- History of Finland
ImageSize = width:260 height:350PlotArea = width: 25 height:330 left:50 bottom:10DateFormat = yyyyPeriod = from:700 till:2008TimeAxis = orientation:verticalScaleMajor = unit:year increment:100 start:1100
PlotData= color:blue width:25 mark:(line,white) align:left fontsize:S shift:(25,0) # shift texts up or down manually to avoid overlap from:start till:1150 shift:(,0) text:Prehistoric Finland from:1150 till:1809 shift:(,0) text:Swedish rule c.1150-1809 from:1809 till:1917 shift:(,-5) text:Grand Duchy of Finland 1809-1917 from:1917 till:2007 shift:(,-5) text:Independent Finnish republic 1917- from:1995 till:end shift:(,-5) text:EU member state 1995-
The land area that now makes up
Finlandwas settled immediately after the Ice Age, beginning from around 8500 BC. The region was part of Kingdom of Swedenfrom the 13th century to 1809, when it was ceded to the Russian Empirebecoming the autonomous Grand Duchy of Finland. The catastrophic Finnish famine of 1866-1868was followed by eased economic regulation and political development.
In 1917, Finland declared independence. A civil war between the Russia-supported Red Guards and the Germanophile White Guard ensued a few months later with the "Whites" gaining the upper hand. After the internal affairs stabilized, the still mainly agrarian economy grew relatively fast. Relations with the West, especially
Swedenand the United Kingdom, were strong but the pre-World War II relations with the socialist Soviet Unionremained weakerFact|date=August 2008. During the Second World War, Finland fought twice against the Soviet Union, and had to cede most of Kareliato the USSR, but remained an independent democracy. During the Cold Waran Agreement of Friendship, Cooperation, and Mutual Assistance existed between the Soviet Union and Finland and such phenomena as finlandizationand radical socialism such as "taistolaisuus" were part of internal affairs. Urho Kekkonen, a Finnish notable, stayed 25 years in power until 1981.
Throughout its history, Finland maintained a capitalist economy and the GDP per capita reached world's highest levels in the 1970s where it has remained since. Between 1970 and 1990 the number of public sector employees and the tax burden increased more than nearly any other Western country. In 1992 Finland faced simultaneously economic overheating and depressed Western, Soviet and local markets. During the severe depression, the stock market fell of 50%, GDP fell of 15%, unemployment hiked to a fifth of workforce, and the
public debtdoubled to 60% of GDP.
As of late, Finland has taken even greater steps for civil liberties and economic freedom. Since such reformsFact|date=August 2008, Finland has been ranked highly on many lists measuring material welfare, such as real GDP per capita growth rate. The country joined the
European Unionin 1995. According to a 2005 poll, most Finns are reluctant to join the NATO. [ Article on Helsingin Sanomat in English [http://www.hs.fi/english/article/1101978684236] ]
If confirmed, the oldest archeological site in Finland would be the
Wolf Cavein Kristinestad, Ostrobothnia. Excavations are underway and if the so far presented estimates hold true, it would be the only pre-glacial ( Neanderthal) site so far found in the Nordic countriesand some 130 000 years old [http://www.nba.fi/fi/susiluola] .
The earliest traces of modern humans are known from ca. 8500 BCE and are post-glacial. The people were first probably seasonal
hunter-gatherers. Their items are known as the Suomusjärvi cultureand the Kunda culture. Among the finds is the net of Antrea, one of the oldest fishing nets ever excavated (calibrated carbon dating: ca. 8300 BCE).
Around 5300 BCE pottery appeared in Finland. The earliest representatives belong to the
Comb Ceramic Cultures, known for their distinctive decorating patterns. This marks the beginning of the neolithicfor Finland, although the subsistence was still based on hunting and fishing. Extensive networks of exchange existed across Finland and Northeastern Europe during 5th millennium BCE. For example flint from Scandinaviaand Valdai Hills, amberfrom Scandinavia and the Baltic region, and slatefrom Scandinavia and Lake Onegafound their way into Finnish archeological sites and asbestosand soap stonefrom e.g. Saimaaspread outside of Finland. Rock paintings, apparently related to shamanistic and totemistic belief systems, have been found especially in Eastern Finland, e.g. Astuvansalmi.
From 3200 BCE onwards either immigrants or a strong cultural influence from south of the Gulf of Finland settled in southwestern Finland. This culture was a part of the European
Battle Axe cultures, which have often been associated with the movement of Indo-European speakers. The Battle-Axe or Cord Ceramic culture seems to have practiced agricultureand animal husbandryoutside of Finland but the earliest confirmed traces of agriculture in Finland date later [http://www.wsoy.fi/oppi/dl/historianakatemia/index.jsp?c=kira3] , approximately to the 2nd millennium BCE. Further inland the societies retained their hunting-gathering lifestyles. Finnic languages got an Indo-European influx both from a pre-Baltic and pre-Germanic phases and from early Baltic languages(and vice versa) approximately in the period 3500-1000 BC, which has been postulated to have initiated the differentiation between the Sami languages and Baltic-Finnic languages.
The Battle axe and the Comb Ceramic cultures merged giving rise to the
Kiukainen culturewhich existed between 2300 BCE and 1500 BCE featuring fundamentally a comb ceramic tradition with cord ceramic characteristics.
The Bronze Age began some time after 1500 BCE. The coastal regions of Finland were a part of the Nordic Bronze Culture, whereas in the inland regions the influences came from the bronze-using cultures of Northern and Eastern Russia.
Chronology of the Finno-Ugric, Finnic, Indo-European and Germanic languages in Finland
The question of the time lines for the evolution and spread of the contemporary languages is controversial and new theories challenging older postulations have been introduced continuously.
According to the currently widest spread presumption, Finno-Ugric (or
Uralic) languages were first spoken in Finland and the adjacent areas during the (typical) Comb Ceramic period, around 4000 BC at the latest. [Article by theology professor Juha Pentikäinen at Virtual Finland [http://virtual.finland.fi/netcomm/news/showarticle.asp?intNWSAID=25814] ] [ http://books.google.com/books?id=QGqWcZu42hUC&pg=PA32&lpg=PA32&dq=comb+ugric&source=web&ots=9uRgOFQWjO&sig=Pkf9Kg0J7NZp04lWvU52SgUHeOM#PPA32,M1] [The common acceptance of the theory is indicated by the fact that this is the theory currently presented by the National Board of Antiquities in Finland, and several schools: E.g [http://www.nba.fi/fi/skm_opetus_esihist_tulost_0 Tietoa Suomen esihistoriasta] . Museovirasto. Retrieved 3-20-2008. fi, [http://hyl.edu.hel.fi/sivut/comenius/suomi/sfinfact.html SUOMEN ASUTUS- JA SIIRTOLAISUUSHISTORIA- PROJEKTI COMENIUS MIGRATION PROJEKTI] . City of Helsinki. Retrieved 3-20-2008. fi.] During the 2nd millennium BC these evolved - possibly under an Indo-European (most likely Baltic) influence - into proto-Sami (inland) and proto(-Baltic)-Finnic (coast). The Finnish language is thought to have started to differentiate during the Iron Age starting from the first century AD forwards.
