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Nordic FAQ - 4 of 7 - FINLAND
Section - 4.3 History

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  4.3.1 A chronology of important dates
   (A brief chronicle is to find in the section 4.3.3.)
   (for the period 1155-1809, see also the Swedish history section)
          The First Crusade to Finland, launched by Swedes and led by the
          English bishop Henry and the Swedish king Erik (later canonized
          and made Sweden's patron saint, St.Erik, and Finland's patron
          saint, St.Henry, respectively ).
          According to the legend, bishop Henry is murdered by the
          peasant Lalli on the frozen surface of lake Köyliö.
          The bishop's seat is moved from Nousiainen to Koroinen in the
          vicinity of modern Turku; the year is considered to be the
          founding year of Turku, which becomes the capital of the
          eastern half of the kingdom.
          After a pagan uprising, the Second Crusade to Tavastia (a
          province of western/central Finland) is launched by Birger Jarl
          and the pagans are defeated.
          The Third Crusade by Sweden's marsk Torgils Knutsson to
          Karelia, a province of eastern Finland, establishes the
          borderline between Catholic West and Orthodox East for the
          centuries to come. The castle and town of Viipuri/Viborg are
          founded to defend the border.
          The peace of Nöteburg (Pähkinäsaari) between Sweden and Russia.
          Finland's eastern border is defined for the first time.
          The first Swedish national law replaced the local provincial
          Finns receive the right to participate in the election of the
          The era of the Kalmar Union, with Finland, Sweden, Denmark
          Norway and Iceland united as a single kingdom.
          War against Russia. During a siege of Viipuri, just as the
          Russians are about to get over the city walls, St. Andrew's
          cross appears in the sky and the frightened Russians flee from
          battle. In reality, what happened was probably the exploding of
          a gunpowder tower.
          Reformation. Finland becomes Lutheran with the rest of Sweden.
          Helsinki founded by Gustav Vasa, but remains little more than a
          fishing village for more than two centuries.
          Mikael Agricola, a bishop of Turku, publishes his translation
          of the New Testament in Finnish.
          The peace of Täyssinä (Teusina); Finland's borders are moved
          further east and north.
          The Cudgel War.
          Karelia joined into Finland in the peace treaty of Stolbova
          ending a hundred years of almost continuous wars with Russia.
          Finns fight in the Thirty Years' War in the continent. The
          Finnish cavalry, known as hakkapeliittas, spreads fear among
          the Catholic troops who're used to more orderly warfare.
   1637-40 and 1648-54
          Count Per Brahe as the general governor of Finland. Many and
          important reforms are made, towns are founded, etc. His period
          is generally considered very beneficial to the development of
          Finland's first university founded in Turku.
          The whole Bible is finally published on Finnish.
          Russia occupies Finland during the Great Northern War. The
          period of the so called "Great Wrath".
          The peace of Uusikaupunki gives Karelia to Russia.
          The "War of the Hats". Adventurous politics by the "Hat" party
          leads to a new disastrous war with Russia and a new occupation
          of Finland, known as "The Lesser Wrath", which ends in the
          peace treaty of Turku in 1743.
          Storskifte, first reform of Swedish farming decided.
          The liberty of Press and "Offentlighetsprincipen" was declared
          as constitution.
          "The War of Finland". Russia attacks Finland in Feb. 1808
          without a declaration of war; Finnish troops retreat all the
          way to Oulu, which forces Russians to leave a large part of
          their army as occupation forces, giving the Swedish general
          Klingspor superiority in force. A reconquest starts in June and
