Historical Timeline

  • 100,000 BC to 1,100 AD: Prehistoric Finland
  • 1150s to 1721: Sweden rules Finland
  • 12th Century: King Erik of Sweden and Bishop Henry of Upsala introduce Christianity to Finland . Turku became the ecclesiastical headquarers.
  • 1523-1560: The reign of Gustavus Vasa as King of Sweden . He seized the properties of the Catholic Church and led the Protestant Reformation , resulting in the beginnings of the Finnish Lutheran church
  • 1548: New Testament and Prayer Book were translated into Finnish by Michael Agricola, later Bishop of Turku . These were the first publication in the Finnish language .
  • 1628: Finns settled at the present site of Wilmington, Delaware .
  • 1721: At the end of the Great Northern War, Sweden cedes South Eastern Finland to Russia
  • 1808 to 1809: Sweden is defeated by Russia in the Finnish War and loses Finland, which becomes an autonomous Grand Duchy with the Czar as its ruler.
  • 1812: The territory known to Russia as " old Finland" is joined to the Grand Duchy. In the same year, Helsinki (Helsingfors) is declared capital of Finland.
  • 1835: Publication of the first edition of the Kalevala, the Finnish national epic, compiled and edited by Elias Lönnrot. An enlarged edition appears in 1849.
  • 1860: Finland acquires its own currency, the markka or Finnish mark.
  • 1860s: Sawmilling begins to flourish and the paper industry starts to develop.
  • 1863: Finland's own legislature convenes. Emperor Alexander II decrees that Finnish is to have equal status with Swedish as a language of administration. The decree is to have the force of law within 20 years
  • 1899: In the opinion of many Finns the Russian Emperor Nicholas II breaks his promise to uphold the Finnish Constitution when the so-called February Manifesto is issued. Finns oppose the manifesto, which they think will erode their autonomous position. A period of resistance begins and lasts until independence is attained in 1917.
  • 1902: More than 23,000 Finns apply for passports to America. This is the crest of the wave, which brought over 320,000 Finns to the United States and Canada in 1864-1914.
  • 1906: The Grand Duchy of Finland was the first European state to give women the right to vote (14 years before the U.S).
  • 1917: Revolution in Russia; Finland declares itself independent on December 6; Russia's Bolshevik government recognises Finnish independence on December 31.
  • 1919: Finland adopts a new republican form of government and K.J. Ståhlberg becomes the country's first president.
  • 1926: Finland's first Social Democratic government takes office.
  • 1932: Finland and the Soviet Union sign a non-aggression pact.
  • 1939 to 1940: The Red Army attacks Finland. In the Winter War the Finnish defence forces, commanded by Marshal C.G. Mannerheim, though greatly outnumbered, fight alone against the Soviet would-be invaders for 105 days. Finland's stubborn resistance against a fifty-times larger nation seizes the attention of the world press, which writes about the "Miracle of the Winter War". In the ensuing peace of Moscow, Finland is forced to cede a large part of the Viipuri province, in the south-east.
  • 1941 to 1944: Fighting resumes in the Continuation War, during which a defiant Finland aligns itself with Germany against the Soviet Union in order to regain the lost territory. Finland takes the view that it is a cobelligerent with Germany but fighting a separate war that coincides with, but is not part of, the conflict between Germany and the Soviet Union. Nazi ideology is firmly rejected in Finland despite German efforts to promote it.
  • 1944: An armistice agreement is signed in Moscow in September
  • 1944 to 1945: War in Lapland. In accordance with the peace terms agreed with Russia, Finland drives some 200,000 German soldiers out of Finnish Lapland and into neighbouring Norway.
  • 1952: Helsinki hosted the 1952 Summer Olympics , the Olympic debut of Israel and the Soviet Union
  • 1948: Finland and the Soviet Union sign a Treaty of Friendship, Co-operation and Mutual Assistance.
  • 1955: Finland joins the United Nations and the Nordic Council.
  • 1973: Finland signs a free-trade agreement with the EEC.
  • 1991: Finnish student Linus Torvalds writes the computer operating system that becomes known as Linux.
  • 1995: Finland becomes a member of the European Union