Cultural influences from all points of compass are visible in Finnish archeological finds from the very first settlements onwards. E.g. archaeological finds from Finnish Lapland suggest the presence of the
Komsa culture. The Sujala finds equal in age with the earliest Komsa-artefacts from Norway but may suggest also a connection to the Swiderian culture. [PEOPLE, MATERIAL CULTURE AND ENVIRONMENT IN THE NORTH Proceedings of the 22nd Nordic Archaeological Conference, University of Oulu, 18-23 August 2004 Edited by Vesa-Pekka Herva GUMMERUS KIRJAPAINO [http://herkules.oulu.fi/isbn9514281411/isbn9514281411.pdf] ] South-Western Finland belonged to the Nordic Bronze Age, which may be associated with Indo-European languages and according to Finnish Germanist Jorma Koivulehto speakers of Proto-Germaniclanguage in particular. Artefacts found in Kalanti and the province of Satakunta, for long unilingually Finnish, and their place-names have made several scholars argue for an existence of a proto-Germanic speaking population component a little later, during the Early and Middle Iron Age. [http://www.kotikielenseura.fi/virittaja/hakemistot/jutut/2002_309.pdf] [ [http://www.turunsanomat.fi/agricola/?ts=1,3:1121:0:0,4:121:2:1:2007-12-11,104:121:504183,1:0:0:0:0:0: Turun Sanomat ] ] Some claim a Norse-speaking population settled parts of Finland's coastal areas in the 12th to 13th centuries. [http://www.folktinget.fi/pdf/publikationer/SwedishInF.pdf] Swedish differentiated from the eastern Norse dialects by the 13th century. During the subsequent Swedish reign over Finland particularly the coastal areas witnessed waves of settlement from Sweden.
Earliest findings of imported iron blades and local iron working appear in 500 BCE.
From about 50 AD, there are indicators from more intense intense long-distance exchange in coastal Finland. Inhabitants exchanged their products, presumably mostly furs, for weapons and ornaments with the Balts and the Scandinavians as well as with the peoples along the traditional eastern trade routes.
The existence of richly furnished burials, usually with weapons, suggests that there was a chiefly elite in some parts of the country.
Hillforts spread over most of southern Finland at the end of the Iron and early Medieval Age. There is no evidence of a state-formation, although there are a few referrals to kings ruling in Finland in Norse sagas, usually considered untrustworthy.
The three main dialectal groups of Finnish-speakers, (proper-)Finns,
Tavastiansand Kareliansprobably emerged during the Iron Age. The archaeological culture of the Åland Islandshad a more prominent Swedish character than the rest of the country, possibly suggesting Scandinavian settlement.
In the early Iron Age "Finns" appear for the first time in a written document when Tacitus mentions "Fenni" in his Germania. However, it is unclear if these have anything to do with the present Finnish people. The first Scandinavian documents mentioning a "land of the Finns" are two
runestones: (Söderby, Sweden, with the inscription "finlont" (U 582 †), Gotlandwith the inscription "finlandi" (G 319 M) dating from the eleventh century.. [cite web |url=http://www.narc.fi/Arkistolaitos/eng/ |title=National Archives Service, Finland (in English) |accessdate=2007-01-22]
The Middle Ages
Contact between Sweden and what is now Finland was considerable even during pre-Christian times — the Vikings were known to Finns both due to their participation in commerce and plundering. There is no commonly accepted evidence of Viking settlement in the Finnish mainland, although some finds in Southern Ostrobothnia have caused controversy. [ [Viklund, K. & Gullberg, K. (red.): "Från romartid till vikingatid. Pörnullbacken - en järnålderstida bosättning i Österbotten", Vasa, Scriptum, 2002, 264 pages. Series: "Acta antiqua Ostrobotniensia", ISSN 0783-6678 ; nr 5, and "Studia archaeologica universitatis Umensis", ISSN 1100-7028 ; nr 15, ISBN 951-8902-91-7.] ] The Åland Islands probably had Swedish settlement during the Viking Period. However, some scholars claim that the archipelago was deserted during the 11th century and then re-settled by Swedes during the 12th century.
According to the archaeological finds,
Christianitygained a foothold in Finland during the 11th century CE. According to the very few written documents that have survived, the church in Finland was still in its early development in the 12th century. Later medieval legends describe Swedish attempts to conquer and Christianize Finland sometime in the mid-1150s. In the early 13th century, the missionary Bishop Thomasapparently managed to bring some stability and order. There were several secular powers who aimed to bring the Finns under their rule. These were Sweden, Denmark, the Republic of Novgorodin Northwestern Russiaand probably the German crusading orders as well. [See article Prehistoric Finnish wars.] Finns had their own chiefs, but most probably no central authority. Russian chronicles however indicate ability to raise armies large enough to challenge Novgorod in the vicinity of Finland.
The name "Finland" originally signified only the southwestern province that has been known as "
Finland Proper" since the 18th century. Österland(lit. Eastern Land) was the original name for the Swedish realm's eastern part, but already in the 15th century Finland began to be used synonymously with Österland. The concept of a Finnish "country" in the modern sense developed only slowly during the period of the 15th–18th centuries. This development was chiefly promoted by the unifying effect of the Catholic Church that considered the populated parts of present-day Finland to be one episcopal seeand took it for granted that the Christians of that see would consider themselves as kinsmen.
It was the Swedish regent,
Birger Jarl, who managed to stabilize Swedish rule in Finland through the so-called Second Swedish Crusade, most often dated to 1249, which was aimed at Tavastians who had turned heathen again. Novgorod gained the rule in Karelia, the region inhabited by speakers of Eastern Finnish dialects. Sweden however gained the control of Western Karelia with the Third Finnish Crusadein 1293. Western Karelians were from then on viewed as part of the western cultural sphere, while eastern Karelians turned culturally to Russia and Orthodoxism. While eastern Karelians remain linguistically and ethnically closely related to the Finns, they are considered a people of their own by most.Fact|date=July 2008 Thus, the northern border between Catholic and Orthodox Christendom came to lie at the eastern border of what would become Finland with the Treaty of Nöteborgin 1323.
