Today A Concise History of Finland Timeline 1917

A Concise History of Finland Timeline

A Concise History of Finland: Let’s go through the main events that have marked the history of Finland. This history can roughly be divided into three chapters: the Swedish period before 1809, the Russian period from 1809 to 1917, and the period of independence, from 1917 to the present day. Finland is a Nordic countries Group member.

A Concise History of Finland
A Concise History of Finland

Until the middle of the 12th century, the geographical area formed today by Finland was a political vacuum, although it was of interest both to its western neighbor Sweden, as well as to the Catholic Church, as well as to its eastern neighbor Novgorod (Russia) and the Greek Orthodox Church.

Sweden then prevailed, the peace treaty of 1323 between Sweden and Novgorod assigning only eastern Finland to Novgorod. The western and southern parts of Finland are attached to Sweden and the cultural sphere of Western Europe, while Eastern Finland, namely Karelia, is encompassed in the Russo-Byzantine world.

A Short History on Finland

  1. Finland Capital Name: Helsinki
  2. Finland Official Language: Finnish, Swedish
  3. total area of Finland: 338,450 km² (130,676 mi²) and a total coastline of 1,250 km (776.7 mi)
  4. Finland Continent: Europe
  5. Finland Currency: Finnish Markka and Euro
  6. Near Countries of Finland: Finland is a Northern European nation bordering Sweden, Norway and Russia

Finland Religion Ratio

Today’s Finland Religion percentage as below: 

Rank Belief System Share of Finnish Population
1 Evangelical Lutheran Protestant Christian Church of Finland 70.9%
2 Atheism or Agnosticism 22.0%
3 Lutheran Christian Laestadianism 2.1%
4 Finnish Orthodox Christian Church 1.1%
5 Islam 1.0%
6 Roman Catholic Christian <1%
7 Judaism <1%
8 Hinduism <1%
9 Baha’i Faith <1%
10 Buddhism <1%

Early History of Finland -1323

Ancient History of Finland (Prehistory of Finland): The territory of Finland has been inhabited since the Ice Age, from about 8,800 years before the beginning of the era. The settlement first developed along waterways, and there has always been lively trade through Finland. The name of Turku, the oldest city in Finland, means a place of business. How old is Finland? Answer more than 8,800 years is old Finland.

Written sources from Finland do not begin until the 12th and 11th centuries. At that time, the territory of Finland was incorporated into the Roman Pope and a medieval network of Hanseatic merchants on crusades. History of Finland. 

The Catholic Church spread to the territory of Finland from Sweden and the Orthodox Church from the east to Novgorod, the territory of present-day Russia. The struggle between Sweden and Novgorod for control of the area ended in 1323 with the peace of Pähkinäsaari. With the peace, the Catholic religion became established in Finland to the west and the Orthodox religion to the east. This boundary of religions still exists, but the Reformation changed the Catholic faith to the Lutheran faith. History of Finland. 

The Finland History Timeline under Swedish Rule

History of Finland: The Swedish legal and social systems were established in Finland. Feudalism is not one of them and Finnish peasants will never be serfs; they will always retain their individual freedom. The most important center of Finland was then the city of Turku, founded in the middle of the 13th century. It is also the episcopal see.

The Reformation launched by Luther at the beginning of the 16th century also affected Sweden and Finland, the Catholic Church then lost its predominant position to the Lutheran confession.

The Reformation triggered a great development of Finnish-language culture. In 1548, the New Testament was translated into Finnish by the Bishop of Turku, Mikael Agricola (1510–1557), initiator of the Reformation in Finland and designer of the written Finnish language. In 1642, the entire Bible was translated into Finnish.

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At the height of its power (1617–1721), Sweden extended its kingdom to the Baltic countries and managed, due to Russia’s weakness, to push the Finnish border further east. The strengthening of the administration in Stockholm allowed a uniform Swedish stranglehold on Finland in the 17th century. Swedes are often assigned to important positions in Finland, which strengthens the position of the Swedish language on Finnish soil.

A Brief History of Finland Timeline


Eastern Sweden 1323–1809

1323 After the Peace of Pähkinäsaari, most of Finland was part of Sweden. The history of Finland is about 500 years of Swedish history. The territory of Finland was Sweden’s buffer to the east, and the borders changed numerous times in various wars.

