Mesolithic Age (7300-4200 BC)
Finland's oldest stone-age finds belong to the Mesolithic
Suomusjärvik culture. The oldest settlement, Ristola in
Lahti, with a flint inventory with counterparts in the
Baltic customer culture, can be dated to the preboreal
period (c. 8000 BC), as well as the Antra nets. however, the
majority belong to the boreal stage. The settlements have
been on the sea shore, and the population has been feeding
on hunting and fishing as well as the collection of
vegetable products. The hunt initially included moose,
beaver and seal; later the seals completely dominated. New
finds from Kainuu and Lapland show that similar early
settlements also occurred on the lakes. The implements were
made of quartz (compare ash culture)) and eruptive rocks;
bone and horn objects have not been preserved, so our view
of the Stone Age material culture is rather one-sided. The
dead were covered with red sugar and laid in simple pit pits
at the place of residence.
Neolithic times (4200-1500 BC)
During the early and middle-political period (c.
4200–2000 BC), Finland belonged to the Camaric cultural
circle, which extends from the Arctic Ocean in the north to
Wisła in the south and Ural in the east. Settlements with
round tributaries and richly equipped tombs, colored with
red sugar, occur in Finland both on the coast and on the
lake plateau. The ceramic, which can sometimes be skimmed
with asbestos, consists of large round-bottomed storage
vessels with geometric decor ornamented with pits and
patterns from a comb-like instrument. Flinta, which does not
exist in Finland, was imported from Valdaj in northwestern
Russia and amber from the southeastern coast of the Baltic
Sea. The finds also include grinded stone axes, slate
jewelery, reef sinks, anthropomorphic clay figures and
animal headgear of stone. Hunting and fishing still
constituted the main industries, which were practiced in the
context of seasonal hikes. A number of wooden objects and
timbers made of log numbers, which do not grow west of Ural,
show that hunting trips were undertaken over vast areas. The
end of the period is dominated in southwestern Finland by
the yacht culture (c. 2500–2000 BC), the northeastern
foothold of a large cultural spread throughout Europe, and
in the country's inner parts by local asbestos ceramic
groups, which still exist during Late Politics. The yacht
culture is characterized by well-sharpened battle axes and a
snow-capped pottery as well as one-man tombs, in which the
dead were buried in squatting. The changes in the material
culture did not mean any interruption in population
continuity; influences from the camp ceramic culture can be
traced even in the Late Native period.
The first sporadic traces of grain cultivation occur
during the period of Late political kiwi culture (c.
2000–1500 BC). The most important settlements are located in
Uusimaa, Southwest Finland, Satakunda and southern
Ostrobothnia. See abbreviationfinder for geography, history, society, politics, and economy of Finland. The economy continued to be dominated by seal
hunting and fishing, but the location of the settlements
also indicates a certain degree of stability and the fact
that livestock management was practiced. The stone objects
and the ceramics can be derived partly from the pottery, and
partly from the boat culture. The Kiukai culture has a clear
maritime character with connections both to Sweden and to
the Baltic States. In the country's northern and inner
parts, the asbestos ceramic tradition continued. The
majority of the country's roughly 50 rock paintings belong
to Late Neolithic times and the Bronze Age.
The Bronze Age (1500–500 BC)
The two cultural areas that can be observed during the
end of the Stone Age also appear during the Bronze Age.
Relations between the coastal zone and Scandinavia were
strengthened, while the country was in contact with Central
and East German Bronze Age cultures. The most visible
monuments of the Bronze Age are the excavation burials,
which during the older Bronze Age were built on high
mountains but during the latter part of the period in less
dominant places; the tomb form is Scandinavian. Settlements
are rare. At the Otterböte on Kökar, Åland, the remains of a
hunting camp with rounded bottoms have been investigated and
in the Rieskaronmäki in Nakkila, Satakunda, the remains of a
longhouse. The majority of the Bronze Age metal objects are
imported from Scandinavia, but examples of domestic
metallurgy also exist, especially in the country's interior
and northern parts. The coastal zone's ceramics are partly
reflected in domestic models, on the one hand, one finds
influence from the Lausitz culture in eastern Central
Europe. The new tomb shape, the import items and the depot
finds indicate a Scandinavian move in, whose scope, however,
should have been limited.
The Iron Age (500 BC – 1150/1300 AD)
Settlements from the pre-Roman Iron Age (until Kr.f.) are
found all over the country. On the coast between eastern
Uusimaa and southern Ostrobothnia, on the lake plateau and
north of the Ule River there are different, characteristic
ceramic groups. Within a southern group, whose clay vessels
can be derived from the Bronze Age ceramics of the coast,
the agricultural industries quickly gained entry as a
supplement to the catch, which also applies to a group on
the lake plateau. Iron was extracted from sea and marsh
ores; relations with the northern Baltic countries were
lively. Since the settlements and finds of houses are
extremely rare, the grave finds appear to be the most
important source of our knowledge of the Iron Age society.
During the older Roman Iron Age (Kr.f. – 200), the
settlement was located to the river valleys on the coast
between Porvoo and the Kumo River and to southern
Ostrobothnia; the estuaries offered good pastures and
connecting routes to the lake plateau. Among the burial
fields, there are single northern Estonian tomb graves as
well as urn burials with parallels in Scandinavia and the
Wisła area, in addition to fire graves in soil-mixed
cuttings, the latter with Bronze Age traditions. The ancient
material is generally Baltic types with elements of Germanic
forms, while Roman imports are insignificant. During the
younger Roman Iron Age (200–400), the settlement stretched
along the Kumo River to Tavastland, at the same time as the
Ostrobothnian settlement was consolidated.
During the migration period (400–600), the settlements
expanded in Southwest Finland, Satakunda and southern
Ostrobothnia, and in central Tavastland, to reach parishes
east of Päijänne during the period. The oldest burial field
on the Karelian nose is from the end of the Meroving period
(600–800). During the migration period, burial tombs were
common, but during the Meroving period they were replaced,
except in Ostrobothnia, by fire pit fields under flat
ground, a tomb that does not exist outside Finland. In lower
Satakunda, e.g. Luistari in Eura, on the other hand, used
large skeleton tomb fields, which were in use until the end
of the Viking Age. In Åland, the dead were buried in piles;
the tomb shape as well as the population originated from
central Sweden, but especially in the women's tombs you find
plenty of Finnish jewelry. From the fact that the ancient
population of older people in the Iron Age was characterized
by Baltic forms, its Scandinavian elements grew from the
time of migration. During Merovingian times, however, a
number of purely domestic forms of objects were also
During the Viking Age (800–1050), a prosperous peasant
society developed, which had extensive trade relations and
participated in the boom of the time. In Ostrobothnia,
however, the development seems to have undergone a crisis;
the archaeological finds after the year 800 are extremely
sparse. In southwestern Finland, the dead were burnt
unburned from the beginning of the 11th century, but the
graves still contain plenty of objects. The new custom
undoubtedly reveals the influence of Christianity, but
completely barren tombs are only found during the first half
of the 12th century. In Savolax and Karelia, which exhibited
a flourishing peculiar culture during the 12th and 13th
centuries, skeletal tombs exist; Christianity, however, was
first adopted in the 1300s. However, occasional pagan tombs
still existed in many places. Finland's youngest prehistoric
period, crusade time,
The fate of Finland during historical times has been
marked by the country's position between east and west, in
state terms between on the one hand Sweden, on the other,
Novgorod, the Grand Duchy of Moscow, the Empire of Russia
and the Soviet Union. In religious terms, Finland has been
on the border line between the Western, Catholic, later
Lutheran Church and the Orthodox Church, in geopolitical,
economic and cultural terms between Stockholm and Saint
Petersburg / Leningrad. Although the Western influence
dominated and Finland was early incorporated into the
Western cultural sphere, the border setting and the
influences from the East played a central role in the
country's history. Another factor that characterized
Finland's history is the country's location at a cultivation
border, which has shifted northward over the centuries.
