Birth of Finland!
The land of lakes
Located between East and West, with snowy winters and warm, light-filled summers, Finland offers a number of fascinating contrasts. Finland's un spoilt forests, as well as its thousands of islands and lakes, offer plenty of opportunities for visitors to enjoy beautiful natural surroundings.
- According to archaeological evidence, the area now comprising Finland was settled at the latest around 8500 BCE.
- Swedish kings established their rule in the Northern Crusades from the 12th century until 1249.
- 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, wars known to the Finns as the Greater Wrath (1714–21) and the Lesser Wrath (1742–43).
- On 29 March 1809, having been taken over 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.
- After the 1917 February Revolution, the position of Finland as part of the Russian Empire was questioned, mainly by Social Democrats.
- On 27 January 1918, the official opening shots of the war were fired in two simultaneous events. The government started to disarm the Russian forces in Pohjanmaa, and the Social Democratic Party staged a coup.
- This sparked the brief but bitter civil war. The Whites, who were supported by Imperial Germany, prevailed over the Reds.
- After a brief flirtation with monarchy, Finland became a presidential republic, with Kaarlo Juho Ståhlberg elected as its first president in 1919.
- During World War II, Finland fought the Soviet Union twice: in the Winter War of 1939–40 after the Soviet Union had attacked Finland; and in the Continuation War of 1941–44, following Operation Barbarossa, in which Germany invaded the Soviet Union. this was followed by the Lapland War of 1944–45, when Finland forced the Germans out of northern Finland.
- In 1950 half of the Finnish workers were occupied in agriculture and a third lived in urban areas. The new jobs in manufacturing, services and trade quickly attracted people to the towns.
- The 1952 Summer Olympics brought international visitors.
- Officially claiming to be neutral, Finland lay in the grey zone between the Western countries and the Soviet Union.
- Despite close relations with the Soviet Union, Finland remained a Western European market economy. Various industries benefited from trade privileges with the Soviets.
- Like other Nordic countries, Finland has liberalized its economy since the late 1980s.
- Finland joined the European Union in 1995, and the Eurozone in 1999.
- The Finnish markka was replaced by the euro in 2002.
- In 2007, in order to adopt the new common map like the rest of the Eurozone countries, Finland changed the common side of its coins.
Lying approximately between latitudes 60° and 70° N, and longitudes 20° and 32° E, Finland is one of the world's northernmost countries. Of world capitals, only Reykjavik lies more to the north than Helsinki. The distance from the southernmost— Hanko —to the northernmost point in the country— Nuurgam —is 1,160 kilometres (720 mi).
Finland is a country of thousands of lakes and islands—187,888 lakes (larger than 500 m2/0.12 acre) and 179,584 islands. Its largest lake, Saimaa, is the fourth largest in Europe. The area with most lakes is called Finnish Lakeland. The greatest number of islands are to be found in the southwest in the Turku archipelago. Further from the coast lies Ahvenanmaa or Åland (in Swedish) Islands.
The Finnish landscape is covered with thick pine forests, rolling hills and complemented with a labyrinth of lakes and inlets. Much of Finland is pristine and virgin as it contains 37 national parks from the Southern shores of the Gulf of Finland to the high fells of Lapland. It is also an urbanised region with many cultural events and activities. Finland is regarded as the home of Saint Nicholas or Santa Claus, living in the northern Lapland region. Above the Arctic Circle, in midwinter, there is a polar night, a period when the sun does not rise for days and correspondingly, midnight sun in the summer, with no sunset even at midnight. Lapland is so far north that the Aurora Borealis, fluorescence in the high atmosphere due to solar wind, is seen regularly in the fall, winter and spring. Outdoor activities range from Nordic skiing, golf, fishing, yachting, lake cruises, hiking, kayaking among many others. Wildlife is abundant in Finland. Bird-watching is popular for those fond of avifauna.
Finland has a humid and cool semi-continental climate, characterized by warm summers and freezing winters. The climate type in southern Finland is north temperate climate. Winters of southern Finland (average day time temperature is below 0 °C/32 °F) are usually 4 months long, and the snow typically covers the land from middle of December to early April.
In the southern coast, it can melt many times during early winter, and then come again. The coldest winter days of southern Finland can be as low as −40 °C (−40 °F), and the warmest days of July and August can be as high as 35 °C (95 °F).
Climatic summers of the southern Finland last 4 months (from mid May to mid September). In northern Finland, particularly in Lapland, a subarctic climate dominates. Winters in north Finland are nearly 7 months long, and snow covers the lands almost 6 months, from October to early May. Summers in the north are quite short, only two to three months.]
The main factor influencing Finland's climate is the country's geographical position between the 60th and 70th northern parallels in the Eurasian continent's coastal zone, which shows characteristics of both a maritime and a continental climate, depending on the direction of air flow. Finland is near enough to the Atlantic Ocean to be continuously warmed by the Gulf Stream, which explains the unusually warm climate considering the absolute latitude.
A quarter of Finland's territory lies within the Arctic Circle and the midnight sun can be experienced for more days the farther north one travels. At Finland's northernmost point, the sun does not set for 73 consecutive days during summer, and does not rise at all for 51 days during winter.