          Klingspor receives several victories; however, the baffling
          surrender of the mighty Sveaborg / Suomenlinna fortress on May
          3rd and the fresh Russian troops received in autumn of 1808
          force the Swedish-Finnish troops to retreat all the way to
          Härnösand in Sweden. Once again Russia occupies Finland.
          In the diet of Porvoo, while the war still goes on, the Finnish
          estates swear an oath of loyalty to Emperor Alexander I, who
          grants Finland a status of an autonomous Grand Duchy, retaining
          its old constitution and religion. A few months later the peace
          treaty of Hamina (Fredrikshamn) is signed and Finland becomes
          under Russian rule.
          Helsinki, being closer to Russia than the Swedish-oriented
          Turku, is made the new capital. Karelia is joined to the Grand
          Duchy as an act of goodwill.
          Finland prospers under the extensive autonomy and more liberal
          conditions than in the rest of Russian Empire. National
          identity and nationalism awakens.
          The great fire of Turku destroys most of the former capital.
          The university is moved to Helsinki.
          The first publication of the Kalevala, the Finnish national
          epic. It was collected by Elias Lönnrot from traditional
          Karelian oral poetry, and became the most important source of
          inspiration to Finnish nationalists when it appeared in its
          final form in 1849.
          The first railway, between Helsinki and Hämeenlinna.
          Finnish becomes, alongside with Swedish and Russian, an
          official language.
          Russia starts a Russification policy of Finland with the so
          called "February manifesto". After the initial shock and
          disbelief, a well-organized passive resistance follows.
          The dictatorical general governor and active adherent of
          Russification of Finland, Nikolai Bobrikov, is assassinated by
          the young clerk Eugen Schauman.
          Finnish women receive the right to vote and to run for
          parliament. Finland was the first country in Europe (and second
          in the world, after New Zealand) to grant women an equal right
          to vote in elections. The Finnish diet, which up until now had
          been a system of four estates (nobility, clergy, merchantry,
          peasantry), becomes a unicameral parliament and a universal
          suffrage is declared.
          As Russia plunges into the chaos of the October Revolution,
          Finland seizes the opportunity and declares independence on the
          6th of December.
          A civil war erupts between "whites" and "reds", and ends in
          "white" victory under the commander . Even though the war is
          relatively brief, the casualties rise high because of "red" and
          "white" terror, poor conditions at prison camps and random
          executions of prisoners. The war leaves bitter marks on the
          nation, which are eventually healed in the Winter War of
          1939-40, when both sides have to unite forces against a common
          The civil war increases scepticism towards the effeciency of
          democratic institutions, and monarchists in the parliament
          succeed (chiefly because the Social Democrats had not been
          allowed to partake in the parliament) in turning Finland into a
          monarchy, and the German prince Friedrich Karl of Hesse is
          invited to become King of Finland. However, as Germany soon
          lost the World War I, Friedrich who had delayed answering to
          the invitiation refused the crown so Finland never officially
          had a king; as a result monarchism in general suffered an
          inflation. In 1919 Finland gets a republican constitution, with
          a strong position for the president as a concession to the
          Finland prospers after the war and adopts a neutral Nordic
          profile in its foreign policy, although with strong German
          sympathies. In early 1930's fascism in the Italian fashion
