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There are written references to this lilliputian country dating back to the 13th century, but it was never a particularly important or powerful country. It had little economic attractions, no navigable rivers or important trade centers.

It did, however, have the misfortune of being trapped between two huge military powers, Germany and the USSR. During the Second World War, Estonia fell to the Russians as Nazi Germany was defeated.

It did, however, have the misfortune of being trapped between two huge military powers, Germany and the USSR. During the Second World War, Estonia fell to the Russians as Nazi Germany was defeated.

On 25 December 1991, President Gorbachev resigned as leader of the USSR, and turned the powers of his office over to Boris Yeltsin. The next day, the Soviet Union was officially dissolved and by the end of the year all official Soviet institutions had ceased operations. Seizing this remarkable opportunity, Estonia reestablished its independence half a year later.

Part of the charm of this country, (and its immediate neighbors, Latvia and Lithuania,) results from the odd circumstance of its history under domination by the Russians. During that period, of all the Soviet republics, only those three had prior experience of independent statehood and Western style democracy. When the Soviet Union broke up, Estonia quickly privatized business, restored the farms, and created a market economy like we have in the West. Americans are at once comfortable with the systems in place in Estonia, while simultaneously being charmed by what is obviously Old World, Old European influences

At the time of our visit, there was little to see, other than relics of a history Americans would not immediately recognize. We spent an afternoon in Tallinn, the capitol, meandering through dozens of little craft shops and boutiques. We bought two small, hand painted clowns, which sit on the coffee table in our living room. Each time we pass those clowns we momentarily slip back to Estonia, enjoying, once again, the feeling of joy in a population who appreciates freedom in a way no people who have not endured military domination can possibly understand.

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Have you checked the most important parts of our website? We urge you to go to the Chapter on Essential Plans. Then, whether they apply to you or not, read the Chapters Airlines, Cruises, Hotels, Taxis, Tours. Finally, be sure you read the Chapter Items to Take. The information in these chapters will make all the difference in the success of your trip.

Please also go to our Disabled Travelers Guide to the World for many additional tips on arranging tours, transport and other details. See, especially, Chapter 8- About Tour Guides. And don't miss valuable information in Chapter 12- About Bargaining and Negotiating.

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