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Counties were independent entities and engaged only in a loose co-operation against foreign threats.
There is little known of early Estonian pagan religious practices.
At that time the country was covered with forests, and people lived in semi-nomadic communities near bodies of water.
Subsistence activities consisted of hunting, gathering and fishing.
The earliest human inhabitation during the Mesolithic period is connected to Kunda culture, which is named after the town of Kunda in northern Estonia.Since restoration of its independence, Estonia is a democratic unitary parliamentary republic divided into fifteen counties. With a population of 1.3 million, it is one of the least-populous member states of the European Union, Eurozone, North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), OECD and Schengen Area.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".Following the loss of its de facto independence, a government in exile functioned.In 1988, during the Singing Revolution, the Estonian Supreme Soviet issued the Estonian Sovereignty Declaration in defiance of Soviet rule, and independence was restored on 20 August 1991.