          emerges and the so called Lapua-movement attempts a coup d'etat
          in 1932, but fails and is banned (ironically, using the laws
          the movement was itself most eager to push into force). The IKL
          ("Patriotic Movement"), an extreme right party, is formed to
          continue the legacy of Lapua-movement, but it never gains
          significant support and Finnish fascism remains a fringe
          Soviet Union attacks Finland. Fierce Finnish resistance
          surprises the overwhelming but poorly prepared Soviet troops
          and the Winter War lasts for roughly three and a half months,
          causing heavy casualties on the Soviet side. Eventually Finland
          has to give in and cede Karelia to the USSR, causing some
          400,000 people to lose their homes.
          The Continuation War; Finland attacks the Soviet Union with
          Germany, hoping to regain the lost areas, but eventually has to
          accept the borders of 1940 and, and also cede Pechenga, lease
          Porkkala peninsula as a military base for 50 years (SU returns
          it already in 1956) and pay war reparations.
          The War of Lapland. As a part of the peace treaty, Finland has
          to force all German troops to leave Finland. Germans put up a
          fight and burn much of Finnish Lapland as they retreat.
          Paris peace treaty. Finland assumes a policy of careful
          neutrality (e.g declining to receive Marshall aid) and
          realpolitik, taking into account Finland's geographical
          location next to the USSR. This policy becomes known as the
          Paasikivi-Kekkonen line.
          So called "Years of Danger" ("vaaran vuodet") when a communist
          takeover was hanging in the air. Some leading Finnish
          communists proclaimed that the "Czechoslovakian model" was to
          be Finland's future as well. This ends in the signing of the
          Treaty of Friendship, Co-operation and Mutual Assistance ("YYA"
          is the Finnish acronym) with the Soviet Union in 1948. In it,
          Finland among other things commits itself to defend its
          territory against Germany or any other country allied with
          Germany that might use Finland as a way to attack Soviet Union.
          The treaty guarantees Finland's sovereignty in the years to
          follow, but places Finland in between the two blocs of the Cold
          War, trying hard to please both sides.
          "Finlandization" era. Finland remains an independent western
          European democracy, but falls into exaggerations in keeping the
          eastern neighbour pleased. On the other hand, the bilateral
          trade arrangements with the Soviet Union are very beneficial to
          Finnish economy, which make possible the emergence of Finland
          as a rich welfare state.
          The Olympic Games held in Helsinki.
          Finland joins the United Nations and the Nordic Council.
          A time of intensive urbanization, Finland turns from a
          predominantly agrarian state into an urban one almost
          "overnight". This results in severe unemployment, and large
          numbers of Finns emigrate to Sweden in search of jobs.
          Finland signs a free trade treaty with the EEC (a precedent of
          the European Union), but remains outside the community.
          The first CSCE conference in held in Helsinki. The "spirit of
          Helsinki" becomes to epitomize the process of detente between
          East and West after the Cold War era.
          Finland becomes a full member of EFTA (European Free Trade
          Association). A special FINEFTA customs treaty had been in
          effect already since 1961.
          Finland becomes a member of the European Council.
          On 16th of October Finns voted YES (57% vs. 43% NO) to
          membership in the European Union; the parliament ratified the
          result after a long filibustering campaign by the NO-side.
          As of January 1st, Finland became a full member in the EU.
  4.3.2 Grand Dukes and presidents of Finland
          For a list of kings and queens of Sweden-Finland, see Part 7 of
          the FAQ, section 7.3.1.