As Finland became part of the Swedish state, during the
next six centuries, the country came to have a common
national history with Sweden. Finland was an integral part
of the empire; the Finns had the same rights and obligations
as the subjects west of the Gulf of Bothnia. In Håkan
Magnusson's election to the King in 1362 was attended by
representatives from Finland, and then the Finns were
represented equally at ständermöten and parliaments. The
national and city laws were applied in Finland, as was the
law of 1734, which in many respects remained in force for
longer in Finland than in Sweden. Finland was essentially
managed in the same way as Sweden; Gustav Vasas and the
administrative reforms of the great power meant a
centralization, and at the same time regional features in
administration and taxation disappeared.
The meaning of the term Finland has varied during
different times. Originally, it was primarily the latter of
the later historical landscape of Southwest Finland
(Turku Castle County), while the areas east of the Gulf of
Bothnia were collectively referred to as Österlanden (party
orientales). This term eventually came out of use
during the Middle Ages, but the demarcation of the area
named Finland varied. Åland belonged to the diocese of Turku
and was counted as the Eastern countries.
Ostrobothnia, which administratively formed a unit with
areas west of the Gulf of Bothnia, belonged to the diocese
of Turku. At the end of the Swedish era, the peninsula west
of the Kemi River was the administrative boundary between
Finland and Sweden. Finland, apparently Southern Finland, is
mentioned a few times during the Middle Ages as duchy, and
Duke Johan, later Johan III, held in 1556–63 Turku and
Kumogård counties as well as the county of Åland and
Raseborg. As king he adopted in 1581, to assert himself
against the Tsar in Moscow, the title of the great prince of
Finland and Karelia. At that time, Finland's lion arms were
also created, which are still state arms. The title of Grand
Prince of Finland was included in the Swedish King's title
until 1809, when Finland became a Grand Principality in the
Russian Empire and thus for the first time a separate
political unit with clearly defined boundaries.
Its first border with the east was granted to the Swedish
kingdom and thus Finland through the Nöteborg Treaty in
1323. The then-determined border ran from the Karelian nose
to north-west to central Finland, according to an
interpretation further out in the Gulf of Bothnia, according
to another it was then not a border line in the modern
meaning without setting the outermost boundaries in the west
and east for the parties' right of use of the uninhabited
areas in the north, which were considered almost common.
After several wars, the border was displaced by the peace in
Teusina in 1595 east and north as far as the Arctic Ocean.
Through the peace in Stolbova in 1617, the Swedish empire
reached its greatest extent in the east by conquering
Ingermanland and Kexholm counties. These areas were regarded
as conquered provinces and were not counted as the core
areas of the kingdom; for example, they were not represented
in the Riksdag. Through the peace in Nystad in 1721 and
Turku in 1743, Sweden departed from the conquered provinces
and Viborg county as well as part of Kymmenegård county.
When some of these areas, from a Russian perspective called
Old Finland, were united with the Grand Principality in
1812, the boundaries were created which, after border
adjustments in 1826 and 1833-49, with minor changes, applied
to the Second World War.
During certain periods during the 1500s, 1600s and 1700s,
the eastern parliament had a special governor, governor or
Previously, the research dated the immigration of Finns
from the south and southeast to the centuries around the
beginning of our era, but today a much longer population
continuity is expected with elements from east and west.
Through Swedish immigration in the 1100s and 1200s, coherent
Swedish settlement areas arose along the coast of
Ostrobothnia, Southwest Finland and Uusimaa, and a language
barrier emerged that remained relatively stable until the
1800s. The Swedish-speaking population is said to have
reached just under 20 percent during the Great Power period,
it was 14 percent in 1880 and is 6 percent today. The last
century has resulted in a significant Finnish move into the
In historical times, Finland has been characterized by a
continuous development of expansion, mainly from the
south-west and south-east, and which has spread to the
population throughout present-day Finland. The building
expansion continued until the post-war period, and did not
cease until the 1950s. The population amounted to about
400,000 in 1721 but increased due to rapid population growth
to 1.8 million. 1870. At the turn of the century, Finland's
population was 2.6 million; in 1989, 4.97 million; Finland
was urbanized late, and in the mid-18th century, only 5–6
percent of the population lived in cities. It was not until
the end of the 19th century that Helsinki grew into a
population center for Finland, while the country previously
devoted population to surrounding metropolises such as
Tallinn, Stockholm and Saint Petersburg.
Following Swedish immigration during the Middle Ages,
migration has mainly resulted in the spread of the
population to the inland and population losses through
emigration to surrounding areas, which has resulted in
Finnish minorities in neighboring countries. The Savolaxian
settlement expansion during the 16th and 16th centuries was
mainly based on efficient burning and spreading Savolaxic
population in large parts of the interior of Finland, across
the national border to the east and to the Finnmarks in
Sweden and Norway.
During the 1600s, Finland also relocated to the south
through emigration to Estonia and eastward because a large
part of the Orthodox Karelians in Northern Karelia, Kexholm
County and Ingermanland fled to Russia (cross-breeders) and
were replaced by Finns from the west.
During the 19th century, an emigration from northern
Finland to the Arctic coast (women's) took place. To North
America, about 400,000 people emigrated from the mid-19th
century to 1930. From the 1950s, a large emigration to
Sweden took place; it culminated around 1970 and brought
nearly half a million Finns to Sweden.
Compared to emigration, immigration to Finland has been
relatively small. The civilian Russian population during the
19th century was small and its share the lowest in any of
the Russian Empire's peripheral areas. At the beginning of
the independence period, Finland received over 30,000
refugees from Russia. The Second World War resulted in a
large redistribution of the population of Finland, when more
than 400,000 people, 12 percent of the country's population,
were evacuated from the areas that were withdrawn to the
Soviet Union. Of the Finns who emigrated to Sweden after the
Second World War, about 200,000 have returned to Finland.
THE MIDDLE AGES
Finland is mentioned for the first time on Swedish rune
stones and in Russian chronicles from the 12th century.
Finland was incorporated into the Swedish state through
conquest trains. Traditionally, three crusades are expected.
The first, whose historicity is uncertain, must have been
undertaken in south-western Finland by Erik the Holy and
English-born Bishop Henrik of Uppsala, later the patron
saint of Finland, in the mid-1100s. The second was made in
1239 to Tavastland by Earl Birger and the third to Karelia
in 1293 by Marshal Torgils Knutsson. Church organization
during the Middle Ages is discussed above in the section
The secular administration took a firmer form in the
latter half of the 13th century, when Turku, Tavastehus and
Viborg's castle counties were organized. Later, new counties
were added around Kumogård, Porvoo, Raseborg, Kastelholm and
Korsholm. At times, several of the counties were gathered
under the chiefs at Turku and Viborg Castle.