Finns consider themselves to be Western Europeans, because time as part of the Swedish Empire strongly tied Finns to the Western cultural heritage. For example, Finnish soldiers fought in the Thirty Years’ War in Swedish troops in Central Europe. At the same time, however, there were also connections to the eastern shopping malls and the Orthodox Church.

Important events

  • 1523 Gustav Vaasa became king of Sweden and seceded from the medieval Nordic union of Sweden.
  • 1543 The first Finnish-language Aapinen is published in Finland.
  • 1550 Helsinki is established to compete with Tallinn for trade in the Baltic Sea.
  • 1640 The first university in Finland is founded in Turku.

Finland As Part Of The Russian Empire 1809–1917

History of Finland (1809-1917) Russia conquered the territory of Finland from Sweden in 1808–1809. Russian Emperor Alexander I granted Finland the status of a Grand Duchy. Most of the laws of Swedish rule remained in force. During Russia’s rule, Finland became a special region, which was developed by order of the emperor. For example, the center of Helsinki was built during the Russian rule. How long was Finland part of Russia? 108 years long was Finland part of Russia.

When did Finland gain independence? From 1899, Russia tightened its grip on the Grand Duchy of Finland. Finland did not take part in the First World War, but nationalism also affected Finland. Finland was granted its own parliament in 1906 and the first elections were held in 1907. Finland declared independence on 6 December 1917, and the Bolshevik Government, which came to power in the October Revolution of Russia, recognized independence on 31 December 1917. History of Finland. 

Important events

  • 1812 Helsinki is the capital.
  • 1827 The old capital, Turku, is destroyed by fire, and the position of Helsinki is emphasized.
  • 1860 Finland adopts its own currency, the markka.
  • 1906 Universal and equal suffrage, including for women.
  • December 6, 1917 Finland declares independence.

Finland, Grand Duchy of Russia

A concise history of Finland: When Sweden lost its status as a great power in the early 18th century, Russian pressure on Finland increased, and Russia finally conquered Finland in the War of 1808–1809 against Sweden.

During the Swedish era, Finland was nothing more than a set of provinces and not a national entity. It was governed from Stockholm, the capital of the Finnish provinces at the time. On the other hand, with the annexation of Finland to Russia in 1809, the latter acquired the status of an autonomous Grand Duchy. The Grand Duke is the Emperor of Russia, whose representative in Finland serves as Governor-General.

Finland’s highest political body is the Senate, whose members are Finnish. Matters relating to Finland are submitted to the Emperor in St. Petersburg by the Minister Secretary of State of Finland. Finland was therefore directly administered by the Emperor without the Russian authorities being able to interfere. History of Finland. 

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The enlightened Emperor Alexander I, Tsar of Russia and Grand Duke of Finland from 1809 to 1825, gave Finland broad autonomy by establishing the Finnish state. In 1812, Helsinki became the capital of Finland, and the University founded in Turku in 1640 moved to Helsinki in 1828.

The Finnish national movement progressed during the Russian period. The Finnish national epic, the Kalevala, compiled by Elias Lönnrot, was published in 1835.

The Linguistic Decree promulgated in 1863 by Alexander II marked the beginning of the process that would make Finnish an official administrative language. Although only one in 7 Finns is Swedish-speaking, Swedish will retain its dominant position until the beginning of the 20th century.

The Finnish Diet was convened in 1863 after more than half a century of interruption. From then on, the Sejm will meet regularly and real legislative work is being undertaken in Finland. The Conscription Act of 1878 provided Finland with its own army.

The eradication of “Finnish separatism”, in reality a policy of Russification, began during the “first period of oppression” (1899–1905) and continued during the second period (1909–1917). The Russian Revolution of 1905 offered Finland a brief respite, thanks to which a new legislative body to replace the old states was created in 1906. At the time, it was the most radical parliamentary reform in Europe, as Finland moved overnight from a four-state Diet to a unicameral parliament elected by universal suffrage. Finnish women were the first in Europe to obtain the right to vote in general elections.

When was Finland Founded

History of Finland Foundation: Historians have an interesting doctrinal dispute about the time of the birth of the Finnish state. Some people see the Finnish state as having been born in 1809, while others see the date of the birth of the Finnish state as dating back to somewhere around the mid-1800s. The former base their views on the Diet of Porvoo, which was held just in 1809, and on the generalization of the latter concept of the state in our language. For example, the State Railways was founded in the 1860s specifically as the railways of the Finnish state. Interesting!