Grand Dukes of the Grand Duchy of Finland

Alexander I                     (1809-25)
Nicholas I                      (1825-55)
Alexander II                    (1855-81)
Alexander III                   (1881-94)
Nicholas II                     (1894-1917)

Regents of the period of Civil War

Pehr Evind Svinhufvud           (1918)
Carl Gustav Emil Mannerheim     (1918-19)

Presidents of the republic of Finland

Kaarlo Juho Ståhlberg           (1919-25)
Lauri Kristian Relander         (1925-31)
Pehr Evind Svinhufvud           (1931-37)
Kyösti Kallio                   (1937-40)
Risto Heikki Ryti               (1940-44)
Carl Gustaf Emil Mannerheim     (1944-46)
Juho Kusti Paasikivi            (1946-56)
Urho Kaleva Kekkonen            (1956-81)
Mauno Henrik Koivisto           (1982-94)
Martti Oiva Kalevi Ahtisaari    (1994-  )

[ the sections above are available at the www-page ]

  4.3.3 Viking times and before that
          Finland as an entity did hardly exist before the 14th century.
          The ancestors of nowaday Finns consisted different tribes like
          Karelians, Tavastians and Finns. At that time, only the most
          South-Western part of the country was known as "Finland" and
          its inhabitants as Finns. These names came to be used of the
          entire country and the population at the beginning of the
          modern era. In the middle ages, the whole Finland was commonly
          called Österlandet. (The South-Western part is now called as
          Finland proper, Varsinais-Suomi, and its inhabitants as Proper
          Finns.) ,
          Speakers of an early form of Finnish (of Finno-Ugric languages
          in any case) are believed to have lived in Finland for 6.000
          years. Earlier settlers are of unknown descent. This was also
          the time when Finnish and Hungarian lost contact with each
          other. Archaeological finds of wood objects (as runners - jalas
          /medar) made of pine from east of the Ural mountains indicate
          how these people must have belonged to a hunting culture moving
          over very wide areas.
          Historical linguists believe that a major portion of Germanic
          loan words were injected into the Finnish vocabulary
          approximately 500 B.C. Before this, the Sámis and the Finns had
          split to constitute separate cultures.
          The Sámis and Finns probably split into distinct cultures
          already 6,000 years ago, when the Baltic Indo-European
          immigrants settled the coast and merged into the native
          Comb-Ceramic culture. Thus the coast became a separate
          ("Finnish") cultural zone with elements of both cultures,
          whereas the hunter-gatherers of the inland continued the
          traditional lifestyle and seem to have developed to the Sámi
          4,500 years ago animal husbandry was introduced by Baltic
          immigrants. (The first agriculture in Finland may also have
          been introduced by them, although no definite proof exists as
          of yet.)
          2,000 years ago the southern and western coasts were inhabited
          by people in close cultural contact with Scandinavia. The
          inland kept the contacts to the east. The similarity of the
          coastal bronze culture with that of Scandinavia is easily
          explained with cultural diffusion; there are no evidence of a
          conquest, and though much is similar, there are notable
          differences too. The continuity of culture from the neolithic
          (Kiukainen culture) is best shown in ceramics and stone tools,
          as well as some aspects of burial.
          During the "Roman Iron Age" (A.D. 1-400) evidences are
          convincing for a Baltic sea-farer culture connecting estuaries
          at Elbe (west for Jutland) and Vistula (at Gdansk) with
          Finland, Estonia and Sweden. People began to bury deceased in
          rich graveyards. The culture spread inland to Tavastia and
          Ostrobothnia. Fur trading peaked, wealth increased and maybe a
          new surge of immigrants arrived. In any case: Åland was
          colonized by Germanics from Sweden and has remained
          (culturally) Swedish ever since. The Åland population stood in
          close contact with the people along the Finnish coast from
          Ostrobothnia in north to Hanko in east.
          Later during the first millennium the West-Finnish culture
          spread to Karelia, around Lake Ladoga, where an independent
          culture arose.
          At Viking age three distinct Finnish cultures can be
          identified: In Karelia, in Tavastia and in Varsinais-Suomi
          ("Finland proper" i.e. later Turku fief). In these three
          provinces there is believed to have existed regents or
          governors comparable to those among Germanic tribes; leading
          cult, big game hunting, defense and military expeditions. Finns
          are not believed to have launched Viking raids outside the
          Baltic. But nothing certain is known.
          Southern Ostrobothnia was inhabited by people in close contact
          with the Scandinavians. The culture of Southern Ostrobothnia
          certainly had strong Scandinavian flavor, but there are no
          graves of Swedish types such as one finds on Åland, nor has
          Swedish ceramics been found. It's rather obvious that the
          "Scandinavization" of Southern Ostrobothnia in the migration
          period is due to trade contacts - the inhabitants were Finns
          (possibly the Kvæns mentioned in the sagas). The area becomes
          depopulated by 800 A.D., probably because of changes in trade