The different landscapes originally formed different
jurisdictions with their own things and a Swedish-influenced
customary law, which from the middle of the 1300s was
replaced by the national law. By the end of the Middle Ages,
over 90 percent of the apartments in Finland were tax land.
This, together with the important connections across the
sea, meant that the Finnish castle countries, especially
Turku and Viborg, came to play a role in the hands of
powerful great men. Bo Jonsson (Grip) was the lawman in the
East and began to strengthen the citizens of Finland in the
1370s. Karl Knutsson (Farmer) held, among others, Viborg,
Raseborg and Tavastehus, while Erik Axelsson Tott
strengthened the dominant role of the Axel Sons in the
kingdom through their holding of Viborg and Tavastehus
castle counties. The most important castles were usually
granted to major men from Sweden, but also the domestic
low-relief earned the crown both within the administration
and in the war system.
The cities were few and relatively insignificant in
medieval Finland. The most important were Turku and Viborg,
which emerged from marketplaces in the protection of the
krona's citizens. Among the bourgeoisie, the German element
was strong in ancient times, while the Swedish element was
reinforced during the Middle Ages. The most important
commodities from Finland were fish, hides, fur mills, butter
and salt, while salt from Germany was the most important
import. Trade took place just as much through a lively
peasant regulation as through the cities.
By the end of the 1400s, relations with Moscow were
becoming increasingly tense, mainly because of the unclear
boundary conditions. The Savolaxis eventually expanded
eastward into what they regarded as their old landmarks.
After long periods of constant border conflict, the Russians
besieged Viborg in 1495 without failing to occupy the city.
A standstill was concluded in 1497, but the situation
The period 1523-1809
During the 16th century, Finland's importance within the
empire increased. Through Gustav Vasa's administrative
reforms, the castle counties and the coworkers in Finland
were tied closer to the krona. The war against Russia, which
with longer or shorter interruptions continued until the
peace in Stolbova in 1617, made Finland an important base
area. The conflicts continued to have their basis in the
conflicting interpretations of the Nöteborg Peace. After a
series of border interludes, war broke out in 1555. It ended
on old terms with the peace in Moscow in 1557, which however
left the border issue open.
In the mid-1500s, a purposeful colonization of the
outlying areas of northern Savolax and around Ule swamp was
carried out. The colonization was led by the bailiffs at
Olofsborg, founded in 1475 in violation of the Nöteborg
Treaty, and led to a permanent expansion of the Swedish
kingdom. A new war, in Finnish historical writing called the
Nordic Twenty-Five Years War, was started in 1570 by Johan
III. It ended in 1595 with the peace in Teusina.
The nobility in Finland gained importance during the 16th
century. The castle county was no longer given to members of
the high nobility from the Swedish parliament, but was
mostly managed by bailiffs from the low nobility in Finland.
The lower Savior also gained advancement opportunities
through the wars in the East and was won by military
service. At an early stage, the people of Finland were on
Gustav Vasa's side, as well as Erik XIV: in the conflict
with Duke Johan, who for a few years held a brilliant court
at Turku Castle.
The long wartime periods led to a strong increase in
taxes, discharge and other duties in Finland. Around 1590,
the war people recruited in Finland amounted to over 6,000
men. When the war people were not in the field, it was
placed in a fort camp to be maintained by the peasants.
This, as well as various abuses, created great
dissatisfaction, especially in the interior of Finland and
Salvation in Finland was led by Cleric Marshal Fleming
for defense policy reasons for a union with Poland and
therefore took a stand for Sigismund against Duke Karl, who
in turn could play on the strong dissatisfaction with the
war burdens that remained among the allies after the end of
the peace. The peasants in Ostrobothnia, northern Tavastland
and Savolax rose at the Duke's request in the winter of
1596–97 and marched south but were beaten by Fleming (the
club war). Only after Fleming's death was the Duke able to
suppress the resistance of salvation through two expeditions
in 1597 and 1599, which were followed by executions and
deductions. A reconciliation followed, and Gustav II Adolf
succeeded, among other things, at a standing meeting in
Helsinki in 1616, to finally eliminate the opposition to
Finland's salvation, from which he recruited many of his
commanders in the Polish and Russian wars and in the Thirty
The border demarcation after the Stolbov peace in 1617
spared Finland from major acts of war until the beginning of
the 18th century. At the same time, the war on the continent
and the land acquisitions from Denmark meant that the
national center of gravity was shifted to the southwest.
The Reformation was carried out with gentler hand and in
somewhat more conservative forms in Finland than in the rest
of Sweden, but the bishop's worldly power was broken and the
monasteries were revoked. Finland's reformer Michael
Agricola , through his translations of the catechesis,
religious texts and the New Testament, laid the foundation
for a Finnish written language. The entire Bible was
published in Finnish in 1642.
Finland was severely exhausted after the war, and the
national government therefore decided to send Per Brahe dy
to Finland as general governor (1637–41, 1648–54). He
undertook extensive inspection trips and took measures to
promote business and communications and shallow cities. He
also took the initiative for a university, the Turku
Academy, which was founded in 1640. The university took on a
central position as educational institution for Finland,
although many eastern rebels continued to apply to Uppsala.
The war led to a further strengthening of the nobility's
position, especially through extensive donations and
conferences of counties and liberals in Finland under Queen
Kristina. The reduction mitigated the threat to the
In the years 1696 and 1697, Finland suffered severe
malnutrition, which reduced the population by about a third.
The population catastrophe was followed by the Great Nordic
War of 1700–21, when Finland was occupied by Russian troops
(major victims). A stream of about 20,000 refugees, among
them, according to the government directive, most of the
officials and a large part of the priests, sought to cross
the sea from the Russian army and the occupation
administration. The peace in Nystad in 1721 meant a greatly
deteriorated defense position for Finland, at the same time
as the Russian capital had been relocated to the mouth of
the Nava river and the Russian fleet gained a base in
Kronstadt. The defense plans drawn up for the eastern
national government were not implemented for cost reasons.
During the attack of the hats 1741–43 (see Russian – Swedish
war) was repeated the Russian occupation (little victim).
After the peace settlement, measures were taken for
Finland. Tax relief was granted, the seat of the Viborg
diocese was relocated to Porvoo and Fredrikshamn replaced
Viborg as a staple city. Within the administration, the use
of Finnish was expanded in the laws and regulations that
affected the commonwealth; The 1734 law was printed in
Finnish in 1759.
After the war of the hats, special Finnish deputations
were appointed to submit proposals for the improvement of
the parliament. Due to the border shift, Degerby (older name
of Lovisa) had to replace Fredrikshamn as a staple for
Eastern Finland, but the new border separates large parts of
the interior of Finland from its former links with the
outside world. They were therefore financially directed
towards the Gulf of Bothnia, especially since the
Ostrobothnian cities in 1765 gained freedom of navigation
through the abolition of the bottom of the compulsory trade.