Finland was founded on 6.12.1917: All this tells and proves that Finland did indeed exist as a state long before it became independent in 1917. At the same time, it signals that the existence of a state called Finland was threatened thanks to the Red Rebellion that emerged as a result of the independence process. Fortunately, this did not happen and Finland became part of the Finnish-Karelian Soviet Republic, which would have been the result of the rebellion, but our country and our people were allowed to develop their own independent state called Finland.

After the coup d’état carried out by the Bolsheviks led by V. I. Lenin in Russia in November 1917, the complete independence of Finland began to look even more likely. The Parliament approved Finland’s Declaration of Independence on 6.12.1917.

The recognition of Finland’s independence by the Bolshevik government of Russia was received in late December, and at the beginning of 1918 Finland was also recognized by Germany, France and Sweden.

Early Stages of Independence 1917–1945

Finland history timeline: Finland’s position in the early days of independence was fragile. Shortly after independence, a bloody civil war broke out in Finland. The war was fought between the Red Labor movement and white government forces. Whites received support from Germany and reds from Russia. The war ended in the victory of the whites.

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Finland was strongly influenced by Germany, as the Soviet Union became the greatest threat to national security. In the 1930s, many right-wing and far-right movements were popular in Finland, as elsewhere in Europe.

In August 1939, Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union agreed that Finland belonged to the Soviet Union. Finland fought twice during the Second World War against the Soviet Union on the German side. Finland lost both wars, but the Soviet Union never occupied Finland.

As Finland managed to defend its territory in wars soon after independence, Finland’s wars in the 20th century have been fought during the period when the independence of the Finnish state was established. History of Finland. 

Important events

1918 Civil War between Reds and Whites

1921 The Compulsory Education Act makes six-year elementary school compulsory for everyone

1939–1940 Finland becomes part of World War II when a winter war breaks out between Finland and the Soviet Union

1941–1944 World War II continues as a continuation war between Finland and the Soviet Union

History of Finland Reconstruction, Industrialization and the Cold War 1945-1991

Finland history timeline: As the loser of the war, Finland had to pay heavy war reparations to the Soviet Union. Trains, ships and raw materials, for example, were surrendered as war compensation. Finland financed the construction of goods with loans and grants. The production of war reparations developed Finland from agricultural land to industrial land. With industrialization, migration from rural to urban areas began.

An agreement on friendship, co-operation and mutual assistance was signed between Finland and the Soviet Union in 1948, according to which the states promised to defend each other against external threats. Finland was practically part of the Soviet Union’s sphere of interest throughout the Cold War, and its foreign and domestic policy was guided by Soviet fears. History of Finland. 

Important events in Finland time line.

  • 1948 YYA agreement between Finland and the Soviet Union.
  • 1952 Olympics in Helsinki.
  • 1968 The Finnish comprehensive school is established.

A Brief History of Modern Finland

Into Europe 1991

The collapse of the Soviet Union and economic growth based on loans in the 1980s caused a recession in Finland in the 1990s. The worst time of the recession was in the early 1990s, when there were many unemployed people in Finland, companies went bankrupt and state money was scarce. History of Finland. 

History of Finland Timeline
History of Finland Timeline

Around 1995, economic growth began in Finland, the most important company of which was the mobile phone manufacturer Nokia. Finland joined the EU in 1995 and was one of the first countries to adopt the euro as its currency. History of Finland. 

Important events

  • 1991 The worst economic crisis in Finnish history.
  • 1995 Finland joins the European Union.
  • 2000 Finland ranks No. 1 in children’s literacy in the first PISA survey.
  • 2002 The euro is introduced as a cash currency in Finland.
  • 2007 Nokia sells 40% of the world’s mobile phones.
Finland's Prime Minister Sanna Marin
Finland’s Prime Minister Sanna Marin

Presidents of the Republic of Finland

Kaarlo Juho Ståhlberg (1865–1952) 1919–1925
Lauri Kristian Relander (1883–1942) 1925–1931
Pehr Evind Svinhufvud (1861–1944) 1931–1937
Kyösti Kallio (1873–1940) 1937–1940
Risto Ryti (1889–1956) 1940–1944
Gustaf Mannerheim (1867–1951) 1944–1946
Juho Kusti Paasikivi (1870–1956) 1946–1956
Urho Kekkonen (1900–1986) 1956–1981
Mauno Koivisto (1923–2017) 1982–1994
Martti Ahtisaari (1937–) 1994–2000
Tarja Halonen (1943-) 2000-2012
Sauli Niinistö (1948-) 2012–


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