The colors of the national flag represent Estonia's history, nature and folk costumes. The blue stripe represents faith, loyalty and devotion as well as the sky, sea, and lakes. The black symbolizes the dark past and suffering of the Estonian people as well as the traditional black jacket of the Estonian peasant. The white represents striving towards enlightenment and virtue, hope and freedom. White also symbolizes the color of birch bark and snow, and Estonian summer nights illuminated by the midnight sun. ("National Flag of Estonia" )
Between 57.3 and 59.5 latitude and 21.5 and 28.1 longitude, Estonia lies on the eastern shores of the Baltic Sea on the level northwestern part of the rising east European platform. It borders the Gulf of Finland, between Latvia and Russia. Average elevation reaches only 164 ft.
The climate is wet with moderate winters and cool summers. Oil shale and limestone deposits, along with forests which cover 47% of the land, play key economic roles in this generally resource-poor country. Estonia boasts over 1,500 lakes, numerous bogs, and 3,794 kilometers of coastline marked by numerous bays, straits, and inlets. Tallinn's Muuga port offers one of Europe's finest warm-water harbor facilities. ("Geography of Estonia" )
In 1998, Estonians made up about 65% of the population, Russians 28.1%, Ukrainians 2.5%, Belarussians 1.5%, Finns 1%, and others 1.6%. Non-Estonians were found chiefly in the northeastern industrial towns, while rural areas were 87% Estonian. Citizenship is by birth only if at least one parent is an Estonian citizen. Naturalization requires three years' residence and competence in Estonian. After the breakup of the Soviet Union, Estonia reinstituted its pre World War II citizenship laws, which set conditions for non-Estonians to become citizens. Those who are neither Estonian nor Russian citizens are considered resident aliens. ("Estonia - Ethnic Groups" )