They became important export destinations for tar and
accounted for half of the Swedish kingdom's tar exports.
Shipbuilding was another important industry in Ostrobothnia.
Based on the 1747 defense plan, Finland's defense under
Augustin Ehrensvärd's leadership was strengthened by the
construction of Sveaborg, the largest building in Finland in
the 18th century, Svartholm (outside Lovisa) and the army
fleet. The nobility opposition within the army that
expressed itself in the Anjala Federation during the war of
1788–90 (see Russian – Swedishwar) was partly inspired by
officers who advocated Finnish separatism but derived their
main nourishment from the officers' dissatisfaction with the
conditions in the army and the failed warfare. The two
occupations during the 18th century had left uncertainty and
resignation regarding Sweden's ability to defend Finland,
which became evident during the Russian occupation in
1808–09, when the higher positions quickly adapted to the
new situation (see Finnish war).
During the 18th century, Finland's relative importance
within the empire grew both through the wars and through the
sharp increase in population, which from 1720 to 1809
increased Finland's share of the nation's population from 17
percent to 26 percent. During the Gustavian era, Finland
made significant material progress, including through the
Great Shift, which had been enacted in 1762, and significant
The Grand Duchy of 1809–1917
Through the peace in Fredrikshamn in September 1809,
Sweden left six counties, which did not form a political,
economic, or administrative unit, but which became so after
the union with Russia. Even before the end of the peace, a
farm day was held in Porvoo from March to July where
Alexander I mainly regulated the relations to his new
At this time, the Russian Empire did not constitute a
unitary state, but was composed of people and territories
with their own laws and special administration. Thus, it was
not exceptional for the Grand Duchy of Finland to have a
relatively extensive internal autonomy; a similar position
was also granted to the conquered Poland and Bessarabia at
the same time.
Earlier in Finland, the country day in Porvoo was
perceived as a binding state act between two largely equal
parties. In reality, the autocratic Russian emperor came to
Finland as conqueror. The stands, which were chosen
according to the Swedish parliamentary order, had an
advisory function. The emperor made only changes that were
necessary because of the new conditions and established the
country's religion, constitution and the privileges of the
The order established by Porvoo Farm and during the
following decades meant very big changes for Finland.
Because the laws remained largely unchanged, the Grand
Principality came to form a clearly separated part of the
empire with different laws, constitutional privileges and
social structure. "His Majesty the Emperor's subjects in
Finland" took a position that, in practice, though not
legally, came close to a separate citizenship, something
that Russians could only acquire through a process
reminiscent of naturalization.
At Porvoo Land Day, it was decided that the taxes
collected in Finland would be used within the country,
giving the Grand Principal financial autonomy. It was
emphasized from 1811 through its own state bank, which from
1863 had the right to issue its own coin, the Finnish soil.
Finland also had different customs tariffs and a tariff
limit against the empire.
Administrative autonomy was created through the
establishment of a separate central government for Finland.
Established in 1809, the Government Council, from the 1816
Imperial Senate, served as the nation's highest governing
body and as the highest court. In time, a series of central
government offices were added. They were subordinate to the
Senate Finance Department, which during the 19th century
developed into a government for Finland.
The governor-general, usually a civilian or military
Russian official, was the emperor's supreme representative
in Finland, chairman of the senate and, until the end of the
19th century, commander-in-chief of the Russian troops in
Finland. The presentation of the questions to the emperor
decisively was handled by a secretary of state (from 1834
the secretary of state), who until 1900 was a Finn and
assisted by a special office, the State Secretariat for
Finland in Saint Petersburg.
The administrative changes that took place after 1809
became of crucial importance for the history of Finland.
While the eastern parts of the Swedish empire were
previously managed from the government offices in Stockholm,
a management apparatus was now built, which gave Finland a
political existence and which during the period when the
country day was not convened became the center of political
life. The Grand Principality developed most of the
characteristics of a separate state formation, and with the
expansion of the administration and the differentiation of
society, an increasingly larger part of the Finnish affairs
in Finland was decided.
Outside the Finnish administration stood foreign policy
and foreign representation and defense, which were led by
the respective Russian authorities in Saint Petersburg. The
Finns had no direct influence on Russian foreign policy, and
Finland's defense was mainly handled by Russian troops,
whose strength during peacetime amounted to about 10,000 men
but multiplied during the Crimean War and the First World
War. However, during certain periods, Finland had its own
recruited or divided troops, and a special Finnish army was
created by the Military Service Act 1878, but it was
dissolved during the constitutional conflict in the early
The management system created after 1809 was sensitive to
conflicts and required loyalty and adaptation from the
Finnish side. In the long run, the delicate balance could
not be maintained, which was mainly due to the development
of Russia in the direction of a unified state, thereby
limiting and abolishing regional autonomy and special
administrations, including in Poland and the Baltic States.
The foreign policy threat Russia experienced from Germany in
the late 19th century accelerated the process. Developments
in Finland in the 19th century had again led to the
emergence of a national and state consciousness which
increasingly emphasized the country's peculiarities and that
its constitution was binding on the emperor.
The period of conversion favorable to Finland, which
characterized the first years under Russian rule, was soon
replaced during Alexander I's later years and during
Nicholas I by a stagnation period in political life. As the
country day did not meet, the country was governed by
regulations from a relatively small circle of officials,
whose guiding principle was to promote Finland's interests
through loyalty to Russia and a patriarchically-controlled
reconstruction work within the country.
Although most of it remained in Finland's internal life
earlier, the first decades under Russian rule meant a close
proximity to Russia. This was evident, among other things,
in the economic sphere, where Russia's share of Finland's
trade rose to about half in the middle of the century to
remain at this level until its end. The Russian market
played a major role for the emerging industry in Finland,
which, thanks to it, was able to build up capacity in
addition to the long unassuming domestic market. Large parts
of eastern Finland were drawn into the influx of Saint
Petersburg, and many Finns applied to Russia, especially to
Saint Petersburg and, within the nobility, to a career in
the army of the empire.
The measures to remove Finland from Sweden also included
the decision in 1812 to relocate the central administration
from Turku to Helsinki, which was built into a neoclassical
capital. After a devastating fire in Turku in 1827, the
university was also transferred to Helsinki. Thereafter, all
important national institutions, apart from the archbishop's
seat (the bishop of Turku became archbishop of Finland in
1817), concentrated in Helsinki.
The efforts to remove Finland from Sweden also included a
positive attitude to pronouncements of Finnish distinctive
character and to the Finnish language. Johan Ludvig
Runeberg's poetry, Elias Lönnrot's compilation of "Kalevala"
and Johan Vilhelm Snellmans publicity contributed to the
creation of a national identity and a sense of motherland.
In the same direction, measures were taken to promote the
Finnish language, which was prepared in the university -
with a professorship in 1850 - and on the school schedule.
During this period, the development of Finnish became a
modern normed cultural language for all areas of life.
However, the government was sensitive to all expressions of
popular nationalism and maintained a strict censorship. In
the aftermath of the revolutions in Europe, in 1850, the
publication of other printed articles in Finnish than
religious and economic literature was banned.
