Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
There are around 915,000 Estonians living in Estonia.
The name "Eesti", or Estonia, is derived from the word "Aestii", the name given by the ancient Germans to the peoples living northeast of the Vistula River. The Roman historian Tacitus in 98 A.D. was the first to mention the "Aestii" people, and early Scandinavians called the land south of the Gulf of Finland "Eistland", and the people "eistr". Estonians (as well as other Finno-Ugric peoples) were also called Chuds (чудь) in Russian chronicles.
Estonians belong to the Balto-Finnic group of the Finno-Ugric peoples, as do the Finns. The principal ancestors of the Estonians arrived from the east around 3,500 BC. The first book in Estonian was printed in 1525, while the oldest known examples of written Estonian originate in 13th century chronicles.
From 1945-89 the percentage of ethnic Estonians in Estonia dropped from 94% to 61%, caused primarily by the Soviet program promoting mass immigration of urban industrial workers from Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus, as well as by wartime emigration and Stalin's mass deportations and executions.
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