The First Crusade to Finland, launched by Swedes
and led by the English bishop Henry and the Swedish king Erik (later
canonized and made Sweden's patron saint, St.Erik, and Finland's
patron saint, St.Henry, respectively ).
According to the legend, bishop Henry is murdered by the
peasant Lalli on the frozen surface of lake Köyliö.
The bishop's seat is moved from Nousiainen to Koroinen in
the vicinity of modern Turku; the year is considered to be
the founding year of Turku, which becomes the capital of
the eastern half of the kingdom.
After a pagan uprising, the Second Crusade to
Tavastia (a province of western/central Finland) is launched by Birger
Jarl and the pagans are defeated.
The Third Crusade by Sweden's marsk
Torgils Knutsson to Karelia, a province of eastern Finland,
establishes the borderline between Catholic West and Orthodox East for
the centuries to come. The castle and town of Viipuri/Viborg are
founded to defend the border.
The peace of Nöteburg (Pähkinäsaari) between Sweden
and Russia. Finland's eastern border is defined for the first time.
The first Swedish national law replaced the local
Finns receive the right to participate in the
election of the king.
The era of the Kalmar Union, with Finland,
Sweden, Denmark Norway and Iceland united as a single kingdom.
War against Russia. During a siege of Viipuri,
just as the Russians are about to get over the city walls, St.
Andrew's cross appears in the sky and the frightened Russians flee
from battle. In reality, what happened was probably the exploding of a
Reformation. Finland becomes Lutheran with the rest of Sweden.
Helsinki founded by Gustav Vasa, but remains little more
than a fishing village for more than two centuries.
Mikael Agricola, a bishop of Turku, publishes his translation of the New Testament in Finnish.
The peace of Täyssinä (Teusina); Finland's borders are
moved further east and north.
The Cudgel War.
Karelia joined into Finland in the peace treaty of
Stolbova ending a hundred years of almost continuous wars with Russia.
Finns fight in the Thirty Years' War in the
continent. The Finnish cavalry, known as hakkapeliittas, spreads fear
among the Catholic troops who're used to more orderly warfare.
1637-40 and 1648-54
Count Per Brahe as the general
governor of Finland. Many and important reforms are made, towns are
founded, etc. His period is generally considered very beneficial to
the development of Finland.
Finland's first university founded in Turku.
The whole Bible is finally published on Finnish.
Russia occupies Finland during the Great
Northern War. The period of the so called "Great Wrath".
The peace of Uusikaupunki gives Karelia to Russia.
The "War of the Hats". Adventurous politics by
the "Hat" party leads to a new disastrous war with Russia and a new
occupation of Finland, known as "The Lesser Wrath", which ends in the
peace treaty of Turku in 1743.
Storskifte, first reform of Swedish
The liberty of Press and
"Offentlighetsprincipen" was declared as constitution.
"The War of Finland". Russia attacks Finland in Feb. 1808 without a
declaration of war; Finnish troops retreat all the way to Oulu, which
forces Russians to leave a large part of their army as occupation
forces, giving the Swedish general Klingspor superiority in force. A
reconquest starts in June and Klingspor receives several victories;
however, the baffling surrender of the mighty Sveaborg / Suomenlinna
fortress on May 3rd and the fresh Russian troops received in autumn of
1808 force the Swedish-Finnish troops to retreat all the way to
Härnösand in Sweden. Once again Russia occupies Finland.
In the diet of Porvoo, while the war still goes on, the
Finnish estates swear an oath of loyalty to Emperor
Alexander I, who grants Finland a status of an autonomous
Grand Duchy, retaining its old constitution and religion.
A few months later the peace treaty of Hamina (Fredrikshamn)
is signed and Finland becomes under Russian rule.
Helsinki, being closer to Russia than the
Swedish-oriented Turku, is made the new capital. Karelia is joined to
the Grand Duchy as an act of goodwill.
Finland prospers under the extensive autonomy
and more liberal conditions than in the rest of Russian Empire.
National identity and nationalism awakens.
The great fire of Turku destroys most of the former capital.
The university is moved to Helsinki.
The first publication of the Kalevala, the Finnish
national epic. It was collected by Elias
Lönnrot from traditional Karelian
oral poetry, and became the most important source of inspiration to
Finnish nationalists when it appeared in its final form in 1849.
The first railway, between Helsinki and Hämeenlinna.