During the 13th century Finland was integrated in medieval European civilization. The
Dominican orderarrived in Finland around 1249 and came to exercise huge influence there. In the early 14th century, the first documents of Finnish students at Sorbonne appear. In the south-western part of the country, an urban settlement evolved in Turku. Turku was one of the biggest towns in the Kingdom of Sweden, and its population included German merchants and craftsmen. Otherwise the degree of urbanization was very low in medieval Finland. Southern Finland and the long coastal zone of the Bothnian Gulf had a sparse farming settlement, organized as parishes and castellanies. In the other parts of the country a small population of Sami hunters, fishermen and small-scale farmers lived. These were exploited by the Finnish and Karelian tax collectors. During the 12th and 13th centuries, great numbers of Swedish settlers moved to the southern and north-western coasts of Finland, to the Åland Islandsand to the archipelago between Turku and the Åland Islands: in these regions, the Swedish language is widely spoken even today. Swedish came to be the language of the high-status people in many other parts of Finland as well.
During the 13th century, the bishopric of Turku was established, sometimes identified as the medieval counterpart to Finland of our days, since there were no other sees in Finland. The cathedral of Turku was the center of the cult of Saint Henry, and naturally the cultural center of the bishopric. The bishop had the ecclesiastical authority over much of today's Finland and was usually the most powerful man there. Bishops were often Finns, whereas the commanders in the castles were more often Scandinavian or German noblemen. In 1362, representatives from Finland were called to participate in the elections of king for Sweden; and this year is often held to signify the incorporation of what would become Finland into the kingdom of Sweden. Similarly to the Scandinavian part of the kingdom, a
gentryor (lower) nobilityconsisted of magnates and yeomen who could afford armament for a man and a horse. These were concentrated in the southern part of Finland.
The strong fortress of
Viipuri(Swedish: "Viborg") guarded the eastern border of Finland. Sweden and Novgorod signed the Treaty of Nöteborg("Pähkinäsaari" in Finnish) in 1323, but that would not last long. For example, in 1348 the Swedish king Magnus Eriksson staged a failed crusade against the Orthodox "heretics", managing only to alienate his supporters and finally losing his crown. The bones of contention between Sweden and Novgorod were the northern coast-line of the Bothnian Gulf and the wilderness regions of Savoin Eastern Finland. Novgorodconsidered these as hunting and fishing grounds of its Karelian subjects, protesting against the slow infiltration of Catholic settlers from the West. Occasional raids and clashes between Swedes and Novgorodians occurred during the late 14th and 15th centuries, but for most of the time an uneasy peace prevailed. There existed internal tensions as well. During the 1380s a civil war in the Scandinavian part of Sweden brought unrest to Finland, too. The victor of this struggle was Queen Margaret I of Denmark, who brought the three Scandinavian kingdoms of Sweden, Denmarkand Norwayunder her rule (the " Kalmar Union") in 1389. The next 130 years or so were characterized by attempts of different Swedish factions to break out of the Union. Finland was sometimes involved in these struggles, but in general the 15th century seem to have been a relatively prosperous time, characterized by population growth and economic development. Towards the end of the century, however, the situation on the eastern border was becoming more tense. The Principality of Moscowconquered Novgorod, preparing the way for a unified Russian nation-state, and soon tensions arose with Sweden. In 1495–1497, a brutal war was fought. The fortress-town of Viipuri(Swedish: "Viborg", Russian: "Vyborg") stood against a Russian siege: according to a contemporary legend, it was saved by a miracle.
The 16th century
In 1521 the Kalmar Union finally collapsed and
Gustav Vasabecame the King of Sweden. During his rule, the Swedish church was reformed (1527). The state administration underwent extensive reforms and development too, giving it a much stronger grip on the life of local communities - and ability to collect higher taxes. Following the policies of the Reformation, in 1551 Mikael Agricola, bishop of Turku, published his translation of the New Testamentinto the Finnish language.
Helsinkiwas founded by Gustav Vasaunder the name of Helsingfors, but remained little more than a fishing village for more than two centuries.
King Gustav Vasa died in 1560 and his crown was passed to his three sons in separate turns. King
Erik XIVstarted an era of expansion when the Swedish crown took the city of Tallinnin Estoniaunder its protection in 1561. The Livonian Warwas the beginning of an extremely warlike era which lasted for 160 years. In the first phase, Sweden fought for the lordship of Estonia and Latviaagainst Denmark, Polandand Russia. The common people of Finland suffered because of drafts, high taxes, and abuse by military personnel. This resulted in the Cudgel Warof 1596-7, a desperate peasant rebellion, which was suppressed brutally and bloodily. A peace treaty ( Treaty of Teusina) with Russia in 1595 moved the border of Finland further to the east and north, very roughly where the modern border lies.
An important part of the 16th century history of Finland was growth of the area settled by the farming population. The crown encouraged farmers from the province of Savonia to settle the vast wilderness regions in Middle Finland. This was done, and the original Sami population often had to leave. Some of the wilderness settled was traditional hunting and fishing territory of
Karelian hunters. During the 1580s, this resulted in a bloody guerrilla warfare between the Finnish settlers and Karelians in some regions, especially in Ostrobothnia.
The 17th century - the Swedish Empire
In 1611-1632 Sweden was ruled by King
Gustavus Adolphus, whose military reforms transformed the Swedish army from a peasant militia into an efficient fighting machine, possibly the best in Europe. The conquest of Livoniawas now completed, and some territories were taken from internally divided Russiain the Treaty of Stolbova. In 1630, the Swedish (and Finnish) armies marched into Central Europe, as Sweden had decided to take part in the great struggle between Protestant and Catholic forces in Germany, known as the Thirty Years' War. The Finnish light cavalry was known as the Hakkapeliitat.
Peace of Westphaliain 1648, Sweden was ranked among the great European powers (the Swedish Empire). During the war, several important reforms had been made in Finland:
*1637–1640 and 1648–1654 Count Per Brahe functioned as general governor of Finland. Many important reforms were made and many towns were founded. His period of administration is generally considered very beneficial to the development of Finland.
*1640 Finland's first university, the
Academy of Åbo, was founded in Turku at the proposal of Count Per Brahe by Queen Christina of Sweden. This is said to be the only European university founded by a female.
*1642 The whole
Biblewas finally published in Finnish.
