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The Embassy of Estonia was established in Washington, D.C. in 1922, the same year the United States recognized Estonia as an independent nation. Estonia was included in the Soviet sphere of influence after World War II and was occupied by Soviet troops from 1940-1991. However, the embassy in Washington remained functional throughout the Soviet occupation of Estonia. When Soviet troops left Estonia on August 20, 1991, Estonia again became an independent nation. Estonia's chancery in D.C.'s historic Embassy Row was originally built in 1905 for a local doctor. It was then home to the Peruvian Embassy and the Landon School for Boys before acquired by the Estonian government in 1994. With its unique flatiron structure and beautiful architecture, it is considered a contributing property of the Sheridan-Kalorama Historic District and the Massachusetts Avenue Historic District.


  • The Estonian chancery, designed in the Beaux Arts architectural style, is considered among the most striking on Embassy Row. Its location on the corner of two streets is reminiscent of the Flatiron Building in New York. Wikimedia Commons.
  • The Embassy of Estonia was damaged in a fire in 2001, especially by water and smoke. Thanks to around 80 firefighters and the hard work of those who restored the building, the beautiful chancery remains steadfast on Embassy Row. Wikimedia Commons.
  • Estonia adopted this flag representing blue sky, black soil, and white snow in 1918. While occupied by Nazi Germany (1941-1944) and the Soviet Union (1941-1990), Estonia flew a Soviet flag. Their historic flag and independence were restored in 1990.
Estonia is a European country of around 1.3 million people located near the Baltic Sea and bordering Latvia and Russia. After centuries under the successive rule of Germany, Denmark, Sweden, and Russia, Estonia declared independence in 1918, near the end of World War I. They have retained a distinct culture and the Estonian language. Since establishing relations in 1922, Estonia and United States have been important economic and political partners. The two countries work together on defense, the international fight against terrorism, and crime prevention. American-Estonian relations became even stronger on March 29, 2004 when Estonia became a member of NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization). The United States played a very significant role in the decision of Estonia's entrance into NATO. 

After the Second World War, much of Europe needed rebuilding. Estonia was placed in the Soviet Union's sphere of influence (the region or area a specific country was charged with rebuilding after the war). During the Cold War, the USSR occupied many of the countries within its sphere of influence, which were once part of the Cordon Sanitaire (a buffer zone of anti-Soviet states on the border). During the period of Soviet occupation, the United States pulled its embassy out of Estonia, even though the United States never recognized the USSR's occupation of the country. The U.S. Embassy to Estonia re-opened in Tallinn on September 4, 1991. Since the re-opening of the American Embassy, relations between Estonia and the U.S. have been strong and growing. 

After World War II, many Estonians left and came to the United States to live and escape war-torn Europe. Estonians have a long history of folk art, such as music and dance. This long-time tradition was kept by Estonians who came to America. The New York Estonian Men's Choir was established in 1950; in response to this group, others have popped up in most Estonian-American communities around the country. 

The Estonian chancery was originally a doctor's residence, completed in 1905 and built by the firm Marsh and Peter. This Beaux Arts building uses a blend of French renaissance and ancient Greek and Roman architectural features, including heavy masonry, columnns, and detailed decorations. Before acquired by the Estonian government in 1994, the building was home to the Peruvian Embassy and the Landon School for Boys. On July 2, 2001, the building caught fire and 80 firefighters took five hours to quench the blaze. Fortunately, the embassy was intact after the fire and had more smoke and water damage than fire damage. 
"Beaux Arts." Architectural Styles of America and Europe. Accessed November 2017. https://architecturestyles.org/beaux-arts/

Embassy of Estonia. "Embassy of Estonia in Washington." Accessed November 2017. http://www.estemb.org/static/files/013/lettersize.pdf

"Embassy Building." Estonian Embassy in Washington. Accessed April 13, 2017. http://www.estemb.org/embassy/building. 

The World Factbook: Estonia. Central Intelligence Agency. January 12, 2017. Accessed March 14, 2017. https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/en.html.

United States of America. Republic of Estonia: Ministry of Foreign Affairs. November 22, 2016. Accessed March 14, 2017. http://www.vm.ee/en/countries/united-states-america?display=relations.

U.S. Department of State. “A Guide to the United States’ History of Recognition, Diplomatic, and Consular Relations, by Country, since 1776: Estonia.” Office of the Historian. Accessed November 2017. https://history.state.gov/countries/estonia 

U.S. Department of State. “U.S. Relations with Estonia.” Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs. September 26, 2016. Accessed November 2017. https://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/5377.htm

Images:

"Embassy of Estonia to the United States." Photo. 2013. Jonathunder. Wikimedia Commons. Accessed November 2017. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:Estonian_Embassy,_Washington,_D.C.#/media/File:EmbassyEs...

"Embassy of Estonia." Photo. 2009. AgnosticPreachersKid. Wikimedia Commons. Accessed November 2017. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:Estonian_Embassy,_Washington,_D.C.#/media/File:Embassy_o...

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