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The Republic of Estonia is located at the Baltic Sea and the Gulf of Finland. This strategic position close to Scandinavia and Russia has had a profound impact on the country's history.
Finni Ugric hunters appeared 11.000 years ago at the end of  the last Ice Age.
In the Viking Age the region was raided by Danes, Swedes from the north and Baltic tribes from the south, often as retaliation agains violent raids conducted by the Oeselian pirates from Saaremaa island.
TheLivonian Crusade brought Danish control and membership of the  very lucrative Hanse League.
The next centuries Estonia was successively ruled by the Teutonic Order, Sweden, Russia and Germany until in 1920 the country gained independence.
The Russians forcefully  returned in 1940 only to be kicked out by the German Army in 1941. After Hitler's defeat the Russians returned and Estoniawas part of the Soviet Union till the collapse in 1991.
Since then Estonia is an independent country that joined NATO and the EU in 2004, much to the chagrin of Russia.
Presently Estonia is one of the economically fastest growing countries in the EU.
Tensions between the Baltic states and big brother Russia have increased and recently NATO has stationed extra troops in the region.