However, the high taxation, continuing wars and the cold climate (the
Little Ice Age) made the Imperial era of Sweden rather gloomy times for Finnish peasants. In 1655–1660, a new series of bitter wars was fought, taking Finnish soldiers to the battle-fields of Livonia, Polandand Denmark. In 1676, the political system of Sweden was transformed into an absolute monarchy.
In Middle and Eastern Finland, great amounts of
tarwere produced for export. European nations needed this material for the maintenance of their fleets. According to some theories, the spirit of early capitalismin the tar-producing province of Ostrobothniamay have been the reason for the witch-huntwave that happened in this region during the late 17th century. The people were developing more expectations and plans for the future, and when these were not realized, they were quick to blame witches - according to a belief system the Lutheranchurch had imported from Germany.
The Empire had a colony in the New World in the modern-day Delaware-Pennsylvania area between 1638–1655. At least half of the immigrants were of Finnish origin.
In the religious sense, the 17th century was an era of very strict
Lutheranorthodoxy. In 1608, the law of Moses was declared the law of the land, in addition to secular legislation. Every subject of the realm was required to confess the Lutheran faith and the church attendance was mandatory. Eccleastialistical penalties were widely used. [ [http://www.saunalahti.fi/arnoldus/puu_jalk.html Forsius, A. Puujalka ja jalkapuu.] Cited 14-12-2006. In Finnish] The rigorous requirements of orthodoxy were revealed in the dismissal of the Bishop of Turku, Johan Terserus, who wrote a catechismwhich was decreed heretical in 1664 by the theologians of the Academy of Åbo. [ [http://kirjasto.jyu.fi/jyk/kokoelmat/julkaisut/kielletyt_kirjat/kotimaa.htm Jyväskylän yliopiston kirjasto. Kielletyt kirjat.] Cited 14-12-2006. In Finnish] On the other hand, the Lutheran requirement of the individual study of Bible prompted the first attempts at wide-scale education. The church required from each person a degree of literacy sufficient to read the basic texts of the Lutheran faith. Although the requirements could be fulfilled by learning the texts by heart, also the skill of reading became known among the population. [ [http://kotisivu.mtv3.fi/suomenhistoria/historia/kirkko/rothovi.htm Suomen historia: kirkon historia] Cited 14-12-2006. In Finnish]
In 1697–99, a famine caused by climate killed approximately 30% of the Finnish population. Soon afterwards, another war determining Finland's fate began (the
Great Northern Warof 1700–21).
The 18th century - the Age of Enlightenment
Great Northern War(1700–1721), Finland was occupied by the Russians, and the south-eastern part, including the important town of Vyborg, was annexed to Russiaafter the Treaty of Nystad. The border with Russia came to lie roughly where it returned to after World War II. Sweden's status as a European great powerwas gone, and Russia was now the leading might of the North. The absolute monarchywas finished in Sweden. During this Age of Liberty, the Parliament ruled the country, and the two parties of Hats and Caps struggled for control leaving the lesser Court party, i.e. parliamentarians with close connections to the royal court, with little to no influence. The Caps wanted to have a peaceful relationship with Russia and were supported by many Finns, while other Finns longed for revenge and supported the Hats.
Finland by this time was not a populous land. By the mid-18th century, the population was less than 470 000 according to official statistics (based on (Lutheran) church records, so a few Orthodox Christian parishes in Northern Karelia are not included). However the population grew rapidly, and doubled before the turn of the century. 90% of the population are typically classified as "
peasants", most being free taxed yeomen. Society was divided in the four Estates: peasants (free taxed yeomen), the clergy, nobility and burghers. A minority, mostly cottagers, were estateless, and had no political representation. Forty-five percent of the male population were enfranchised with full political representation in the legislature — although clerics, nobles and townsfolk had their own chambers in the parliament, boosting their political influence and excluding the peasantry on matters of foreign policy.
The mid-18th century was a relatively good time, partly because life was now more peaceful. However, during the
Lesser Wrath(1741–1742), Finland was again occupied by the Russians after the government, during a period of Hat party dominance, had made a botched attempt to reconquer the lost provinces. Instead the result of the Treaty of Åbowas that the Russian border was moved further to the west. During this time, Russian propaganda hinted at the possibility of creating a separate Finnish kingdom.
Both the ascending Russian Empire and pre-revolutionary France aspired to have Sweden as a client state. Parliamentarians and others with influence were susceptible to taking bribes which they did their best to increase. The integrity and the credibility of the political system waned, and in 1771 the young and charismatic king
Gustav IIIstaged a coup-d'état, abolished parliamentarismand reinstated royal power in Sweden — more or less with the support of the parliament. In 1788, he started a new war against Russia. Despite a couple of victorious battles, the war was fruitless, managing only to bring disturbance to the economic life of Finland. The popularity of King Gustav III waned considerably. During the war, a group of officers made the famous Anjala declaration demanding peace negotiations and calling of "Riksdag" (Parliament). An interesting sideline to this process was the conspiracy of some Finnish officers, who attempted to create an independent Finnish state with Russian support. After an initial shock, Gustav III crushed this opposition. In 1789, the new constitution of Sweden strengthened the royal power further, as well as improving the status of the peasantry. However, the continuing war had to be finished without conquests - and many Swedes now considered the king as a tyrant.
With the interruption of the war (1788–1790), the last decades of the 18th century had been an era of development in Finland. New things were changing even the everyday life, such as starting of potato farming after the 1750s. New scientific and technical inventions were seen. The first hot air balloon in Finland (and in the whole Swedish kingdom) was made in Oulu (Uleåborg) in 1784, only a year after it was invented in France. Trade increased and the peasantry was growing more affluent and self-conscious. The
Age of Enlightenment's climate of broadened debate in the society on issues of politics, religion and morals would in due time highlight the problem that the overwhelming majority of Finns spoke only Finnish, but the cascade of newspapers, belles-lettres and political leaflets was almost exclusively in Swedish — when not in French.
The two Russian occupations had been harsh and were not easily forgotten. These occupations were a seed of a feeling of separateness and otherness, that in a narrow circle of scholars and intellectuals at the university in
Turkuwas forming a sense of a separate Finnish identity representing the eastern part of the realm. The shining influence of the Russian imperial capital Saint Petersburgwas also much stronger in southern Finland than in other parts of Sweden, and contacts across the new border dispersed the worst fears for the fate of the educated and trading classes under a Russian régime. At the turn of the century, the Swedish-speaking educated classes of officers, clerics and civil servants were mentally well prepared for a shift of allegiance to the strong Russian Empire.
