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History of Finland

Updated on June 28, 2010
Finland Flag
Finland Flag
Senate Square in Helsinki
Senate Square in Helsinki

History of Finland- Early History

First inhabited by tribes from Asia about 8000 BC

Viking penetration about 800AD which was then followed by Christianisation by the English and Swedish missionaries in the 11th and 12th centuries

Finland thus came under the rule of various Scandinavian countries until eventually in 1323 the Swedes gained control, this was to remain the case for almost the next 500 years

Under the rule of the Swedes, Finlands borders steadily increased until the Swedes were defeated by the Russians in the Great Northern War

Russia expanded its grip on Finland until by the end of the Napoleonic Wars, under the ruling of the congress of Vienna, Finland became completely annexed by Russia

Finland was allowed a large degree of autonomy under the Russians and as a result prospered

History of Finland - Twentieth Century

WWI and the Russian Revolution gave Finland a chance to seize independence which they did.

A minor civil war erupted between the Russian Bolsheviks and the people of Finland until eventually under the 1920 Treaty of Tarta the Russians recognized Finland as an independent country

At the start of WWII Finland tried to align itself with neutral Sweden but a bloody invasion by the Soviets changed all of that

History of Finland took another twist when it assisted Germany in an invasion of Russia in June of 1941. Their aim was to restore their pre WWII borders. Both the Germans and Finnish were defeated however in very severe fighting

They called a truce with the Russians in September of 1944 and eventually fought alongside the Russians against the Germans

At the end of WWII the Fins were forced to pay $300 million to the Russians in compensation for their attempted invasion. They completed the payments in 1952

After WWII Finland established a policy of neutrality but maintained close links with Russia. Russia became Finland’s major trading partner.

Helsinki Train Station
Helsinki Train Station

History of Finland - Present Day

At the end of the Cold War many Finnish welcomed the break from the restrictive Russian alliance, however it also bought many negative impacts the most noticeable of which was the severe impact it made on the economy.

High interest rates and unemployment lead to some hard times for the Finns during the 90's.

The government was forced to drastically reduce the level of social security provided to the people.

This sudden change in fortunes inspired the people to vote in a 1995 referendum to join the EU

Finland still maintains its neutrality, as such it has not unlike most EU members, and became a part of NATO

It still has one of the EU's highest unemployment figures but its growth rate is steadily climbing and inflation remains very low

My name is Robee Kann, for four years I was a tour guide throughout Europe. I loved my job and I would love to hear from you. You are most welcome to message me to say hello or request a hub about a European subject. Please look at my other hubs and leave a comment for me.

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