During the last Ice Age, Finland was covered by a thick layer of ice. When that ice sheet retreated (or melted) about 10,000 years ago, it gouged the surface of the land and left in its wake innumerable islands, rivers and streams, as well as countless lakes.
Subsequently, the exposed lands turned green and fertile, wildlife returned, and Stone Age hunter-gatherers from northern Russia arrived. Early settlements soon developed, and early man lived and farmed throughout Finland on through the Bronze and Iron Ages.
At the end of the Viking era, during a series of exploratory crusades into Finland, the Swedes brought Christianity, and in short-order, mostly undefended Finnish lands were incorporated into the Kingdom of Sweden, and 650 years of Swedish influence began.
As a province of Sweden, the now subjugated Finns were forced to adopt the culture and traditions of Sweden, including its language and dominate religion. The imposed Protestant faith motivated many in the Orthodox religion to move east into Russia.
Debilitating skirmishes with Russia for control of Finland’s land raged on, and then, at the very end of the 17th century, a severe famine was out of control, and across Finland food shortages caused mass starvation.
In 1808, the so-called “Finnish War” between Russia and Sweden began. On March 28, 1809, victorious Russia transformed long-suffering Finland into a Grand Duchy (or separate state), with some level of autonomy.
During Russia’s sway, the Finnish language surfaced once again, Helsinki became the capital city and a strong national pride swept across the land. Russia, now worried about this reformation of sorts, clamped down.
It was to no avail as the era of Russian Tzars came to an end in 1917 during the Communist Revolution. On December 6th of that year Finland declared its independence. A short (but bloody) civil war followed between “Whites” (Finland forces) and “Reds” (Russian supported factions), and the “Whites” prevailed and the country’s freedom was at hand.
- Name: Finland
(long form) Republic of Finland
- Capital City: Helsinki (588,941 pop.)
- Finland Population: 5,259,250 (2010 est.)
- World Populations (all countries)
- Currency: Euro
- Ethnicity: Finn 93.4%, Swede 5.6%, Russian 0.5%, Estonian 0.3%, Roma (Gypsy) 0.1%, Sami 0.1% (2006)
- GDP total: $187.6 billion (2010 est.)
- GDP per capita: $35,300 (2010 est.)
- Land Sizes
- Language: Finnish 91.2% (official), Swedish 5.5% (official), other 3.3% (small Sami and Russian speaking minorities) (2007)
- Largest Cities: (by population) Helsinki, Espoo, Tampere, Vantaa, Turku, Oulu
- Name: Finland is derived from the Germanic word ‘finthan‘ (“wander, find”) and is thought to refer to hunter-gatherers.
- National Day: December 6
- Religion: Lutheran Church of Finland 82.5%, Orthodox Church 1.1%, other Christian 1.1%, other 0.1%, none 15.1% (2006)
- Coastline: 1,250 km (776.7 miles)
- Land Area:
(land) 117,303 sq miles (303,815 sq km)
(water) 13,255 sq miles (34,330 sq km)
(TOTAL) 130,558 sq miles (338,145 sq km)
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- Land Area: (all countries)
- Land Divisions: (6) Finland is divided into 6 provinces, or administrative regions, including: Aland, Lapland, Oulu, Eastern Finland, Southern Finland and Western Finland
- Horizontal Width: 444 km (275 miles) from Rauma, on the Gulf of Bothnia, northeast to Koli National Park
- Vertical Length: 1,110 km (689 miles) from the far-northern tip of Finland, south to HelsinkiNote: Lengths and widths are point-to-point, straight-line measurements from a Mercator map projection, and will vary some using other map projections
- Bordering Countries: (3) Norway, Russia and Sweden
- Geographic Center: 32.18 km (19.7 miles) to the southwest of Kajaan
- Highest Point: Haltiatunturi (Halti) at 1,328 m (4,356 ft)
- Lowest Point: Baltic Sea, 0 m (0 ft.)
- Latitude and Longitude
- Relative Location
LATITUDE & LONGITUDE:
- Latitude/Longitude (Absolute Locations)
Helsinki: (capital city) 60° 10′ N, 24° 56′ E
Ivalo: 68° 39′ N, 27° 32′ E
Oulu: 65° 0′ N, 25° 28′ E
Rovaniemi: 66° 29′ N, 25° 43′ E
Vaasa: 63° 5′ N, 21° 36′ E
- Latitudes and Longitudes: (specific details)
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- Relative Locations: (specific details)