The Estonia flag was officially adopted on May 8, 1990. The color blue represents loyalty, and the country’s beautiful blue skies, seas and lakes; black is symbolic of past oppression and the fertile soil, and white represents virtue, winter snows, and Estonia’s long struggle for freedom and independence.
By Menkiti Onyebuchi Bernie, Features Editor
Today, 24th February, is a special day in the history of the Republic of Estonia as a sovereign state. It is a day set aside to mark that auspicious moment when the blue, black and white flag was hoisted as the pride of all Estonians all over the world. It is Estonia’s independence day rememberance and celebration.
The Republic of Estonia, a country of 1,319,000 people (2018 est) is of a rich history, inspiring cultural heritage and a socio-political and economic turns that have succeeded in pushing her to the frontiers as one of Europe’s most progressive economy. The republic has evolved from a mere historical independent state to a successful model state. She has boldly navigated the murky waters of state building and in each instance emboldens it’s tenets and enshrining economic sustainability amidst strife within the North Eastern European region.
Prior to Estonia’s full fledge independence -the day she marks today- in 1991 the republic was a center of external political influence from foreign super powers bent on perpetual interference and lordship of her vast economic viable territories. The Republic’s promising advantage, and her array of potentially economic viable natural resources assured expected external incursions.
The era of the marauding Estonian Vikings which lasted between the period c.800- c.1200 A.D is remarkable. It was an era of perpetual raids and later counter-raids by Vikings in the areas around the Baltic Sea. To curtail these incessant raids, the inhabitants of Estonia’s largest island of Saaremaa began to form a resistance by building a naval force that later inspired hope and security. It gave room for necessary counter raids that followed.
The turn of the century birthed new concerns. By the 13th Century Estonia began to feel the pinch of the Teutonic and the Danish invaders. Within this era, Estonians had become Christians and were attacked and over powered by Teutonic Order and Danes. The era inaugurated the incursion of the Germans into the fray.
For a period spanning over seven centuries the Germans took center stage. While they ruled Estonia they bore over-reaching influence. To consolidate their influence over these vassals states including Estonia, the Germans fused the territory of Estonia and Latvia. It became known as Medieval Livonia, and part of the German ecclesiastical states of the Holy Roman Empire.
As events roll by and time tick, the Germans rulership ended opening up Estonia for new history. It was the Danes once again. The Danish king granted Tallinn, Estonia’s medieval city some rights. The Danish king in 1248 began to exercise these rights, and under it Estonia’s capital and many other local towns were governed until the end of the 19th century. It was in this era of Danish Kings interest in Estonia, that the Estonia’s main towns Tallinn, Tartu, Pärnu and Viljandi were official members of the prosperous Hanseatic League, a commercial and defensive confederation of merchant guilds and their market towns, dominating the Baltic maritime trade along Northern Europe.
The 17th Century was special. It saw a significant growth in Estonia’s economy, and soon the boom in the country’s economy began to attract some neighboring powerful kingdoms who were expansionists. Estonia fell to their whims that by c.18th Century, Estonia had been governed by a series of kingdoms. From records Denmark, Sweden and the Russian tsar all had their turns on the economic prosperity of 18th Century Estonia. Within this time the University of Tartu was established by the Swedish king Gustav II Adolf. And it later became a sinequanon to Estonia’s advancement in enlightenment and political awareness in Europe. In 1918, the University saw to the creation of the blue, black and white flag colours of Republic of Estonia.
The Republic of Estonia had it’s first shot at independence in 1918. And then shortly after, it’s independent status was truncated by an almost half a century Soviet occupation. Eventfully, dominated by foreign powers through much of its history. In 1940 U.S.S.R. incorporated her as one of its constituent republics. She remained a Soviet republic until 1991, when, along with the other Baltic states, their independence was granted, but fully recognized by Soviet Union on September 6, 1991. On the 17th of Septemebr, 1991 she joined the United Nations.
Today, Estonia painstakingly pays attention to transforming its political institution by shifting towards a parliamentary democracy than a presidential democracy and as well reorienting its economy toward market capitalism. It sought integration with greater Europe and in 2004 joined the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and the European Union. In addition to these membership, Estonia joined the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 1999.
Since it’s independence, she has continued to conduct her affairs in the international community with vigor. And her diplomatic relations with Nigeria vis-a-vis Africa has been short of robust activities.