Political developments in Finland during the 19th century
were characterized by considerable stability and loyalty to
the empire, which was evident during the Crimean War, when
British and French fleets ravaged the coast of Finland. The
development of the Grand Principality was in marked contrast
to, for example, Poland, which rose repeatedly during the
19th century. At the same time as the Polish uprising in
1863, Finland's Land Day was convened for the first time
since 1809. The Land Day's summons was an element of the
reform policy initiated after the defeat of the Crimean War
and Alexander II.'s throne access. The reform policy
included municipal reforms in the countryside (1865) and in
the cities (1873) as well as a new church law (1869). The
communications were expanded through the Saima canal (1856),
which gave large parts of the lake system in eastern Finland
direct contact with the Gulf of Finland, and the railway to
Saint Petersburg (1870).
In the economic field, step-by-step freedom of business
was introduced, which became the starting point for a strong
expansion in the following decades, especially in the
sectors of the economy that built on the country's forest
assets. Towards the end of the century, Finland thus became
dominant in the Russian newsprint market and a significant
exporter of sawmills. However, industrialization was
relatively late, and even at the turn of the century, 85
percent of the population lived in rural areas, where a
large part of the industry was also located. After the
difficult years of 1866-68, the agricultural production
focus was changed from grain production to animal
production, a change that was accelerated by the import of
cheap Russian grain. At the turn of the century, more than
half of the rural population was backstage dwellers and farm
The convening of the land day began a new phase in the
country's political life, since the land day would,
according to the 1869 land scheme, be convened every five,
then every three years. Land Day, which was still based on
four-part representation, became the center of political
life and the starting point for party formation.
The language issue became party constituent. The Finnish
Movement (Phenomena) around Snellman and Georg Zacharias
Yrjö-Koskinen wanted to give the Finnish a position that
corresponded to its position within the population to
mobilize it in support of the new state of Finland. The main
opponent of the Finnish party was at first the
linguistically neutral liberal party, which grouped around
the Helsinki daily newspaper, but this lost its importance
around 1880. Instead, a Swedish party emerged.
The goal of the Finnish movement was a refinement of
society and the upper class, which meant that school issues
came to play an important role in the political conflicts.
On the land day, the Swedish-minded nobility and the
bourgeoisie ruled, while the Finns-minded had a majority in
the priesthood and the peasantry, which meant that in many
matters two stands opposed two positions. A significant part
of the elite learned Finnish or adopted Finnish as a
cultural language. Through language regulations from 1863,
the Finnish was given an equal position with the Swede
within the administration, which was definitely implemented
The social contradictions also emerged in the party
system. A culturally and socially more radical group in
Finnish grouped around the newspaper Päivälehti and
established itself in 1894 as the Hungarian Party, whose
contradictions with the rural-based and conservative Old
Finnish Party were accentuated by different attitudes about
the relationship with Russia. In 1899, the Finnish Workers'
Party, from 1903 the Social Democratic Party, was founded
with a Marxist program.
Relations with Russia began to intensify in the 1880s, in
the form of, among other things, a press dispute between
Finnish and Russian newspapers about Finland's state law.
Real conflicts arose around 1890 regarding the coordination
of the Finnish Post Office with the entry into force of the
Russian and the new penal code, but at the end of the decade
mainly concerning the issue of conscription.
An open period of conflict, the so-called years of
perpetration, began when the Emperor in 1899 issued the
February manifesto. It concerned the scheme for the
formation of so-called national laws, where Finland's land
day was given a subordinate role. The manifesto led to the
gathering of the so-called great address of the emperor with
half a million signatories. Despite this exceptional
manifestation of national unity, the question of how to meet
the ever-progressing Russian intervention under General
Governor Nikolaj Bobrikov came to divide the Finns in a
profound way. The constitutional, that is, the Swedish Party
and the Young Finns, advocated passive resistance in the
form of a consistent adherence to the letter of the law,
military service strikes and more, even when this led to the
dismissal of officials. The old Finns went in for a
so-called emergency policy, whose aim was to keep as much as
possible of the administration in domestic hands through
concessions. Eventually there was also a small active
opposition party, which sought contact with the radical
opposition in Russia. The heated atmosphere gave rise to
political assaults, including against Bobrikov, who was
killed in 1904.
The political situation changed radically through
Russia's defeat in the Russian-Japanese war in 1905. The
unrest in Russia also led to a major strike in Finland in
October-November of the same year. The emperor withdrew the
previous regulations, and a constitutional senate took
office. In the aftermath of the major strike, the 1906 land
agenda introduced universal and equal suffrage for men and
women, which meant that Finland was one of the most
democratically elected parliaments in Europe. In the first
election in 1907, the Social Democrats became the largest
party with 80 seats out of 200. In the new situation, the
Swedish People's Party was founded, an alliance between the
Swedish-speaking elite and the Swedish-speaking urban and
rural population, as well as the Agrarian Association, a
farmer's party that initially got only a few
representatives. in the country day.
Radical democratization did not result in radical reform
efforts. On the one hand, the Social Democrats and the
bourgeoisie could not cooperate, and on the one hand, the
Russian government's grip was tightened, which led to
repeated land-breaking resolutions and blocking of social
reforms. The outbreak of the First World War put a stop to
the longer striving for refreshment and centralization.
Finland lacked its own troops and was militarily out of the
war, although business as a result of war supplies and
interrupted foreign trade relations was increasingly focused
on Russia. Finland became heavily dependent on the empire
for its food supply. The activists, who represented a
relatively small part of the public opinion, became
convinced of the necessity of armed struggle against Russia.
They sought support in Sweden and later Germany,the hunter
movement), eventually about 1,900 men, training in the
The Russian February Revolution of 1917 changed the
situation radically; the Russian interim government promised
to restore the situation before the constitutional conflict.
A coalition senate took office. However, the Land Day, which
had a socialist majority after the 1916 election, declared
itself summer of 1917 through the so-called power law as the
practitioner of the highest power in the country; only the
foreign policy and defense were reserved to the Russian
government. The Russian government responded by dissolving
the country day.
In the 1917 elections, the socialists lost their
majority, which sharpened the domestic political situation
and further weakened the socialists' confidence in the
parliamentary system. The Socialists announced a major
strike in November, which further sharpened the domestic
political situation. In a bourgeois and socialist way, the
founding of shelters and red gardens accelerated during the
summer and autumn. Following the Bolshevik revolution in
Russia, the country declared itself on December 6, 1917, on
the proposal of the new bourgeois Senate under Pehr Evind
First Republic 1918–39
The Republic of Finland stabilized during the period from
the Declaration of Independence to the Peace in Dorpat
(Tartu) in 1920 in forms that came to characterize the
decades until the Second World War, a time sometimes called
the time of the First Republic.
The Russian Bolshevik government, Sweden and France
recognized independence in early 1918, but in Finland there
were still around 40,000 Russian troops and the Russian
Baltic fleet units in Helsinki. The Bolshevik government was
reluctant to withdraw these troops when the war was still
going on, but in a bourgeois way they feared that they would
do something jointly with the Finnish socialists. The Senate
therefore declared the protection forces for the country's
army, which in January 1918 was subordinated to General
Civil war broke out on January 27, 1918, when Mannerheim
in Ostrobothnia began to disarm the Russian troops and the
Finnish Red Guard rose in southern Finland and appointed a
People's Commissariat as a revolutionary government. The Red
Guard received some material help from the Russian troops
but could not claim against the white army, where the
hunters and Swedish volunteers joined as officers. The White
Senate also summoned conscripts with support from the 1878
Conscripts Act and requested German military assistance on
terms that would have bound Finland's politics and foreign
trade to Germany. The war, which ended with the victory of
the Whites in May, left deep gaps and great bitterness. (See
also the Finnish Civil War.)
