12 Facts About the Baltic States


The Baltic states, also known as the Baltics, Baltic nations or Baltic countries, are the three countries in northern Europe on the eastern coast of the Baltic Sea: Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

The euro is the official currency of the eurozone, which consists of 19 of the 28 member states of the European Union: Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Spain.

The Baltic Sea is a sea of the Atlantic Ocean, enclosed by Scandinavia, Finland, the Baltic countries, and the North European Plain.

Estonia, officially the Republic of Estonia, is a country in the Baltic region of Northern Europe.

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The Baltic states cooperate on a regional level in several intergovernmental organizations.

An intergovernmental organization or international governmental organization is an organization composed primarily of sovereign states, or of other intergovernmental organizations.

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While the native populations of Latvia and Lithuania are known as Baltic people, those of Estonia are Finnic people together with the Finns.


Another Baltic identity, Baltic German, began to develop during the Middle Ages after the Livonian Crusade.

The Livonian Crusade refers to the conquest of the territory constituting modern Latvia and Estonia during the pope-sanctioned Northern Crusades: performed mostly by Germans from the Holy Roman Empire and Danes, it ended with the creation of the Terra Mariana and Duchy of Estonia.

Livonia, a historic region on the eastern shores of the Baltic Sea, was once the land of the Finnic Livonians inhabiting the principal ancient Livonian County Metsepole with its center at Turaida.

The Baltic Germans are ethnic German inhabitants of the eastern shores of the Baltic Sea, in what today are Estonia and Latvia.


Linguistic and historical considerations intersect in defining the concept of "Baltic states": for example, while Latvian is phylogenetically related to Lithuanian, Estonian belongs to a completely different family – the Finnic group of the Uralic languages, also spoken in Finland.

The Uralic languages constitute a language family of some 38 languages spoken by approximately 25 million people, predominantly in Northern Eurasia.

In biology, phylogenetics is the study of the evolutionary history and relationships among individuals or groups of organisms.


The Livonians have also participated in the ethnogenesis of the Latvians: according to most accounts, the assimilation of Livonians by ancient Baltic tribes was a notable influence on the development of modern Latvian language.

Latvians are a Baltic ethnic group, native to what is modern-day Latvia and the immediate geographical region.


At the same time, despite considerable linguistic proximity, politically Latvia and Lithuania have gone different ways for most of their history, Lithuania at one point forming a commonwealth with Poland, giving rise to one of the largest countries in Europe at the time; while Latvia and also Estonia were ruled by the Baltic German elite for over 700 years.


After the collapse of Livonia, parts of Latvia and Estonia came under influence of the Commonwealth and Sweden.


This lasted until the 18th century, when the lands of all three modern countries were gradually absorbed into the Russian Empire.


The Baltic states gained independence after the First World War, but were occupied by the Soviet Union during the Second World War, regaining independence in the early 1990s.

The Soviet Union, officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, abbreviated to USSR, was a socialist state on the Eurasian continent that existed from 1922 to 1991.

World War I, also known as the First World War, or the Great War, was a global war originating in Europe that lasted from 28 July 1914 to 11 November 1918.

World War II, also known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945, although related conflicts began earlier.


All three countries are members of the European Union, NATO and the Eurozone.

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization, also called the North Atlantic Alliance, is an intergovernmental military alliance based on the North Atlantic Treaty which was signed on 4 April 1949.

The eurozone, officially called the euro area, is a monetary union of 19 of the 28 European Union member states which have adopted the euro as their common currency and sole legal tender.


Estonia and Latvia are members of the OECD.

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