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The ancestors of Estonians most likely settled on the Baltic shores around 3500 BC and were organised in federated small states by the 1st century AD. Since early 13th century, Estonia was under the German, Danish and Swedish rule until 1721, when it was ceded to Russia.

The 1917 Russian Revolution brought self government to the Estonians, and in February 1918 an independent democratic republic was proclaimed. Freedom lasted until 1940 when the country was retaken under the pretense of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact between Nazi Germany and the Stalinist regime. In the course of the war, Estonia fell under the occupation of Germany for three years. In 1944 Stalin retook the country, and the doors fell shut for the next fifty years. Estonia would not see independence again until 1991, the year the Soviet Union collapsed and the Cold War ended. In 1992, Estonia adopted a new constitution and held its first legislative elections. Since the reestablishment of independence the nation has been rapidly transforming and adapting to the modern world. Today Estonia boasts the most successful economy of the former Soviet region.