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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".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 earliest human inhabitation during the Mesolithic period is connected to the Kunda culture, named after the town of Kunda in northern Estonia.At that time the country was covered with forests, and people lived in semi-nomadic communities near bodies of water.Ethnic Estonians – the largest ethnic group in the country – are a Finnic people.The territory of Estonia has been inhabited since at least 9000 BC.Early Latin and other ancient versions of the name are Estia and Hestia.Human settlement in Estonia became possible 13,000 to 11,000 years ago, when the ice from the last glacial era melted.
A major leader of the Estonian resistance was Lembitu, an elder of Sakala County, but in 1217 the Estonians suffered a significant defeat in the Battle of St. In 1219, Valdemar II landed at Lyndanisse, defeated the Estonians in battle, and started conquering Northern Estonia.In 1030 Yaroslav the Wise defeated Estonians and established a fort in modern-day Tartu; this foothold lasted until an Estonian tribe, the Sosols, destroyed it in 1061, followed by their raid on Pskov.Around the 11th century, the Scandinavian Viking era around the Baltic Sea was succeeded by the Baltic Viking era, with seaborne raids by Curonians and by Estonians from the island of Saaremaa, known as Oeselians.By the 13th century Estonia consisted of eight major counties: Harjumaa, Järvamaa, Läänemaa, Revala, Saaremaa, Sakala, Ugandi, and Virumaa; and six minor, single-parish counties: Alempois, Jogentagana, Mõhu, Nurmekund, Soopoolitse, and Vaiga.Counties were independent entities and engaged only in a loose co-operation against foreign threats.