After the Civil War, a strong German orientation
prevailed. Deputy Governor Pehr Evind Svinhufvud and Juho
Kusti Paasikivi's Senate voted in favor of a monarchist
state form with a German prince as king. Germany's defeat in
the First World War made it impossible for German to
continue its orientation, and Svinhufvud was replaced by
Mannerheim as head of state. Under its leadership, Finland's
independence was also recognized by the United Kingdom and
the United States. The Land Day was dissolved, and after a
new election in March 1919 when the Social Democrats won 80
seats, a Republican form of government was ratified, after
which the liberal lawyer KJ Ståhlbergwas elected president.
Despite the major political changes, the 1919 form of
government relied heavily on the principles of the old
constitution and gave the head of state significant powers.
Border issues played an important role in independent
Finland's foreign policy. A strong opinion was for a
connection of Eastern Karelia to Finland or for
self-determination for the area, while Mannerheim wanted to
intervene in the ongoing civil war in Russia. Sufficient
political support could not be offered, as the white Russian
generals were reluctant to recognize Finland's independence.
Volunteers supported by the government volunteered in 1919
marched into the East Karelia, but had to retreat. In the
1920 peace treaty, the boundaries of the former Principality
remained unchanged, except that Finland received the Petsamo
area off the Arctic coast.
In Åland, the residents of the end of the world war had
expressed a desire to join Sweden. The issue was referred to
the League of Nations, which in 1921 settled the conflict in
favor of Finland on condition that Finland provided
guarantees for the archipelago's Swedish language and
demilitarization. The island group's position was regulated
by a self-governing law in 1920 and the so-called Guarantee
Act 1922 (replaced by the self-governing law in 1951).
The dominant issue in Finland's independent foreign
policy was the relationship with Russia (from the 1923
Soviet Union). Following the German orientation in 1918,
Finland first sought support from the entente powers, and
later for a few years they sought cooperation with the other
peripheral states, especially the Baltic republics. In 1922,
however, the Riksdag refused to commit itself to an expanded
border state cooperation, after which Finland for the
following decade relied on the collective security within
the framework of the League of Nations. Finland signed a
non-aggression treaty with the Soviet Union in 1932 and in
1935 declared a Scandinavian orientation. Attempts to
achieve a defense cooperation with Sweden with the intention
of consolidating the Åland Islands fell in 1939 to Soviet
In domestic politics, the stormy first year of
independence meant significant shifts in the party field.
The constitutional issue divided the Finnish bourgeois
parties so that most of the old Finns and some of the young
Finns joined the Collective Party, while the majority of the
young Finns formed the National Progress Party. The Agrarian
Confederation emerged as the largest bourgeois party of the
Riksdag in the 1919 elections. Social democracy was divided
in 1920 into a social democratic party of the Nordic model
and the left-wing Socialist Workers Party, which was under
the influence of the banned Finland Communist Party, founded
in Moscow in 1918.
During the first year of independence, Finland was
governed by central governments, which implemented a
comprehensive legislative program including, among other
things, the liberation of villages (1918), the Freedom of
Religion Act (1922), the Public School Duty (1922), the
Civil Service Act (1922), the Colonization Act (1922) and
the Progressive Income and Wealth Tax (1920). and 1924).
Financially, the release from Russia meant that Finland had
to find a replacement for the Russian market in the West,
especially in the UK and Germany.
The form of government in 1919 declared that both
domestic languages were equal, and in 1922 a language law
was issued. From a Swedish-speaking perspective, a
far-reaching regional self-government had been desired but
achieved only a limited cultural autonomy (a Swedish diocese
and a Swedish department at the School Board). As a
continuation of the previous Finnish movement and as a
reaction to the Swedish aspirations arose the so-called
marital affiliation, which wanted to introduce a Finnish
nation-state, where the role of the Swedes would be limited
to local administrative language in Swedish-speaking
Marriages were supported within the Agrarian Association
and part of the Collective Party, and especially among the
students. The dominant organization among Finnish students
during the interwar period was the Akateeminen Karjala-Seura
(AKS), founded in 1922 following a popular uprising in East
Karelia. The society was eager for Greater Finland and the
matrimony of marriage and over time developed in a fascist
direction. Among other things, through the students'
activity, the language issue was dominated during the 1930s
by conflicts over the language conditions at the State
University of Helsinki.
Central politics was followed in the mid-1920s by
center-right governments. A short-lived experiment
constituted a social democratic minority reign under Väinö
Tanner in 1926–27. The second half of the 1920s was
dominated by weak minority governments. Disbelief against
democracy in the right and unrest for the activities of the
communists in the trade unions, among other things, gave
rise to the Lappa movement in 1929. The movement, which had
its main support among the peasants in Ostrobothnia,
demanded that the communists be removed from public life and
substantiated their demands with pressure on Parliament and
acts of violence against individual communists and even
After the recent election, laws against the Communists
were approved in 1930. The following year, PE Pig Head was
elected with a marginal margin to the president. The Lappa
movement, which was initially supported by a broad bourgeois
opinion, went to the right and demanded changes in the state
of the state and also turned to social democracy. In doing
so, it lost much of its support, and the movement dissolved
following a failed coup attempt in Mäntsälä in 1932. It
reorganized itself as a political party, the Foster Peoples'
Movement (after the abbreviation of the Finnish name form,
Isänmaallinen Kansanliike, often called IKL), which was
In the mid-1930s, Finland was ruled by Toivo Kivimäki's
minority government (1932–36), whose position was largely
based on President Svinhufvud's support. Since the president
refused to accept social democrats in the government, they
waged the presidential candidate Kyösti Kallio, who was
elected during the 1937 presidential election. Subsequently,
AK Cajanders joined the Social Democrats and agrarian-based
majority government. This government base, the "red mill",
was the core of most governments in Finland until recently.
The new government was able to curb the language struggle
and in 1938 passed a decision on a large procurement program
for the defense. It was only partially realized before the
outbreak of the war.
Finland was withdrawn in World War II as a result of the
agreement between Germany and the Soviet Union
(Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact) in August 1939. During the
Soviet-Finnish negotiations that took place in Moscow from
October 1939, the Soviet Union demanded a border shift on
the Karelian nose and the arrests of Hangö. or islands off
Hanko headland for territorial compensation in East Karelia.
Finland rejected the demands partly because, for military
and psychological reasons, they were not considered able to
accept land resignations, and partly because they did not
believe in a Soviet attack. When the Red Army attacked in
late November, Risto formed Rytiimmediately a new government
to open the way to negotiations. Stalin rejected the
possibility by concluding a friendship and aid pact with the
puppet government led by Communist Otto Ville Kuusinen,
established in the Red Army's track in Terijoki.