          routes (the eastern trade being now conducted through the Gulf
          of Finland).
          The northern shores of the Gulf of Finland were for unknown
          reasons uninhabited - at least no archaeological traces have
          been found. The Vikings did not like to lose the sight of land
          while sailing, and used to camp each night, why one must assume
          that the Gulf's shores were (at least) free from enemies of the
          The Vikings are known for their assimilation in the cultures
          along their trading routes. It's probable that Vikings settled
          also at Finnish shores and estuaries, married Finns, learned
          the language, and got Finnish children who after a few
          generations had no affiliation what-so-ever with their
          outlandish heritage.
          Particularly in Karelia it is known (or sooner: believed) to
          have existed Viking trading posts, which became assimilated or
          alienated to the original Viking culture in Novgorod, Uppland,
          Gotland or wherever they had come from. The town of Staraja
          Ladoga was a Viking stronghold, for instance. A Viking type
          (but Tavastian) trade station has in recent years been
          excavated in the heart of Tavastia, in Varikkoniemi.
          Finland's trade with the Vikings have left evidences as rich
          findings of Arabic silver coins, indicating Finland to have
          prospered as much as Scandinavia from the eastern trade.
          Linguistic similarities suggest that Gotland is the Germanic
          province which have been the greatest contributor to Swedish
          settlements in Finland, and Gotland is also the province were
          two thirds of Sweden's Viking time coins have been found; but
          no written sources support this theory. (Except for the
          Visby-bishops' great interest in supporting the Finnish
          colleagues against pagans and Russians in the 12th and 13th
          In early medieval time the eastern Christian Church extended
          its influence to Novgorod, Karelia and Tavastia. The energetic
          bishop Thomas (1220-45) extended the Finnish Catholic diocese
          to Tavastia, probably with armed assistance in the 1230s from
          the German Brethren of the Sword. His death was followed by a
          pagan rebellion in Tavastia.
          With Earl Birger (Birger Jarl), Sweden's virtual leader
          1248-66, the Tavastian rebellion was defeated, the Finnish
          bishopric was put under Sweden, and the German presence in
          Finland limited to Hanseatic merchants. A strong castle was
          built in Tavastia; And Uusimaa /Nyland along the Gulf of
          Finland was colonized by Swedish "crusaders".
          At the end of the 13th century the Catholic Church's control in
          the Baltic sea region had increased, as Danes and Germans
          occupied the Baltic countries and Swedish magnates extended the
          Swedish realm along the Gulf of Finland to Viipuri /Viborg.
          The Finns are sometimes pictured as weak victims of foreign
          coercion. This is not entirely true. The Finns were expanding
          tribes who extended their areas continuously by clearing of
          woods, and sometimes by colonization of rich soil far away, as
          in Karelia and along the Kemi and Tornio rivers. These areas
          weren't uninhabited, but in fact belonged to the Sámi, whom the
          Finns (pirkkalaiset /birkarlar) taxed most brutally.
          Finns were successful in colonizing the inland (inland rivers,
          inland sea shores and inland woods), but maybe less interested
          in long journeys in big boats. Is it a coincidence that Finns
          still today are less of flock followers than our neighbor
  4.3.4 Finland in the Swedish realm
          [ see also the sections 7.3.3 - 7.3.5 in the Swedish part of
          the faq. ]
          During early medieval time fief after fief in Finland came to
          be governed by Swedish magnates. First around Turku /Åbo, then
          farther and farther into the country. The peasantry seems to
          have had a judicial organization with "Things" similar to that
          in the rest of Norden. It is unclear if the Thing also had
          pre-Christian religious functions.
          Sweden's colonization of Finland is often connected to "the
          First Crusade" (1155) led by the English bishop Henry and the
          Swedish king Erik. By this time Finland was, however, already
          mostly Christian so the real motivations of the "crusade" are
          obscure. SW Finland appears to have been allied with central
          Sweden already in the Viking age, so it has been hypothesized
          that the campaign was a punitive expedition against an ally
          that had become unreliable, perhaps because of the influence of
          Greek Orthodox missionaries. It's also disputed if the First
          Crusade really was a historical event. In due time, Finland
          becomes an integral part of the kingdom of Sweden.
          Year 1323 Finland's border is for the first time fixed in the
          peace in Pähkinäsaari at lake Ladoga. The Swedish government
          supported the Church, and tithes were enforced. On February
          15th, 1362, the provinces in Finland can be said to have been
          officially acknowledged as equal parts of the realm under
          Swedish crown as the national law now was enforced in all parts
          of the realm, and Finland was represented at the election of
          king. (King Håkon of Norway was elected king also of Sweden.)