Finnish becomes, alongside with Swedish and Russian, an
Russia starts a Russification policy of Finland with the
so called "February manifesto". After the initial shock and
disbelief, a well-organized passive resistance follows.
The dictatorical general governor and active adherent of
Russification of Finland, Nikolai Bobrikov, is assassinated
by the young clerk Eugen Schauman.
Finnish women receive the right to vote and to run for
parliament. Finland was the first country in Europe (and
second in the world, after New Zealand) to grant women an
equal right to vote in elections. The Finnish diet, which
up until now had been a system of four estates (nobility,
clergy, merchantry, peasantry), becomes a unicameral
parliament and a universal suffrage is declared.
As Russia plunges into the chaos of the October Revolution,
Finland seizes the opportunity and declares independence
on the 6th of December.
The Continuation War; Finland attacks the Soviet Union with
Germany, hoping to regain the lost areas, but eventually has to accept
the borders of 1940 and, and also cede Pechenga, lease Porkkala
peninsula as a military base for 50 years (SU returns it already in
1956) and pay war reparations.
The War of
Lapland. As a part of the peace treaty, Finland has to force all
German troops to leave Finland. Germans put up a fight and burn much
of Finnish Lapland as they retreat.
Paris peace treaty. Finland assumes a policy of careful
neutrality (e.g declining to receive Marshall aid) and
realpolitik, taking into account Finland's geographical
location next to the USSR. This policy becomes known as
the Paasikivi-Kekkonen line.
So called "Years of Danger" ("vaaran vuodet") when a
communist takeover was hanging in the air. Some leading
Finnish communists proclaimed that the "Czechoslovakian
model" was to be Finland's future as well. This ends in
the signing of the Treaty of Friendship, Co-operation
and Mutual Assistance ("YYA" is the Finnish acronym)
with the Soviet Union in 1948. In it, Finland among other
things commits itself to defend its territory against
Germany or any other country allied with Germany that might
use Finland as a way to attack Soviet Union. The treaty
guarantees Finland's sovereignty in the years to follow,
but places Finland in between the two blocs of the Cold War,
trying hard to please both sides.
"Finlandization" era. Finland remains an independent western
European democracy, but falls into exaggerations in keeping
the eastern neighbour pleased. On the other hand, the
bilateral trade arrangements with the Soviet Union are very
beneficial to Finnish economy, which make possible the
emergence of Finland as a rich welfare state.
The Olympic Games held in Helsinki.
Finland joins the United Nations and the Nordic Council.
A time of intensive urbanization, Finland turns from a
predominantly agrarian state into an urban one almost
"overnight". This results in severe unemployment, and large
numbers of Finns emigrate to Sweden in search of jobs.
Finland signs a free trade treaty with the EEC (a precedent
of the European Union), but remains outside the community.
The first CSCE conference in held in Helsinki. The "spirit
of Helsinki" becomes to epitomize the process of detente
between East and West after the Cold War era.
Finland becomes a full member of EFTA (European Free Trade
Association). A special FINEFTA customs treaty had been in
effect already since 1961.
Finland becomes a member of the European Council.
On 16th of October Finns voted YES (57% vs. 43% NO) to
membership in the European Union; the parliament ratified
the result after a long filibustering campaign by the
As of January 1st, Finland became a full member in the EU.
For a list of kings and queens of Sweden-Finland, see Part 7
of the FAQ, section 7.3.1.
Grand Dukes of the Grand Duchy of Finland
Alexander I (1809-25)
Nicholas I (1825-55)
Alexander II (1855-81)
Alexander III (1881-94)
Nicholas II (1894-1917)
Regents of the period of Civil War
Pehr Evind Svinhufvud (1918)
Carl Gustav Emil Mannerheim (1918-19)
Presidents of the republic of Finland
Kaarlo Juho Ståhlberg (1919-25)
Lauri Kristian Relander (1925-31)
Pehr Evind Svinhufvud (1931-37)
Kyösti Kallio (1937-40)
Risto Heikki Ryti (1940-44)
Carl Gustaf Emil Mannerheim (1944-46)
Juho Kusti Paasikivi (1946-56)
Urho Kaleva Kekkonen (1956-81)
Mauno Henrik Koivisto (1982-94)
Martti Oiva Kalevi Ahtisaari (1994-00)
Tarja Halonen (2000- )
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