The League of Nations excluded the Soviet Union as a
result of the attack. Finland received material assistance
and 8,500 volunteers from Sweden, but otherwise had to fight
the winter war alone. Despite a devastating Soviet force in
terms of manpower (26 divisions against 9) and materiel, the
Finnish army managed for two and a half months to hold
positions on the Karelian nose and around several Soviet
divisions north of Ladoga. In mid-February, the Mannerheim
line was broken on the Karelian nose. When Stalin let
Kuusinen's government fall, peace could be concluded in
Moscow in March 1940. Finland left Viborg County, largely
according to the Nystads Peace border, and part of eastern
Lapland (the Salla area) as well as out-leased Hanko as a
naval base. (See also the Winter War.)
After the winter war, Finland was in a vulnerable
position. Attempts to establish a defense or state alliance
with Sweden were stopped by the Soviet Union. In 1940,
Finland began to approach Germany as a counterbalance to
Soviet influence. Finland allowed German transport to
northern Norway and was allowed to buy German weapons.
Finland participated in the Barbarossa operation,
Hitler's attack on the Soviet Union in June 1941. The
government feared that the country would become a
battleground for the great powers and wanted to reclaim the
departed territories. By the end of the summer, these had
been recaptured, and they reconnected to Finland at the end
of the year. Most of the evacuated men returned. The army
continued to advance in Eastern Karelia, which was conquered
in 1941 and held under military occupation until 1944.
However, Finland refused to participate in the attack on
Leningrad. After the German defeat at Stalingrad in 1943,
Finland tried to achieve a separate peace, but the
government regarded the Russian conditions as too harsh.
The great Soviet attack on the Karelian nose in June 1944
forced the Finnish army to retreat on all fronts. When the
Soviet Union demanded unconditional surrender, President
Ryti personally made a connection with the German Foreign
Minister von Ribbentrop that Finland would not conclude
peace without German consent. Partly with the aid of the
German arms deliveries, which enabled this front, the front
could be stabilized in August.
After Ryti resigned and Parliament elected Gustaf
Mannerheim as president, a ceasefire was entered into in
September 1944. The provisions of this were confirmed in the
peace in Paris in 1947. The Moscow Peace Border was set, and
Finland resigned to Petsamo, leased the Porkala area west of
Helsinki as a Russian base and pledged to pay about $ 300
million. In addition, Finland would expel the German troops
in Finland, leading to fierce fighting in Lapland, which was
devastated by the Germans.
Until the end of the peace, conditions in Finland were
monitored by an Allied Control Commission under General
Colonel Andrei Zhdanov. The war damages, which were
recovered in goods, forced an expansion of the industry,
especially the metal industry, which was later able to find
sales for its products in export markets in the east and
west. The displaced population was placed through extensive
land reform, which in its main principles could build on the
interwar colonization and which led to the emergence of a
number of new small farms.
The peace agreement set an upper limit for the various
types of weapons in the Finnish Armed Forces and further
stated that the security forces would be dissolved as well
as organizations of a "fascist nature", which included AKS
and IKL. Through an exceptionally retroactive law, eight
leading politicians, including former President Risto Ryti,
were sentenced to prison terms of war.
With the repeal of the Communist Laws, the Communist
Party could for the first time operate legally in Finland.
As a roofing organization for Communists and Left
Socialists, the 1944 Democratic League of the People of
Finland (Dfff; also called the People's Democrats) was
founded, which in 1945 won a major victory in the first
election after the war. Until 1948, politics was dominated
by public-front governments composed of agrarians, social
democrats and people's democrats. Mauno Pekkala (Dfff)
succeeded JK Paasikivi as prime minister when he was elected
president in 1946. A fierce battle between social democrats
and communists was going on within the trade union movement.
Dfff lost his strong position as a result of defeat in the
Foreign policy in the years following the end of the war
was characterized by Paasikivi's basic principle of
accepting the legitimate security interests of the Soviet
Union and convincing the Soviet Union that Finland's policy
was fundamentally changed. In 1948, a friendship,
cooperation and assistance agreement (the VSB agreement) was
concluded between the countries, which was extended in 1955,
1970 and 1983 (where it was intended to apply until 2003).
The initiative came from Stalin, but similar thoughts had
already been expressed from Finnish in the past, and the
agreement's details were designed by Paasikivi. The
agreement obliged Finland to defend itself against any
attack directed by its territory against the Soviet Union
from Germany or with Germany, possibly with Soviet
assistance by agreement. In 1956, the Russian military base
was withdrawn in Porkala, and the area was again placed
under Finnish sovereignty.
In the 1956 presidential election, Paasikivi was
succeeded by Urho Kekkonen, who was elected with the votes
of the agrarians and Dfff, while the counter-candidate
Karl-August Fagerholm was supported by the social democrats
and most of the other bourgeois parties. The new president
followed his representative's foreign policy, the so-called
Around 1960, the relationship between Finland and the
Soviet Union was affected by several crises: 1958–59 due to
Soviet suspicions of increased Western orientation and 1961
in connection with the so-called note crisis. With reference
to the situation in Berlin, the Soviet Union demanded
military consultations but waived the requirement since
Kekkonen traveled to the Soviet Union for negotiations. The
crisis resulted in the front formed around Kekkonen's
counter candidate Olavi Honka (1894–1988), supported by the
same parties that supported Fagerholm in 1956, was dissolved
and Kekkonen was re-elected president in 1962.
Kekkonen's term as president included a total of a
quarter of a century, since he was re-elected in 1968 and
1978; in 1974, his term of office was extended by four years
through an exception law. Through his long presidential term
and his way of leading foreign policy, Kekkonen took an
exceptionally strong position, which was also reflected in
domestic politics. He resigned in 1981 due to illness and
was succeeded by Social Democrat Mauno Koivisto.
During Kekkonen's time, Finland's international position
was further stabilized. This allowed Finland to become an
associate member of EFTA in 1961 and in 1978 signed a trade
agreement with the EC. This was especially manifested
through the hosting of the European Security and Cooperation
Conference in Helsinki 1975.
After the crisis in eastern relations in 1958, the Social
Democrats stood outside the government until 1966, when the
parliament for a parliamentary term got the left majority.
This formed a public-front government with the Social
Democrats, the former Agrarian Association, which in 1965
changed its name to the Center Party, and Dfff as the
largest parties. The first two parties dominated the
governments until 1987, when the Social Democrats and the
Socialist Party became the core of Harri Holkeri's
government. Following election losses in March 1991, this
coalition across the center line was replaced by a purely
bourgeois government, the first since the 1960s.
The post-war period until about 1990 was characterized by
an exceptionally rapid structural transformation, which
transformed Finland from a war-affected agricultural society
into a modern service society with a standard of living that
was one of the highest in the world. The radical changes in
the neighboring areas and international politics from 1989
onwards led to enormous changes in Finnish politics and the
economy. In October 1989, the Soviet president and party
leader Mikhail Gorbachev visited Finland and gave
unconditional recognition of Finland's neutrality policy; At
the same time, a five-year framework agreement for trade was
signed. Just six months later, Finland declared that the
country no longer considered itself bound by the provisions
of the 1947 Paris peace that limited its sovereignty.
