Estonians and the World Around Them

March 2nd, 2012 → 1:05 pm @ // No Comments

Laas Leivat wrote an interesting short article on February, 25, 2012 in Eesti Elu (Estonian Life) entitled, “Did You Know?” Below is what he brought to light.

Did you know…?

that the combined choir of the Estonian Song Festival has the largest number of singers (sometimes up to 30,000) in the world.

……that Estonia is an egalitarian country in which 51% of engineers and scientists are women. The European Union average is 29%.

……that Estonia is populated very sparsely having one of the lowest settlement densities (30.9 inhabitants per sq km) for personal space in the world – four times less than Denmark and 12 times less than The Netherlands. Although Estonia is small, both by area and population, it still has more than 100 different parishes, each one with its own regional dress.

……that one of the lowest settlement densities in Estonia itself is Hiiumaa with only approximately 10 inhabitants per sq km. Here visitors can find isolated beaches of their own, with no one else in sight. It’s like a Nordic Bora Bora.

……that by taking into account the farthest points and islands of Europe, the central point of Europe is Saaremaa, specifically, Mõnnuste village.

……that the last giant meteorite in the world that fell into a populated area impacted in Saaremaa, creating the massive Kaali crater some 4000 years ago. The power of the blast was comparable to a nuclear bomb, leaving clear evidence to influence the tales and mythology of the nations in the region.

……that Estonia is about 50% forest. It has 1500 islands, some very tiny, 1000 lakes (5% of Estonian territory), 700 rivers and streams. Lake Peipsi is Estonia’s largest lake and the biggest transboundary lake in Europe. By contrast, Latvia, Estonia’s immediate neighbor hasn’t a single island.

……that the Estonian language contains about a thousand words that date back to the last ice age? One of the first known daily newspapers in the world was published in Tallinn as early as 1675 (in England – 1702). The Estonian literacy rate in the 1850s was 80% of the population, exceeding almost all of the grand European civilized nations with the only equal ones being French and German.

……that the latest Reporters Without Borders Press Freedom Index places Estonia third in the world, sharing the spot with The Netherlands. Of the 179 countries ranked, Finland and Norway share first place. Estonia has held its position in the top ten for five years being one of very few countries to have been this consistent. Canada is placed at 10, Lithuania is at 30, the U.S.A. at 47, Latvia at 50, Russia at 142, and China at174.

……that Estonians are champion wife-carriers, and have come to dominate the World Wife Carrying Championships. Estonia is home to the game of ice cricket. This is precisely as it sounds – cricket played on ice.

……that in 1913, before Estonia’s independence, Encylopaedia Britannica wrote “that Estonians as a race exhibit evidence of their Ural-Altaic or Mongolic descent in their short stature, absence of beard, oblique eyes, broad face, low forehead and small mouth. In addition to that they are undersized, ill thriven people with long arms and thin short legs”. (The writer probably got lost on the wrong continent.) What has changed in 99 years? Well, at least the legs have grown longer.

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