Articles / Finland


Subject / Topography/Administrative - territorial division

FINLAND, country in Northern Europe. Borders Sweden, Norway, the RF (Murmansk Oblast, Republic of Karelia, Leningrad Oblast.) Located on the coasts of the Gulf of Bothnia and Gulf of Finland, Baltic Sea. Area: 338,000 sq. km (abt. 10% being inland water bodies.) Population (as of 1998): 5,147,000 (93%, Finns, abt. 6%, Swedes.) Population density: 14.8 persons/sq. km. 2/3 of the population are urban. Official languages: Finnish (native for 96% of the population) and Swedish. 90% of the population belong to the Evangelical Lutheran Church, and 1.1%, to the Greek Orthodox Church. Administratively, F. is subdivided into laani, i.e. gubernias. At the break of the 2nd millennium AD, F. was populated by the Baltic Finnish ethnic communities Suomi (western lands), Häme or Tavastia (center), and Korela (east). In the 12th and 13th centuries, the south-west of F. was seized by Sweden, while the eastern regions were in the sphere of interests of Veliky Novgorod, which determined Russo-Swedish armed rivalry in the Karelian Isthmus for many centuries. Turku was the main city of F. (Swed. and Old Rus. Abo), and Vyborg, the second in importance. For the first time, the eastern border of Sweden was fixed by the Orekhovo Treaty of 1323 to extend along the Sestra River and further to the north, leaving Vyborg to Sweden and Korela (currently Priozersk) to Novgorod. In the 16th century, Lutheranism became the established religion in F. and Sweden. In 1642, the Holy Bible in Finnish was published (the New Testament was translated by M. Agricola in the 16th century.) In 1581, F. became a Grand Principality (Duchy.) The Stolbovo Treaty of 1617 gave all F. and Ingermanlandia to Sweden. After the Northern War of 1700-21 and defeat of Sweden, Russia gained the Karelian Isthmus, where Vyborg Gubernia was established (so-called Old or Russian F.) After the Russo-Swedish War of 1808-09 all the territory of F. went to Russia and was given the status of a Grand Principality of Finland (in accordance with the form of government of 1772 established by Swedish King Gustav III.) In 1811, Vyborg Gubernia was attached to F. In 1812, the capital was moved to Helsinki (Swed. and Old Rus. Helsingforss.) In the 1860s, Alexander II started liberal reforms in F. In 1863, the diet (parliament) was convened, which regularly assembled from 1869. In 1879, the laws on freedom of enterprise and travels were passed. In the 19th century, the Fennoman movement spread in F., striving for extended rights of the Finnish language (Swedish was the official language in F.) and development of the Finish national culture. Its leaders were E. Lönnrot, folklorist and creator of the Kalevala epos; writer J. L. Runeberg, journalist and statesman J. V. Snellman, writer and historian S. Topelius, ethnographer and linguist M. A. Castrén, historian Y. S. Yrjö-Koskinen. In December 1917 F. officially became an independent state. In the spring of 1918, a civil war broke out in F., and was won by the White Army headed by C. G. Mannerheim. In 1919, F. was declared a republic, and its Constitution was adopted (president as the head of state, and one-chamber parliament as the supreme legislative body.) As a result of its defeat in the Soviet-Finnish (Winter) War of 1939-40 F. lost the Karelian Isthmus (areas of the current Vyborg and Priozersk Districts of Leningrad Oblast), North Coast of Ladoga, and border lands in the North Karelia. The population of the regions gained by the USSR was evacuated to the inland of F. In 1941-44 F. took part in WWII on Germany’s side. The 1947 Paris Treaty confirmed the 1940 border in the Ladoga lands; the USSR also gained the Pechenga area (Murmansk Oblast). In the 2nd half of the 20th century, F. held the policy of neutrality. F. has been a member of the European Union since 1995.

Chistyakov, Anton Yuryevich

Agricola, Mikael
Alexander II, Emperor
Gustav III
Kastren, Matias (Matvey) Aleksandr
Lennorot, Elias
Mannerheim, Karl Gustav
Runeberg, Yukhan Ludwig
Snelman, Yukhan Wilhelm
Topelius, Sakari ( Zacharias)
Yurye-Koskinen, Yurye Sakari ( the real name was Forsman, George Zacharias)

Historical Toponyms/Grand Principality of Finland
Topographical landmarks/Gulf of Finland, the
Historical Toponyms/Ingermanlandia (Ingria)
Topographical landmarks/Karelian Isthmus, the
Neighbouring Territories/Karelian Republic
Topographical landmarks/Priladozhye
Leningrad Oblast, the/Priozersk District
Leningrad Oblast, the/Priozersk District/Priozersk Town
Topographical landmarks/Sestra River, the
Historical Toponyms/Vyborg Gubernia
Leningrad Oblast, the/Vyborg District/Vyborg Town

Клинге М. Очерк истории Финляндии. Хельсинки, 1990
Расила В. История Финляндии. Петрозаводск, 1996
Юссила О., Хентиля С., Невакиви Ю. Политическая история Финляндии. М., 1998

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Grand Principality of Finland*, v. Finland