King Gustav III was assassinated in 1792, and his son
Gustav IV Adolfassumed the crown after a period of regency. The new king was not a particularly talented ruler; at least not talented enough to steer his kingdom through the dangerous era of the French Revolutionand Napoleonic wars.
Meanwhile, the Finnish areas belonging to Russia after the peace treaties in 1721 and 1743 (not including Ingria), called the "Old Finland" were initially governed with the old Swedish laws (not uncommon practice in the expanding Russian Empire in the 18th century). However, gradually the rulers of Russia granted large estates of land to their non-Finnish favorites, ignoring the traditional landownership and peasant freedom laws of Old Finland. There were even cases where the noblemen punished peasants corporally, for example by flogging. The overall situation caused decline in the economy and morale in Old Finland, worsened since 1797 when the area was forced to send men to the Imperial Army. The construction of military installations in the area brought thousands of non-Finnish people to the region. In 1812, after the Russian conquest of Finland, "Old Finland" was rejoined to the rest of the country but the landownership question remained a serious problem until the 1870s.
Russian Grand Duchy
Finnish Warbetween Sweden and Russia, Finland was again conquered by the armies of Tsar Alexander I. The four Estates of occupied Finland were assembled at the Diet of Porvoo on March 29, 1809to pledge allegiance to Alexander I of Russia. Following the Swedish defeat in the war and the signing of the Treaty of Fredrikshamnon September 17, 1809, Finland remained an autonomous Grand Duchyin the Russian Empireuntil the end of 1917, with Karelia ( "Old Finland") handed back to Finland in 1812. During the years of Russian rule the degree of autonomy varied. Periods of censorshipand political prosecution occurred, particularly in the two last decades of Russian control, but the Finnish peasantry remained free (unlike their Russian counterparts) as the old Swedish law remained effective (including the relevant parts from Gustav III's Constitution of 1772). The old four-chamber Diet was re-activated in the 1860s agreeing to supplementary new legislation concerning internal affairs. Industrialisationbegun during the 19th century from forestryto industry, mining and machinery and laid the foundation of Finland's current day prosperity, even though agriculture employed a relatively large part of the population until the post-WWII era.
Particularly following Finland's incorporation into the Swedish central administration during the 16th and 17th centuries, Swedish had been the dominant language in administration and education. Before that, in medieval semi-anarchy, German,
Latinand Swedish were important languages beside native-spoken Finnish. Finnish recovered its predominance after a 19th-century resurgence of Finnish Nationalism, and Russian controllers working to separate Finns from Sweden and to ensure the Finns' loyalty.
The publication in 1835 of the Finnish
national epic, the Kalevala, a collection of traditional myths and legends which is the folkloreof the Karelian people(the FinnicRussian Orthodox people who inhabit the Lake Ladoga-region of eastern Finland and present-day NW Russia), first stirred the nationalismthat later led to Finland's independencefrom Russia. The Finnish national awakening in the mid-nineteenth century was the result of members of the Swedish-speaking upper classes deliberately choosing to promote Finnish culture and language as a means of nation building, i.e. to establish a feeling of unity between all people in Finland including (and not of least importance) between the ruling eliteand the ruled peasantry.
In 1863, Finnish gained a position in administration, and 1892 Finnish finally became an equal
official languageand gained a status comparable to that of Swedish. Within a generation Finnish clearly dominated in government and society.
In 1906, as a result of the
Russian Revolution of 1905and the associated Finnish general strike of 1905, the old four-chamber Diet was replaced by a unicameral Parliament of Finland"(the "Eduskunta")." For the first time in the world, universal suffrageand eligibilitywas implemented: Finnish women were the first in the world to gain full eligibility, and membership of an estate, land ownership or inherited titles were no longer required.However, on the local level things were different, as in the municipal elections the number of votes was tied to amount of tax paid. Thus, rich people could cast a number of votes, while the poor perhaps none at all. The municipal voting system was changed to universal suffrage in 1917when the Parliament got left-wing majority.
Independence and Civil War
In the aftermath of the
February Revolutionin Russia, Finland received a new Senate, a coalition-Cabinet with the same power structure as the Finnish Parliament. Based on the general electionin 1916, the Social Democrats had a small majority, and the Social Democrat Oskari Tokoibecame Prime Minister. The new Senate was willing to cooperate with the provisional government of Russia, but no agreement was reached. The Finns' view was basically that the personal unionwith Russia was finished after the Tsarwas dethroned – although the Finns had "de facto" recognized the provisional government as the Tsar's successor by accepting its authority to appoint a new Governor General and Senate. They expected the Tsar's authority to be transferred to Finland's Parliament, which the provisional government of Russia refused, suggesting instead that the question should be settled by the Russian Constituent Assembly. For the Finnish Social Democrats it seemed as though the Russian Bourgeoisiewas an obstacle on Finland's road to independenceas well as on the Proletariat's road to justice. The non-Socialists in Tokoi's Senate were however more confident. They, and most of the non-Socialists in the Parliament, rejected the Social Democrats' proposal on Parliamentarism(the so-called "Power Act") as being too far-reaching and provocative. The act restricted Russia's influence on domestic Finnish matters, but didn't touch the Russian government's power on matters of defence and foreign affairs. For the Russian Provisional government this was however far too radical. As the Parliament had exceeded its authority, it was dissolved.
The minority of the Parliament, and of the Senate, were content. New elections promised a chance to gain majority, which they were convinced would improve the chances to reach an understanding with Russia. The non-Socialists were also inclined to cooperate with the Russian Provisional government because they feared the Socialists' power would grow, resulting in radical reforms, such as equal suffrage in municipal elections, or a
land reform. The majority had, of course, the squarely opposite opinion. They didn't accept the Provisional government's right to dissolve the Parliament.
The Social Democrats held on to the Power Act and opposed the publication of the decree of dissolution of the Parliament, whereas the non-Socialists voted for publishing it. The disagreement over the Power Act led to the Social Democrats leaving the Senate. When the Parliament met again after the summer recess in August 1917, only the groups supporting the Power Act were present. Russian troops took possession of the chamber, the Parliament was dissolved, and new elections were carried out. The result was a (small) non-Socialist majority and a purely non-Socialist Senate. The abolishment of the Power Act, and the cooperation between Finnish non-Socialist forces and oppressive Russia provoked great bitterness among the Socialists, and dozens of politically motivated terror
assaults, including murders.
