The Republic of Estonia is a sovereign state in Northern Europe. It is bordered to the north by the Gulf of Finland with Finland on the other side, to the west by the Baltic Sea with Sweden to the west, to the south by Latvia, and to the east by Lake Peipus and Russia. Since independence, Estonia has been a democratic unitary parliamentary republic divided into fifteen counties and is a member states of the European Union since joining in 2004. Its capital and largest city is Tallinn. The territory of consists of a mainland and 2,222 islands in the Baltic Sea, covering a total area of 17,462 square miles with a population of 1.3 million. The official language is Estonian, while the second most spoken language is Finnic.
After centuries of rule by Germans, Danes, Swedes, Poles and Russians, Estonia gained independence from the Russian Empire in 1918 after a war of independence at the end of the First World War. After being occupied by various nations it eventually regained its independence on August 20, 1991. Estonia is a parliamentary representative democratic republic in which the Prime Minister of Estonia is the head of government and which includes a multi-party system.
The orders and decorations are traditionally awarded on Estonian National Day by the Estonian President. Since its foundation on February 24, 1918, the Republic of Estonia has introduced in total six state orders of merit. The Freedom Cross was introduced in 1919 as the first Estonian Order and was awarded to honored people who had made a name for themselves in gaining the independence of Estonia.
Kavaliauskas, Vilius. Orders and Decorations: Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania. Brno: Moravské Zemské Muzeum, 1998.
“Estonia. Modern Military Badges. ” Gentleman’s Military Interest Club. Published on July 16, 2007. http://gmic.co.uk/topic/20123-estonia-modern-military-badges/.
“Estonian Military Badges, 1919-1940. Top of the Sphere. ” Gentleman’s Military Interest Club. Published on April 27, 2007. http://gmic.co.uk/topic/17745-estonian-military-badges-1919-1940-top-of-the-sphere/?page=2.
“Estonian State Decorations.” The President of the Republic. https://www.president.ee/en/estonia/decorations/.
“Kaitseväe teenetemärgid.” Eesti Kaitsevägi. Modified October 23, 2015. http://www.mil.ee/et/kaitsevagi/kaitsevae-symboolika/kaitsevae-teenetemargid.
Kivinuk, Aleks. Eesti Sõjalised Autasud & Rinnamärgid 1918 - 1940. http://www.estmedals.com/est/est.html.
Rathbone, Tod. “Estonian Air Force.” Rathbone Museum. Modified 2003. http://www.rathbonemuseum.com/ESTONIA/ESTInsignia/ESTInsignia.html.
Riigi Teataja. https://www.riigiteataja.ee/index.html.
“Teenetemärgid.” Kaitseliit. Modified May 2, 2017. http://www.kaitseliit.ee/et/teenetemargid1.
“Teenetemärgid.” Kaitseminiseerium. Modified July 29, 2014. http://www.kaitseministeerium.ee/et/eesmargid-tegevused/laiapohjaline-riigikaitse/teenetemargid.
“Teenetemärkide kandmine.” Kaitseliit, Tallinna Malev, Meredivisjon. Modified July 21, 2010. http://www.meredivisjon.ee/et/67/82/.
“Sõjavägi & Kaitseliit 1918-1940.” http://wabariik.rindeleht.ee/6/6.php.
“Sümboolika.” Harju Malev. Modified April 11, 2017. http://harju.kaitseliit.ee/et/sumboolika.
All relevant government regulations can be accessed online from Riigi Teataja.