First inhabitant of Finland
About 8500 BC Finland was first settled by humans. Different Stone Age cultures emerged. Around 1700 BC Chr. Hunters and gatherers became sedentary people who built houses and farmed. The Sami people lived in the north. In the south lived Finns who spoke a Finnish-Ugric language. Karelians from the Karelia region also lived in the east. Trade was conducted to the west and east.
From the 12th century onwards, Swedes launched campaigns in Finland. To take the land and convert the people to Christianity were their goals. Finland came under the rule of Sweden.
But in the east the republic of Novgorod was threatened, which in 1136 had renounced the Old Russian Empire, the Kievan Rus (see Russia). So there were repeated wars between Sweden and Novgorod until the 15th century. In 1323 a border was first established. Finland’s eastern border has changed over and over again during this time.
In 1397 Queen Margaret I united Denmark, Norway and Sweden in the Kalmar Union. It existed until 1523, when Sweden – and thus Finland – left.
Sweden’s sphere of influence expanded overall by 1700, when Russia gained power and occupied Finland in part or in full. In the Great Northern War (1700-1721) Sweden lost its supremacy in the Baltic Sea region to Russia. In 1743 the south-east of what is now Finland came under Russian control.
Russian rule (1808-1917)
In the Napoleonic Wars, Russia was briefly allied with France, while Sweden formed a coalition with England. Russia wanted to protect Saint Petersburg, located on the Baltic Sea, from possible attacks by the British. In 1808, Russia attacked Sweden and the Russo-Swedish War followed.
Sweden lost the war and Finland became a grand duchy within the Russian Empire. Internally, in administration, it was given extensive rights. Tsar Alexander I promised the Finns not to touch their laws. Slowly, national consciousness began to develop among the Finns over the next few decades.
Around 1900, the desire for independence grew when Russia tried to gain more control over Finnish territories. When the February Revolution in 1917 ended tsarist rule in Russia, Finland declared itself independent.
1917 until today
With independence, there was initially a civil war in which socialists tried to gain power. This was repulsed and in 1919 the country adopted a constitution as a parliamentary republic.
There was a dispute with Sweden over the Åland Islands, which were finally awarded to Finland by the League of Nations in 1921 – on condition that the islands were given extensive autonomy.
From 1939 to 1940 and from 1941 to 1944 there were two wars with Russia: the Winter War and the Continuation War, as they are also called. Finland lost a large part of South Karelia to Russia.
After the Second World War, there was reconstruction and economic growth. Finland tried in the following decades to maintain its neutrality and good relations with its large neighbor, the Soviet Union. Finland changed from an agricultural state to a modern industrial state.
Urho Kekkonen played a key role in shaping politics for a long time. He was President of the country for a very long time, namely from 1956 to 1982. He continued the policy of neutrality. It stayed out of the East-West conflict.
The collapse of the Soviet Union led to a severe economic crisis in the 1990s as Finland’s main trading partner fell away.
Finland joined the European Union in 1995, and in 2002 it adopted the euro as its currency.
Sauli Niinistö has been President of Finland since 2012. Finland is one of countries starting with F according to Countryaah.
Do you know the Moomins? They were invented by the Finnish-Swedish author Tove Jansson (1914-2001). Moomins are troll-like creatures that have a certain resemblance to hippos. Not only are they famous in Finland, the Moomin books are also available in German from us. The Moomins live in the Moomin Valley and experience all kinds of adventures. Finland even has an amusement park with the Moomins, Moominworld in Naantali on the west coast.
The word sauna is the only German word that has been adopted from Finnish. In Finland the sauna is very important and part of the culture. You don’t just go to the sauna in your free time, you can also meet business partners there. Almost every house has a sauna where you can relax and cleanse your body. In apartment buildings there is a community sauna for the residents.
The chances of seeing the Northern Lights are quite high in Finland, and most likely in September, October or March. Scientifically, the northern lights at the North Pole are called Aurora borealis. The lights dance green, pink or purple across the sky at night. Why do they arise at all? It’s pretty complicated, but it has something to do with the sun. When it hurls particles into space and hits the earth’s magnetic field, they are led to the magnetic north pole. In doing so, energy is released that we see as the northern lights.
Suomi-neito is the personification of Finland. So this girl stands for the country Finland, she is a symbol for it. Translated, the word means “Virgin of Finland”. Mostly she is depicted with long, blonde hair and blue eyes and wears a blue and white dress – the Finnish national colors. Finland’s outline on maps also resembles a woman with an arm up. It is also sometimes referred to as Suomi-neito.