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Fighting reached Estonia in 1206, when Danish king Valdemar II unsuccessfully invaded Saaremaa.

In 1187 Estonians (Oeselians), Curonians or/and Karelians sacked Sigtuna, which was a major city of Sweden at the time.After successful democratic rule from 1918 to 1934, Estonia became increasingly autocratic during the Era of Silence.During World War II, Estonia was occupied by the Soviet Union in 1940, then by Nazi Germany a year later and was again annexed by the Soviets in 1944, after which it was reconstituted as the Estonian Soviet Socialist Republic.The territory of Estonia has been inhabited since at least 6500 BC, with Finno-Ugric speakers – the linguistic ancestors of modern Estonians – arriving no later than around 1800 BC.Following centuries of successive German, Danish, Swedish, and Russian rule, Estonians experienced a national awakening that culminated in independence from the Russian Empire towards the end of World War I on 24 February 1918.Since restoration of its independence, Estonia has been a democratic unitary parliamentary republic divided into fifteen counties. With a population of 1.3 million, it is one of the least-populous member states of the European Union, Eurozone, OECD, Schengen Area, and of NATO.

Estonia is a developed country with an advanced, high-income economy that as of 2011 is among the fastest growing in the EU. The land inhabited by Estonians was called Maavald meaning "Country Realm" or "Land Realm".

According to radiocarbon dating it was settled around 11,000 years ago.

The earliest human inhabitation during the Mesolithic period is connected to the Kunda culture, named after the town of Kunda in northern Estonia.

One hypothesis regarding the modern name of Estonia is that it originated from the Aesti, a people described by the Roman historian Tacitus in his Germania (ca. The historic Aesti were allegedly Baltic people, whereas the modern Estonians are Finno-Ugric.

The geographical areas between Aesti and Estonia do not match, with Aesti being farther south.

In the early centuries AD, political and administrative subdivisions began to emerge in Estonia.