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FINLAND

Places where I visited:

Helsinki

I was in Finland for more than a week, because my brother was studying an Erasmus internship in Helsinki and I took advantage to visit him. I enjoy a lot there. If you go there you have to go to the saunas and to the bars in the center, there are a lot and you can find people everyday. I recommend you to check the weather before go there because is really cold.














Finland, officially the Republic of Finland, is a Nordic country situated in Northern Europe. It has borders with Sweden to the west, Russia to the east, and Norway to the north, while Estonia lies to its south across the Gulf of Finland. The capital city is Helsinki.

Around 5.3 million people reside in Finland, with the majority concentrated in the southern part of country. It is the eighth largest country in Europe in terms of area and the most sparsely populated country in the European Union. Most Finns are native in Finnish, which is related to Estonian and is one of the few official EU languages not of Indo-European origin. The largest minority language, Swedish, is spoken natively by 5.5 percent of the population. Finland is a democratic, parliamentary republic with a central government and local governments in 415 municipalities. Greater Helsinki (including Helsinki, Espoo, and Vantaa) totals a million residents and a third of the GDP. Other major cities include Tampere, Turku, and Oulu.

Finland was historically part of Sweden and from 1809 an autonomous Grand Duchy within the Russian Empire. Finland's declaration of independence in 1917 from Russia was followed by a civil war, wars against the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany, and a period of official neutrality during the Cold War. Finland joined the European Union in 1995 and participates in the Eurozone.

Finland has seen excellent results in many international comparisons of national performance such as the share of high-technology manufacturing, the rate of gross domestic product growth, and the protection of civil liberties.

According to archaeological evidence, the area now composing Finland was first settled around 8500 BCE during the Stone Age as the ice shield of the last ice age receded. The earliest people were hunter-gatherers, living primarily off what the tundra and sea could offer. Pottery is known from around 5300 BCE (see Comb Ceramic culture).The arrival of the Battle Axe culture (or Cord-Ceramic culture) in southern coastal Finland around 3200 BCE may have coincided with the start of agriculture. However, the earliest certain records of agriculture are from the late third millennium BCE. Even with the introduction of agriculture, hunting and fishing continued to be important parts of the subsistence economy, especially in the northern and eastern parts of the country.

The Bronze Age (1500–500 BCE) and Iron Age (500 BCE – 1200 CE) were characterised by extensive contacts with other cultures in the Fennoscandian and Baltic regions. There is no consensus on when Finno-Ugric languages and Indo-European languages were first spoken in the area of contemporary Finland.

The first verifiable written documents appeared in the 12th century.

Sweden established its official rule of Finland in the 13th century. Swedish became the dominant language of the nobility, administration and education; Finnish was chiefly a language for the peasantry, clergy and local courts in predominantly Finnish-speaking areas. The Bishop of Turku was the most socially pre-eminent person in Finland before the Reformation.

During the Reformation, the Finns gradually converted to Lutheranism. In the 16th century, Mikael Agricola published the first written works in Finnish. The first university in Finland, The Royal Academy of Turku, was established in 1640. In the 18th century, wars between Sweden and Russia led to the occupation of Finland twice by Russian forces, known to the Finns as the Greater Wrath (1714–1721) and the Lesser Wrath (1742–1743). By this time Finland was the predominant term for the whole area from the Gulf of Bothnia to the Russian border.


On March 29, 1809, after being conquered by the armies of Alexander I of Russia in the Finnish War, Finland became an autonomous Grand Duchy in the Russian Empire until the end of 1917. During the Russian era, the Finnish language started to gain recognition. From the 1860s onwards, a strong Finnish nationalist movement, known as the Fennoman movement, grew. Milestones included the publication of what would become Finland's national epic, the Kalevala, in 1835, and the Finnish language achieving equal legal status with Swedish in 1892.

The Finnish famine of 1866–1868 killed 15 percent of the population, making it the last and one of the worst famines in European history. The famine led the Russian Empire to ease financial regulations, and investment rose in following decades. Economic and political development was rapid. The GDP per capita was still a half of United States and a third of Great Britain.

In 1906, universal suffrage was adopted in the Grand Duchy of Finland. However, the relationship between the Grand Duchy and the Russian Empire soured when the Russian government made moves to restrict Finnish autonomy. For example, the universal suffrage was, in practice, virtually meaningless, since the emperor did not have to approve any of the laws adopted by the Finnish parliament. Desire for independence gained ground, first among radical nationalists and socialists.

On December 6, 1917, shortly after the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia, Finland declared its independence, which was approved by Bolshevist Russia.

Months after in 1918, the violent wing of the Social Democratic Party started a coup, which led a brief but bitter civil war that affected domestic politics for many decades afterwards. The civil war was fought between "the Whites", who were supported by Imperial Germany, and "the Reds", supported by Bolshevist Russia. Eventually, the Whites overcame the Reds. The deep social and political enmity between the Reds and Whites remained. The civil war and activist expeditions (see Heimosodat) to the Soviet Union strained Eastern relations.

After a brief flirtation with monarchy, Finland became a presidential republic, with Kaarlo Juho Ståhlberg elected as its first president in 1919. The Finnish–Russian border was determined by the Treaty of Tartu in 1920, largely following the historic border but granting Pechenga (Finnish: Petsamo) and its Barents Sea harbour to Finland. Finnish democracy didn't see any more Soviet coup attempts and survived the anti-Communist Lapua Movement. The relationship between Finland and the Soviet Union was tense. Finnish ethnicity was targeted by genocides in the Soviet Union. Germany's Nazism led to a deterioration of relations with Germany. Military was trained in France instead and relations to Western Europe and Sweden were strengthened.

In 1917 the population was 3 million. Credit-based land reform was enacted after the civil war, increasing the proportion of capital-owning population. About 70% of workers were occupied in agriculture and 10% in industry. The largest export markets were the United Kingdom and Germany. The Great Depression in the early 1930s was relatively light in Finland.


Finland political map:

Finland location map: March 2007

1 comment:

Ippuska said...

Great knowledge and information! Best greetings from in Helsinki born Ritva :)


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