          During the following Kalmar Union, Finland plays a rather
          independent role. Viipuri fief became increasingly important as
          the Muscovite realm expanded. The clergy, including the
          bishops, has Finnish names and the magnates with estates in
          southern Finland come to play a strong part in the power-play
          between the Danish Union-king and the Swedish State Council.
          The most important positions - such as those of governors -
          were often held by men from the highest nobility, with its
          roots and base in Svealand (or Götaland).
          After Novgorod had been conquered by Moscow 1471 the situation
          became worse with skirmishes, sieges and small wars.
          At Gustav Vasa's rebellion in Svealand it was unclear whether
          the provinces in Finland would remain in the Union or not. The
          Union-king's connection with Moscow was probably the crucial
          reason to why the nobility in Finland took Gustav Vasa's side.
          All of the 16th century was marked by continuous conflicts with
          Moscow. But Finland thereby also became a prioritized part of
          the realm. The Vasa princes were taught Finnish, prince Johan
          was given an enlarged Turku fief as duchy, and the Finnish
          nobility made careers in the civil service - and in the wars
          with Russia. Viipuri was established as Finland's second
          bishopric beside Turku.
          In the national conflicts and civil wars the Finnish nobility
          supported the legal kings (Erik XIV & Sigismund), and not the
          opponents duke Johan & duke Karl, with the consequence that
          many lost their lands and/or their heads when duke Karl had
          become king Karl IX.
          The civil war between duke Karl and king Sigismund led to a
          peasant rebellion in central Finland, the so called Cudgel War.
          Manipulated by the usurper duke Karl, Finnish peasantry
          uprises, prompted by the worsened living conditions. After
          short-lived success, the poorly armed peasants are brutally
          defeated by the troops of Klaus Fleming, a Finnish aristocrat,
          regent of Finland and the commander-in-chief (riksmarsk) for
          Sweden, who opted for an extended union with Poland and
          During the 17th century the nobility in Finland accepts the
          succeeding Swedish king Gustav II Adolf. Karelia (Kexholm's
          län) is now incorporated as another Finnish province. The
          followers of Russian Orthodox faith in the occupied Karelia and
          Ingria are persecuted, and many flee to the Russian side of the
          border. After that (during internal turbulence in Russia),
          peace is to prevail at Finland's borders until year 1700.
          The 17th century is therefore remembered as a good time for
          Finland. 1637-54 count Per Brahe worked as governor for the
          Finnish provinces taking initiative to many important
          improvements and reliefs for the war-pestered land, and Finnish
          troops became feared in the 30 Years' War. Lots of new baronies
          were granted in reward (to be retracted anew in 1680).
          But the 17th century was also the era when Sweden directed its
          interest to the south. Gotland and the Scanian provinces were
          conquered, as were also large areas on the European continent.
          1696-98 the crops failed and the population was reduced by a
          third. Then followed Karl XII's failed war with Russian
          occupation, much suffering and loss of southern Karelia with
          Viipuri and the Karelian isthmus. At the Gulf of Finland, in
          the conquered Ingria, a new town was founded and made capital
          for all of Russia - St. Petersburg.
          The 18th century meant both repeated wars with Russia and a
          marked increase of population. Politicians from Finland often
          played a leading role during the Parliamentarian times:
          + Count Arvid Horn is chancellor 1721-38;
          + In the end of the century, Gustav Mauritz Armfelt from
            Halikko became the leading councillor at Gustav III - and
            then later the Russian emperor's chief-councillor for Finnish
          + The campaign for freedom of press (and
            "offentlighetsprincipen") in the Swedish realm was for
            instance led by the Finnish priest Anders Chydenius.
          [ Anders Chydenius is also dedicated a www-server at
          <> honoring his publication National
          Profit & Loss from the year 1765. This book is a perfect
          example of how "new" ideas often get discovered independently
          by several persons at the same time. Adam Smith did not read
          Swedish, and could not know of Chydenius' work as he eleven
          years later wrote The Wealth of Nations with by and large the
          same content. ]
          The Finnish language, which had been neglected during the 17th
          century, now begins to gain ground (very slowly!) in the
          "official" sphere. The parliament grants tax reliefs to the
          Finnish provinces pestered by the wars with Russia.
          The opinion among the educated classes in Finland shifts slowly
          toward a pro-Russian stand, which ultimately results in
          distrust for the kings Gustav III and Gustav IV Adolf. The
          upper class is mentally well prepared for an annexion to Russia
          at the Russian attack in February 1809. However, the peasantry
          is not, and the distrust between the commoners and the masters