October Revolutionturned Finnish politics upside down. Now the new non-Socialist majority of the Parliament felt a great urge for total independence, and the Socialists came gradually to view Russia as an example to follow. On November 15, 1917, the Bolsheviks declared a general right of self-determination, including the right of complete secession, "for the Peoples of Russia". On the same day the Finnish Parliament issued a declaration by which it assumed, " pro tempore", all powers of the Sovereign in Finland.
Worried by the development in Russia, and Finland, the non-Socialist Senate proposed for the parliament to declare Finland's independence, which was agreed on in the parliament on
December 6, 1917. On December 18 (December 31 N. S.) the Soviet government issued a Decree, recognizing Finland's independence, and on December 22 (January 4, 1918 N. S.) it was approved by the highest Soviet executive body - VTsIK. Germanyand the Scandinavian countries followed without delay.
From January to May 1918, Finland experienced the brief but bitter
Finnish Civil Warthat colored domestic politics and the foreign relations of Finlandfor many years. On the one side there were the "white" civil guards, who fought for the anti-Socialists. On the other side fought the Red Guards, which consisted of workers and tenant farmers. The Finnish Socialist Workers' Republichad been proclaimed. The defeat of the Red Guards was achieved with support from Imperial Germany; and only Germany's defeat in World War Isaved Finland from becoming a German satellite state. Had the Red Guards won, Finland would have eventually become a part of the emerging communist state. The neighbor-country Sweden was in the midst of her own process of democratization, with socialists in government for the first time. For many decades, Finns on both sides remained bitter over Sweden's reluctance to become involved in the Civil War.
During the Civil War, the
Treaty of Brest-Litovskwas signed between the Central Powersand Bolshevist Russia, stating regarding Finland:
:"Finland and the Åland Islands will immediately be cleared of Russian troops and the Russian Red Guard, and the Finnish ports of the Russian fleet and of the Russian naval forces. So long as the ice prevents the transfer of warships into Russian ports, only limited forces will remain on board the warships. Russia is to put an end to all agitation or propaganda against the Government or the public institutions of Finland."
:"The fortresses built on the Åland Islands are to be removed as soon as possible. As regards the permanent non-fortification of these islands as well as their further treatment in respect to military technical navigation matters, a special agreement is to be concluded between Germany, Finland, Russia, and Sweden; there exists an understanding to the effect that, upon Germany's desire, still other countries bordering upon the Baltic Sea would be consulted in this matter."
Finland in the inter-war era
Despite the Declaration of Independence calling Finland a Republic, after the civil war the parliament, cleared of its Social Democrat members, and with a narrow majority voted to establish the "Kingdom of Finland".
Frederick Charles of Hesse, a German prince, was elected King, putatively with the name Väinö I of Finland, with Pehr Evind Svinhufvudand General Mannerheim serving as Regents. However, Germany's defeat in World War I meant that the idea was abandoned. Finland instead became a republic, with Kaarlo Juho Ståhlbergelected as its first President in 1919.
The new republic faced a dispute over the
ÅlandIslands, which were overwhelmingly Swedish-speaking and sought retrocession to Sweden. However, as Finland was not willing to cede the islands, they were offered an autonomous status. Nevertheless, the residents did not approve the offer, and the dispute over the islands was submitted to the League of Nations. The League decided that Finland should retain sovereignty over the Åland Islands, but they should be made an autonomous province. Thus Finland was under an obligation to ensure the residents of the Åland Islands a right to maintain the Swedish language, as well as their own culture and local traditions. At the same time, an international treaty was concluded on the neutral status of Åland, under which it was prohibited to place military headquarters or forces on the islands.
Directly after the Civil War there were many incidents along the border between Finland and Soviet Russia, such as the
Aunus expeditionand the Pork mutiny. Relations with the Soviets were improved after the Treaty of Tartu in 1920, in which Finland gained Petsamo, but gave up claims on East Karelia.
After four attempts at instituting prohibition of alcohol during the Grand Duchy period, all rejected by the Czar, independent Finland enacted prohibition on
June 1, 1919. It lasted until April 5, 1932, at 10:00 a.m., having many indisputably negative effects on Finns' drinking habits and on Finnish crime rates during its tenure. [ [http://www.vihrealiitto.fi/fi/node/251 Vihreä liitto. Päihdepoliittinen ohjelma 2003] Retrieved 2-26-2007. fi] [ [http://www.taivassalo.fi/?navi=0,80,90 Municipality of Taivassalo. Salakuljetusta saaristossa] Retrieved 2-26-2007. fi]
Nationalist sentiment remaining from the Civil War developed into the proto-Fascist
Lapua Movementin 1929. Initially the movement gained widespread support among anti-Communist Finns, but following a failed coup attempt in 1932 it was banned and its leaders imprisoned.
The Soviet Union started to tighten its policy against Finland in 1930s, limiting the navigation of Finnish merchant ships between
Lake Ladogaand the Gulf of Finlandand blocking it totally in 1937.
Finland in World War II
World War II, Finland fought the Soviet Uniontwice: she defended herself against the Soviet Union in the Winter Warof 1939-1940, resulting in the loss of Finnish Karelia, and again in the Continuation Warof 1941-1944 (with considerable support from Nazi Germanyresulting in a swift invasion of neighboring areas of the Soviet Union), leading also to the loss of Finland's only ice-free winter harbour Petsamo. The Continuation War was, in accordance with the armistice conditions, immediately followed by the Lapland Warof 1944-1945, when Finland fought the Germans to force them to withdraw from northern Finland back into Norway (then under German occupation).
Finland managed to maintain its independence and democratic constitution, contrary to most other countries proximate to the Soviet Union, and suffered comparably limited losses in terms of civilian lives and property, but was punished harsher than other German cobelligerents and allies, having to pay enormous reparations and resettle an eighth of its population after having lost an eighth of the territory including one of its industrial heartlands< and the second city
Vyborg(Finnish: "Viipuri", Swedish: "Viborg"). After the war, the Soviet Union settled these gained territories with people from many different regions of the empire, for instance from Ukraine.
Anti-Communist sentiments had, following the Civil War, been even more pronounced in Finland than in most other
West European societies. The propaganda war between Bolshevist Russia/the Soviet Unionand her western border state neighbours had been harsh and intense. The Finns in Kareliawere hit harder, relatively, by the Great Purgethan perhaps any other people, and in Finland at least the government must have had a quite accurate picture of the situation because of intensive intelligence operations. [ [http://www.genealogia.org/emi/art/article255e.htm Genocide in Soviet Karelia: Stalin's Terror and the Finns of Soviet Karelia ] ]
Hence, at the eve of the World War, the Finns had very concrete fears for their survival as a people — let alone as a
nation state. The Finns perceived the defence against the Communist Soviet Union as literally a fight of life or death; And during the Winter War, this perception was also shared by the spectator nations in the West.Fact|date=July 2007 Finland's support from, and coordination with, Nazi Germany starting during the winter of 1940/41 made other countries considerably less sympathetic to the Finns' plight; particularly since the Continuation Warled to a Finnish invasion of the Soviet Union designed not only to recover the lost territory but additionally to answer irredentist pan-Finnicist dreams of a Greater Finlandby incorporating East Kareliawhose inhabitants were culturally kindred although religiously Russian Orthodox. The United Kingdomeven declared war on Finland, strikingly delivered at Finland's Independence Day 1941.
