After centuries of Danish,
Swedish, German, and Russian rule, Estonia attained independence in
1918. Forcibly incorporated into the USSR in 1940 - an action never
recognized by the US - it regained its freedom in 1991, with the
collapse of the Soviet Union. Since the last Russian troops left in
1994, Estonia has been free to promote economic and political ties with
Western Europe. It joined both NATO and the EU in the spring of 2004.
Estonian is the official language; Russian is also spoken.