[ the sections above are available at the www-page ]

  4.3.5 Finland as a Russian Grand Duchy
          The time as a Grand-Duchy under the Russian Emperor is
          generally regarded as very good times for Finland.
          Finland enjoys an economic autonomy, the taxes from Finland are
          spent in Finland. Finland gets a National Bank of its own, a
          currency of its own, and a customs service of its own.
          Finland also gets a Civil Service of its own, and in all
          aspects a more independent position then she had had as one of
          many parts in the Swedish realm. (The position of Finland in
          the Swedish realm is sometimes compared to the present-day
          position of Norrland.)
          The Russian interest to draw Finland apart from Sweden, and to
          thereby make a re-conquest less likely, led to reforms which
          gradually promoted the use of Finnish language -  explicit
          expressions of nationalism were repressed, however.
          Between 1863 and 1902, the status of the Finnish language in
          the Civil Service was gradually equalized with that of the
          Swedish language.
          The 19th century was also the time when scholars and scientists
          in Finland began to be identified as Finns (and not Swedes) by
          the surrounding world. For the self-esteem of the Finns it was
          of particular importance that prominent scientists (such as for
          instance family of geologists Nordenskiöld and the family of
          zoologists von Wright of which Magnus von Wright, became famous
          for his outstanding zoological paintings) were working at the
          University of Helsinki.
          From year 1869, the Parliament was to be regularly summoned
          every fifth year, although briefly 1899-1905 the Parliament was
          given a subordinate role in the legislative process as a step
          in the Russian policy of tying Finland closer to Russia. Until
          Russia's defeat by Japan in 1905 the situation in Finland
          remains very tense. Then the decree from 1899 is revoked, and
          common suffrage, equal for all men and women, is enacted in
          The Social Democrats get a strong, bordering to very strong,
          position in the Parliament, but the Left loses its confidence
          in democracy as discussions and compromises with Liberals
          and/or Conservatives turn out to give very poor results.
          Furthermore: the Russian representative uses his power to close
          the Parliament to hinder radical reforms.
          At the end of the first World War, the educated classes in
          Finland were (like those in Sweden) heavily oriented towards
          Germany. During the war, a number of Finnish men (mainly young
          and mainly of the educated classes, with pro-German and
          right-wing views) have secretly fled to Germany to receive
          military education, training and experience.
  4.3.6 The independence of Finland
          As the political situation in Russia gets increasingly chaotic
          after the revolutions in 1917, Finland prepares for liberation.
          ...or sooner: the Conservative farmers and the educated class
          prepare for Independence. The agrarian and urban proletarians,
          inspired by the October Revolution in Russia, instead prepare
          for a World Revolution. Strikes, riots and shootouts occur in
          several cities and towns; as well as some widely-publicized
          The former organized so-called Security Corps - the latter Red
          As Finland's parliament declares Finland a sovereign state on
          December 6th 1917, the "Security Corps" claim status as the
          national army, and the polarity between the Corps and the Red
          Militia aggravates further.
          (The Åland Islands try to become independent too - from
          Finland! - but fail to achieve this.)
          According to a revoked law from 1878, a compulsory military
          service is introduced, and the remaining Russian troops are
          required to leave. As they don't, they are disarmed by the
          National Army. This triggers the mobilization of the Red
          Militias of southern Finland against the "White" government at
          the end of January 1918.
          The Civil War lasts only three months, but is both bitter and
          bloody. Initially, southern Finland (with a majority of the
          country's population and its major urban centers) is controlled
          by the Red Militias, while the White government controls the
          predominantly agrarian northern and central provinces.
          Eventually, the White side defeats the Red, aided by
          volunteering officers from Sweden (8,000 man) and Norway
          (700 man), Finnish officers from the Czar's army, the Finnish
          officers educated in Germany and additionally also military
          support from Germany. Some 30,000 people (out of 3 mill.
          population) die as a result of the war; when the Red fronts
          collapse at end of April, the Militia leaders go underground or
          flee to Russia; tens of thousands of rank-and-file surrendered
          militia troops, male and female, are placed in prison camps.
          Several thousands are executed. At end of May 1918, General
          Mannerheim receives the White victory parade in Helsinki.
          The Civil War is followed by enhanced orientation toward
          Germany, and a German prince is proposed to become king of
          Finland. As Germany loses the World War, this alternative
          becomes politically unrealistic.
  4.3.7 Wars with the Soviet Union

This section is not yet written

But, hei!

Angela writes:

> I need to know for school why that a high percentage
> of Jewish people survived in Finland.

Hiski Haapoja replies:
   Because the Finnish government didn't give in to German demands to
          deport them. The only known case is 8 Central European
          refugees, one of whom survived.
  4.3.8 Finland after the wars

This section is not yet written

[ the sections above are available at the www-page ]


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