During and in between the wars, approximately 80,000 children were evacuated abroad. 5% went to
Norway, 10% to Denmark, and the rest to Sweden. Most of them were sent back by 1948, but 15-20% remained abroad. In retrospect, the separation from their parents, siblings and language, and then later again a repeat of the separation, this time from their foster homes, has proved to be an often forgotten tragedy.
For information about
Jews in Finland during WWII, visit [http://www.uta.fi/~tuulikki.vuonokari/fin-1.html this link] .
Finland had to reject
Marshall aid. United States shipped secret development aid and financial aid to the non-communist SDP in hope of saving Finland's independence. [ [http://www.hs.fi/english/article/Hidden+help+from+across+the+Atlantic/1135223633788 Hidden help from across the Atlantic] , Helsingin Sanomat] Establishing trade with the Western powers, such as the United Kingdom, and the reparations to the Soviet Union caused Finland to transform itself from a primarily agrarian economy to an industrialised one. Even after the reparations had been paid off, Finland continued to trade with the Soviet Union in the framework of bilateral trade.
In 1950 half of the Finnish workers were occupied in agriculture and a third lived in urban towns. [http://www.stat.fi/tup/suomi90/joulukuu_en.html Population development in independent Finland - greying Baby Boomers] ] The new jobs in manufacturing, services and trade quickly attracted people to the towns. The average number of births per woman declined from
baby booma peak of 3.5 in 1947 to 1.5 in 1973. When baby boomers entered the workforce, the economy did not generate jobs fast enough and hundreds of thousands emigrated to the more industrialized Sweden, migration peaking in 1969 and 1970 (today 4.7 percent of Swedes speak Finnish). 1952 Summer Olympicsbrought international visitors.
Finland retained a democratic constitution and free economic structure during the
Cold Warera. Treaties signed in 1947 and 1948 with the Soviet Unionincluded obligations and restraints on Finland, as well as territorial concessions. Both treaties have been abrogated by Finland since the 1991 dissolution of the Soviet Union, while leaving the borders untouched. Even though being a neighbour to the mighty Soviet Union sometimes resulted in overly cautious concern in foreign policy (" Finlandization"), Finland developed closer co-operation with the other Nordic countriesand declared itself neutral in superpower politics.
In 1952, Finland and the countries of the
Nordic Councilentered into a passport union, allowing their citizens to cross borders without passports and soon also to apply for jobs and claim social security benefits in the other countries. Many from Finland used this opportunity to secure better paying jobs in Sweden in the 1950s and 1960s, dominating Sweden's first wave of post-war labour immigrants. Although Finnish wages and standard of living could not compete with wealthy Sweden until the 1980s, the Finnish economy rose remarkably from the ashes of World War II, resulting in the buildup of another Nordic-style welfare state.
Despite the passport union with Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Iceland Finland could not join the
Nordic Counciluntil 1955 because of Soviet fears that Finland might become too close to the West. At that time the Soviet Union saw the Nordic Councilas part of NATOof which Denmark, Norway and Iceland were members. That same year Finland joined the United Nations, though it had already been associated with a number of UN specialized organisations. The first Finnish ambassador to the UN was G.A. Gripenberg (1956-1959), followed by Ralph Enckell (1959-1965), Max Jakobson (1965-1972), Aarno Karhilo (1972-1977), Ilkka Pastinen (1977-1983), Keijo Korhonen (1983-1988), Klaus Törnudd (1988-1991), Wilhelm Breitenstein (1991-1998) and Marjatta Rasi (since 1998). In 1972 Max Jakobson was even a candidate for Secretary-Generalof the UN. In another remarkable event of 1955, the Soviet Union decided to return the Porkkalapeninsula to Finland, which had been rented to the Soviet Union in 1948 for 50 years as a military base, a situation which somewhat endangered Finnish sovereignty and neutrality.
Finland became an associate member of the
European Free Trade Associationin 1961 and a full member in 1986. A trade agreement with the EEC was complemented by another with the Soviet Bloc. The first Conference for Security and Co-operation in Europe (CSCE), which lead to the creation of the OSCE, was held in Finland in 1972-1973. The CSCE was widely considered in Finland as a possible means of reducing tensions of the Cold War, and a personal triumph for President Urho Kekkonen.
Officially claiming to be neutral, Finland lay in the grey zone between the Western countries and the Soviet Union. The "YYA Treaty" (Finno-Soviet Pact of "Friendship, Cooperation, and Mutual Assistance") gave the Soviet Union some leverage in Finnish domestic politics. This was extensively exploited by President
Urho Kekkonenagainst his opponents. He maintained an effective monopoly on Soviet relations, which gave him a status of "only choice for president" and 25 years regime from 1956 to 1981. There was also a tendency of self-censorshipregarding Finno-Soviet relations. This phenomenon was given the name "Finlandisation" by the German press (fi. "suomettuminen"). When Finlandisation was not enough, direct censorship was used, including in 1700 books and many movies. Asylum-seeking defectors were returned to the Soviet Union for punishment or execution. The Soviet-financed, anti-Western, pro-Soviet youth movements peaked in the 1970s, when the communist-led Teen Unionstarted to harass bourgeoisie-suspected teachers. Soviets succeed to agitate a majority of baby boomers to socialist ideologies, with the radical taistoists even demanding Finland to join Soviet Union. Stasiand KGBused their strengthened allies to cooperate installations of socialists in the administration, mass media (particularly by Tampere Universityjournalism department, YLE, and Helsingin Sanomat), academia (particularly social sciences), political parties and trade unions (particularly Central Organisation of Finnish Trade Unions). Politicization, agitated as a way to socialist revolution, was widespread and public sector workers were often dependent on having the correct political party membership. Despite calls to silence Western ideas, the liberal opposition (mainly National Coalition Party) was allowed to operate and be publicly critical.Vaaran vuodet, Juhani Suomi] Agrarians (mainly Centre Partyand Finnish Rural Party) and socialist ( SDP, Finnish People's Democratic League, and the Communist Party) dominated the government.
