Baltic states

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Baltic states
Location of  Baltic states  (dark green)on the European continent  (dark grey)  —  [Legend]
Location of  Baltic states  (dark green)

on the European continent  (dark grey)  —  [Legend]

CapitalsTallinn; Riga; Vilnius
Official languages Estonian; Latvian; Lithuanian
Membership  Estonia
 -  Total 175,015 km2 (91st)
67,523 sq mi 
 -  Water (%) 2.23% (3,909 km²)
 -  2010 estimate 6,812,500 (100th)
 -  Density 39.5/km2 (172nd)
102.4/sq mi
GDP (PPP) 2011 estimate
 -  Total $119.567 billion[1] (62nd)
 -  Per capita $17,465 (50th)
GDP (nominal) 2011 estimate
 -  Total $86.799 billion[1] (65th)
 -  Per capita $12,679 (47th)

The Baltic states or Baltic countries are three member states of the European Union [2]: the sovereign states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, located in Northern Europe. The Baltic states became independent in the aftermath of World War I in 1918.

Estonians and the Livonian people in Latvia are descended from the Finnic peoples, sharing closely related languages and a common cultural ancestry. The Latvians and Lithuanians, linguistically and culturally related to each other, are descended from the Balts, an Indo-European people and culture. The peoples comprising the Baltic states have together inhabited the eastern Baltic coast for millennia, although not always peacefully in ancient times, over which period their populations: Estonian, Latvian, Lithuanian, have remained remarkably stable within the approximate territorial boundaries of the current Baltic states. While separate peoples with their own customs and traditions, historical factors have introduced cultural commonalities across and differences within them.

The term "Baltic republics" can sometimes refer in historic context to the Baltic republics of the Soviet Union. At the same time the three countries were considered under the Soviet occupation by the Western democracies: e.g. the USA [3] and the UK.[4] After the collapse of the Soviet Union the Baltic States' struggle for independence came to a conclusion. The sovereignties of the countries were restored in 1991 and the last Russian troops withdrew from the Baltic States in August 1994.[5]

Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania have been members of the European Union and NATO since 2004. Today the three countries are liberal democracies and their market economies have in recent years undergone rapid expansion.

Part of this article consists of modified text from Wikipedia, and the article is therefore licensed under GFDL.