Finland is a country rich in tradition, culture and pride. Its history is very diverse. Although Finns have experienced wars, disease and oppression, the Finnish people have also celebrated hard won victories, triumphed over adversity and developed a strong sense of nationalistic pride that has taken Finland from a land of farms and forests to the modern industrial economy it is today. Provided below is just a very brief overview of some historically significant events from Finnish history.
Finland was a province and then a Grand Duchy under Sweden from the 12th century to the 19th century. Finland was then an autonomous Grand Duchy under Russia until 1917, when Finland declared its independence. Following its Declaration of Independence from Russia, Finland was involved in a civil war and wars against the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany.
The Finnish Famine
From 1866-1868, Finland suffered from SUURET NALKAVUODET “the great hunger years.” During this Finnish Famine, 15% of the country’s population died. To learn more about the famine, click here
“The Kalevala” is a book and epic poem regarded as the National Epic of Finland. It is based on Finnish and Karelian folklore. “The Kalevala” is credited for the national awakening that ultimately led to the Finn’s independence from Russia in 1917. Learn more about “The Kalevala.”
The Winter War
The Winter War began November 30, 1939 when Stalin’s Soviet Union invaded Finland, 3 months after Germany invaded Poland beginning WWII. The Finn’s defended their country much to the Soviet’s surprise, before finally signing the Moscow Peace Treaty in March of 1940. The Winter War is a fascinating period in Finnish history. It demonstates the Finn’s indominatable spirit and tenacity. Learn more about the Winter War.
The Continuation War
Finland again fought the Soviet Union from June 25, 1941 to September 19th, 1944 in what is known as the Continuation War. Learn more about the Continuation War.