However, Finland maintained
capitalismunlike most other countries bordering the Soviet Union. Property rights were strong. While nationalization committees were set up in France and UK, Finland avoided nationalizations. After failed experiments with protectionism in the 1950s, Finland eased restrictions and made a free trade agreement with the European Communityin 1973, making its markets more competitive. Local education markets expanded and an increasing number of Finns also went abroad to study in the United States or Western Europe, bringing back advanced skills. There was a quite common, but pragmatic-minded, credit and investment cooperation by state and corporations, though it was considered with suspicion. Support for capitalism was widespread. [http://siteresources.worldbank.org/INTRANETSOCIALDEVELOPMENT/Resources/finland.pdf Growth and Equity in Finland] , World Bank] Savings rate hovered among the world's highest, at around 8% until the 80s. In the beginning of the 1970s, Finland's GDP per capita reached the level of Japanand the UK. Finland's economic development shared many aspects with export-led Asian countries.
Until 1970 Finland and other Nordic countries had relatively low taxes, low regulation, and some of the highest income levels in the world. Then Nordic countries saw a dramatic change. In Finland, the number of bureaucrats and overall taxation were doubled between 1970 and 1990. [ [http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/48/59/1910873.pdf FROM UNIFORM ADMINISTRATION TO GOVERNANCE AND MANAGEMENT OF DIVERSITY - Reforming State functions and public administrationin Finland] ,
OECD] Corruption became widespread in 1970s and 1980s.The History of Corruption in Central Government By Seppo Tiihonen, International Institute of Administrative Sciences]
In 1991 Finland fell into a
Great Depression-magnitude depression caused by a combination of economic overheating, fixed currency, depressed Western, Soviet, and local markets. Stock market and housing prices declined by 50%. [http://www.tcmb.gov.tr/yeni/evds/yayin/kitaplar/enf_kitap/4-Antti_Suvanto.pdf Inflation targeting: Reflection from the Finnish experience] ] The growth in the 1980s was based on debt and defaults started rolling in. GDP declined by 15% and unemploymentincreased from a virtual full employment to one fifth of the workforce. The crisis was amplified by trade unions' initial opposition to any reforms. Politicians struggled to cut spending and the public debt doubled to around 60% of GDP. Some 7-8% of GDP was needed to bail out failing banks and force banking sector consolidation. [ [http://126.96.36.199/TRIPviewer/temp/TUNNISTE_VaVM_15_1996_fi.html Converted ] ] After devaluations the depression bottomed out in 1993.
SDP suffered from its role in the crisis, though only few of the involved politicians aside from the SDP chairman Ulf Sundqvist were convicted. For the first time SDP gave voluntarily room for pro-Western Prime Minister
Esko Aho, Finance Minister Sauli Niinistöand other opposition heavyweights to take care of the Finland's rescue operation. Mauno Koivistoand later Tarja Halonenclassified documents about their and other politicians' involvement in the crisis. Similarly, information about Stasiand KGBoperations in Finland was classified, though revelations by former Soviet commanders, foreign intelligence services, and self-revelations have consistently pointed to top names such as Paavo Lipponen, the Prime Minister between 1995-2003.."Vasemmalta ohi", by Alpo Rusi]
Finland started extensive reforms in product markets and financial market. Many state enterprises were privatized.
Finland joined the
European Unionin 1995. While politicians were previously involved in setting interest rates, the central bank was given an inflation-targeting mandate until Finland joined eurozone.
The growth rate has since been one of the highest of OECD countries and Finland has topped many indicators of national performance.
Mauno Koivistoand his SDP opposed the idea of European Union membership and preferred entering into the European Economic Areatreaty. The Centre Party was also very opposed to such Western cooperation. The prospect of membership in the EC/EU became an increasingly preferred alternative after Swedenhad submitted its membership application in 1991 and the Soviet Unionwas dissolved at the end of the year. Finland submitted its own application to the EC in March 1992. The process of accession was completed on January 1, 1995, when Finland joined the European Unionalong with Austriaand Sweden. Before the parliamentary decision to join the EU, a consultative referendum was held on April 16, 1994in which 56.9% of the votes were in favour of joining. Leading Finlandinto the EU is held as the main achievement of the Centrist-Conservative government of Esko Ahothen in power.
In addition to fast integration with the European Union, safety against Russian leverage has been increased by building fully
NATO-compatible military. 1000 troops (a high per-capita amount) are simultaneously committed in NATO operations. Finland has also opposed energy projects that increase dependency on Moscow. [ [http://formin.finland.fi/public/?contentid=89857&contentlan=2&culture=en-US Nato: Address by Mr Pertti Torstila, Secretary of State, to the Macedonian Diplomatic Bulletin] ] At the same time, Finland remains one of the last non-members in Europe and there seems to be not enough support for full membership unless Sweden joins first. [ [http://www.mil.fi/perustietoa/julkaisut/finland_and_nato/chapter_9.dsp Finland and NATO] , Tomas Ries.]
The population is aging with the birth rate at 10.42 births/1,000 population or fertility rate at 1.8. With median age at 41.6 years Finland is one of the oldest countries [ [http://www.globalhealthfacts.org/topic.jsp?i=61 Median Age (Years) - GlobalHealthFacts.org ] ] and a half of voters is estimated to be over 50 years old. Like most European countries, without further reforms or much higher immigration Finland is expected to struggle with demographics, even though macroeconomic projections are healthier than in most other developed countries.
History of Russia
History of Europe
History of the European Union
History of present-day nations and states
List of Finnish wars
List of Finnish treaties
Monarchy of Finland
* [http://sources.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikisource:Historiallisia_dokumentteja Finnish historical documents at WikiSource] (In Finnish)
* [http://www.histdoc.net/history/history.html History of Finland: A selection of events and documents] by Pauli Kruhse
* [http://eudocs.lib.byu.edu/index.php/History_of_Finland:_Primary_Documents History of Finland: Primary Documents]
* [http://www.sls.fi/fmu/indexeng.htm Diplomatarium Fennicum] — Publishing of medieval documents (the National Archives of Finland)
* [http://prokarelia.net/contract/?x=itsenaisyys ProKarelias collection of international treaties concerning independent Finland] (In Finnish)
* [http://home.student.uu.se/o/orma1967/Kartor/Finland/finland.htm Historical Atlas of Finland]
* [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Petri_Krohn/Finland_1911 Article on "Finland"] in
1911 Encyclopedia Britannica
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