The VSB pact with the Soviet Union was renegotiated into
a neighborhood agreement, which however lost its importance
through the dissolution of the Soviet Union. Instead, in May
1992, the countries approved an agreement on political,
economic and local area cooperation and at the same time
stated that the VSB pact has expired.
In the field of trade, former relations were eroded by
the disintegration and economic downturn of the Soviet
Union. Clearing trade ceased in December 1990, and the
Soviet Union's debt to Finland grew rapidly. The decline in
Eastern trade contributed to the general economic crisis
that hit Finland in the early 1990s and led to a rapidly
rising unemployment rate (over half a million unemployed in
the summer of 1993) and increased government debt. The
crisis led to a devaluation in November 1991, banking
crisis, bankruptcies and mergers, and significant budget
cuts. The economic situation improved from 1994, but
unemployment remained around or close to 20 percent for
Integration with Western Europe
Compared to the West, rapid integration took place in the
1990s. The EEA (European Economic Area) agreement between
the EC and EFTA was signed in May 1992, but by that time
Finland had already submitted its application for EC
membership in March 1992. In March 1994, a preliminary
agreement with the EC was signed and this was proposed in
October of that year by 56.9 percent of voters in an
advisory referendum. Finland joined the EU from the
beginning of 1995. Finland has adhered to an alliance-free
foreign policy, but in June 1992 became an observer in the
NACC (North Atlantic Cooperation Council) and in February
1995 in the WEU (Western European Union).
In February 1994, the Social Democratic Secretary of
State Martti Ahtisaari was elected president according to a
new electoral system with direct popular elections in two
rounds. In March 2000, a new constitution for Finland came
into force (Finland's Constitution 731/1999). Finland was
thus given a uniform constitution by which the political
system was reformed in parliamentary direction. The powers
of the Prime Minister and the Government were expanded,
while the President's powers were reduced. Ahtisaari did not
stand for reelection in the 2000 presidential election, at
which Social Democrat Tarja Halonen was elected president.
The halon was re-elected in 2006 for a second term.
Through the parliamentary elections in March 1995, the
government switched to a rainbow coalition led by Social
Democrat Paavo Lipponen. The coalition continued after the
1999 parliamentary elections. After the 2003 parliamentary
elections, a center-left government was formed under the
leadership of the center's Matti Vanhanen. After the 2007
parliamentary elections, however, a bourgeois government,
which includes the Greens, was formed under the leadership
The 2011 parliamentary elections meant exceptionally
large changes in the parties' strengths. The true Finns took
a historically great victory and conquered 34 additional
mandates. As a result, they became the third largest party
in the new parliament. The center became the biggest loser
of choice. Following extended government negotiations, a
majority coalition of six parties was formed under the
leadership of Jyrki Katainen, chairman of the largest party,
the Collecting Party. The new opposition in the Riksdag thus
consisted of only two parties, the True Finns and the
The True Finns, on the other hand, joined with the Center
and the Socialist Party in the bourgeois government that the
Center's Juha Sipilä formed after the 2015 election. The
situation led to the Finnish Ministers breaking out of the
party and forming what was later called the Blue Future.
The Sipilä government submitted its resignation
application a month before the 2019 election but remained as
transitional government. In the elections, the Social
Democrats, the true Finns and the Socialist Party were in
practice the same size, while the Center declined sharply.
The government negotiations led to a left-center coalition
with the Center, the Greens, the Swedish People's Party, the
Left League and the Social Democrats, whose party leader
Antti Rinne became prime minister. He resigned after a
government crisis in December 2019 and was succeeded by
Sanna Marin, also her Social Democrat.
||Suomusjärvikultur. Moose hunting and seal
||Chamber Ceramic Culture. The oldest ceramics.
Import of amber and flint. Rich ocher tombs. The
seal's most important prey.
||Båtyxekultur. Contribution of population from
the continent. Asbestos ceramic groups in the
country's inner and northern parts. Rock paintings.
||Late Political Kiwi Culture. Beginning
||The Bronze Age. Imports of metal objects from
Scandinavia and Central and Eastern Russia. Cairn
|500 BC - BC
||Iron Age Iron Age. Oldest iron technology.
|A.D. – 400 AD
||Roman Iron Age. Intimate contacts with the
Baltics and Scandinavia.
||Migration Period. At the end of the period,
moving from Central Sweden to Åland.
||Merovingian. Thriving weapons industry. Fire
Graveyard. In Satakunda rich skeleton tombs.
||The Viking Age. Significant costume finds in the
||Crusade time, Christianity prevails and Finland
is incorporated into the Swedish empire through the
crusade of Birger Earl 1239 and Torgils Knutsson to
||Turku Cathedral is inaugurated.
||The Nöteborg Peace between Sweden and Novgorod
establishes the Swedish eastern border and thus
Finland's first eastern border.
||Representatives from Finland take part in the
Swedish national elections.
||The New Testament is published in Finnish.
||Turku diocese is divided and Viborg's diocese is
||Duke Johan holds Western Finland as duchy and
holds court at Turku Castle.
||Johan III assumes the title of Grand Prince of
||Peace in Teusina.
||Gustav II Adolf is holding a day with Finland's
stands in Helsinki.
||The peace in Stolbova gives the Swedish empire
its greatest extent to the east.
||Turku Court of Appeal is founded.
||Per Brahe, General Governor of Finland.
||The Turku Academy is founded.
||The Bible is published in Finnish.
||Peace in Nystad after a decade of Russian
||Peace in Turku.
||Construction work on Sveaborg will commence.
||Peace in Värälä.
||Porvoo land day and peace in Fredrikshamn.
Sweden resigns to Finland, which becomes an
autonomous Grand Principality under Russia.
||Old Finland joins Finland. Helsinki becomes the
||Turku fire. The university will be moved to
Helsinki the following year.
||Kalevala is published.
||Helsinki Country Day convenes and commences
regular parliamentary activities. The language
manifesto initiates a development that gradually
makes Finnish equitable for the Swedes.
||The February manifesto begins a period of
constitutional conflict between Finland and Russia.
||Country agenda with general and equal voting
rights for men and women.
||Finland's Country Day declares its independence
on December 6.
||Civil war between white and red in the spring.
||The form of government is approved.
||The peace in Dorpat (Tartu) with Russia sets
Finland's previous borders apart from Finland
receiving the Petsamo area on the Arctic Ocean.
||The conflict over Åland between Sweden and
Finland is decided by NF in favor of Finland. Åland
gets internal self-government.
||The right-wing Lappa movement is founded, which
begins a period of domestic political unrest.
||Rebellion in Mäntsälä.
||The government declares a Nordic foreign policy
||The winter war against the Soviet Union leads to
significant territorial losses in the peace in
||The continuing war leads to conquests in East
Karelia to return to the post-winter situation.
||Peace in Paris.
||The Friendship, Cooperation and Assistance Pact
with the Soviet Union.
||Finland joins the UN and the Nordic Council.
||The Soviet Union waives its Porkala base.
||Finland associated with EFTA. Note crisis.
||The European Security Conference meets in
||The friendship, aid and cooperation agreement
with the Soviet Union expires.
||Finland becomes a member of the EU.
||A new constitution comes into force that gives
the prime minister and the government greater power
at the expense of the president.
||Currency is replaced by euros.