant to the Constitution and the laws of the Republic of Estonia. It is also known as the cabinet.
The cabinet carries out the country’s domestic and foreign policy, shaped by parliament (Riigikogu); it directs and co-ordinates the work of government institutions and bears full responsibility for everything occurring within the authority of executive power. The government, headed by the Prime Minister, thus represents the political leadership of the country and makes decisions in the name of the whole executive power.
The following duties are attributed to the cabinet by the Constitution of Estonia:
- executes the domestic and foreign policies of the state;
- directs and co-ordinates the activities of government agencies;
- administers the implementation of laws, resolutions of the Riigikogu (Parliament), and legislation of the President of the Republic of Estonia;
- introduces bills, and submits international treaties to the Riigikogu for ratification and denunciation;
- prepares the draft of the state budget and submits it to the Riigikogu, administers the implementation of the state budget and presents a report on the implementation of the state budget to the Riigikogu;
- issues regulations and orders on the basis of and for the implementation of law;
- manages relations with other states;
- performs other duties which the Constitution and the laws vest in the Government of the Republic.
The Era of Silence
The Era of Silence (Estonian: vaikiv ajastu) was the period between 1934 and 1938 or 1940 in Estonian history. The period began with the preemptive coup of 1934, which Prime Minister Konstantin Päts carried out to avert a feared takeover of the state apparatus by the Vaps Movement (League of Veterans). The term “Era of Silence” was introduced by Kaarel Eenpalu, Prime Minister in 1938-39 and a strong supporter of Päts, Estonia’s dictator during that period.
The Parliament of Estonia (Estonian: Riigikogu) or the legislative branch is elected by people for a four-year term by proportional representation. The Estonian political system operates under a framework laid out in the 1992 constitutional document. The Estonian parliament has 101 members and influences the governing of the state primarily by determining the income and the expenses of the state (establishing taxes and adopting the budget). At the same time the parliament has the right to present statements, declarations and appeals to the people of Estonia, ratify and denounce international treaties with other states and international organisations and decide on the Government loans.
The Riigikogu elects and appoints several high officials of the state, including the President of the Republic. In addition to that, the Riigikogu appoints, on the proposal of the President of Estonia, the Chairman of the National Court, the chairman of the board of the Bank of Estonia, the Auditor General, the Legal Chancellor and the Commander-in-Chief of the Defence Forces. A member of the Riigikogu has the right to demand explanations from the Government of the Republic and its members. This enables the members of the parliament to observe the activities of the executive power and the above-mentioned high officials of the state.
Main article: List of cities and towns in Estonia
Tallinn is the capital and the largest city of Estonia. It lies on the northern coast of Estonia, along the Gulf of Finland. There are 33 cities and several town-parish towns in the country. In total, there are 47 linna, with “linn” in English meaning both “cities” and “towns”. More than 70% of the population lives in towns. The 20 largest cities are listed below:
According to Livonian Chronicle of Henry, Tharapita was the predominant deity for the Oeselians before Christianization.
Estonia was Christianised by the Teutonic Knights in the 13th century. During the Reformation, Protestantism spread, and the Lutheran church was officially established in Estonia in 1686. Before the Second World War, Estonia was approximately 80% Protestant; overwhelmingly Lutheran, with individuals adhering to Calvinism, as well as other Protestant branches. Many Estonians profess not to be particularly religious, because religion through the 19th century was associated with German feudal rule.] Historically, there has been another minority religion, Russian Old-believers, near Lake Peipus area in Tartu County.
Today, Estonia’s constitution guarantees freedom of religion, separation of church and state, and individual rights to privacy of belief and religion. According to the Dentsu Communication Institute Inc, Estonia is one of the least religious countries in the world, with 75.7% of the population claiming to be irreligious. The Eurobarometer Poll 2005 found that only 16% of Estonians profess a belief in a god, the lowest belief of all countries studied. According to the Lutheran World Federation, the historic Lutheran denomination has a large presence with 180,000 registered members.[
New polls about religiosity in the European Union in 2012 by Eurobarometer found that Christianity is the largest religion in Estonia accounting for 45% of Estonians Eastern Orthodox are the largest Christian group in Estonia, accounting for 17% of Estonia citizens, while Protestants make up 6%, and Other Christian make up 22%. Non believer/Agnostic account 22%, Atheist accounts for 15%, and undeclared accounts for 15%
The most recent Pew Research Center, found that in 2015 51% of the population of Estonia declared itself Christians, 45% religiously unaffiliated—a category which includes atheists, agnostics and those who describe their religion as “nothing in particular”, while 2% belonged to other faiths. The Christians divided between 25% Eastern Orthodox, 20% Lutherans, 5% other Christians and 1% Roman Catholic While the religiously unaffiliated divided between 9% as atheists, 1% as agnostics and 35% as nothing in particular
St. Olaf’s church, Tallinn was possibly the tallest building in the world from 1549 to 1625
The largest religious denomination in the country is Lutheranism, adhered to by 160,000 Estonians (or 13% of the population), principally ethnic Estonians. Other organizations, such as the World Council of Churches, report that there are as many as 265,700 Estonian Lutherans Additionally, there are between 8,000–9,000 members abroad.
Another major group, inhabitants who follow Eastern Orthodox Christianity, practised chiefly by the Russian minority, and the Russian Orthodox Church is the second largest denomination with 150,000 members. The Estonian Apostolic Orthodox Church, under the Greek-Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarchate, claims another 20,000 members. Thus, the number of adherents of Lutheranism and Orthodoxy, without regard to citizenship or ethnicity, is roughly equal. Catholics have their Latin Apostolic Administration of Estonia.
According to the census of 2000 (data in table to the right), there were about 1,000 adherents of the Taara faith or Maausk in Estonia (see Maavalla Koda). The Jewish community has an estimated population of about 1,900 (see History of the Jews in Estonia). Around 68,000 people consider themselves atheists.
- Orthodox Christians 176,773 16.15
- Lutheran Christians 108,513 9.91
- Baptists 4,507 0.41
- Roman Catholics 4,501 0.41
- Old Believers 2,605 0.24
- Christian Free Congregations 2,189 0.20
- Pentecostals 1,855 0.17
- Methodists 1,098 0.10
IPPFoundation Estonia 2017. 28.05.2017 year.