Finland Brief History

Finland Brief History

From the beginning of the Christian era, the Lapps, the first residents of the territory, were pushed northwards by the Finnish populations who occupied the region between the Gulf of Bothnia and the White Sea. The tribes, called Suomi, organized themselves into a network of farms, long exposed to the political-military actions of the Swedes and Russians. After the settlement in the 6th century. of colonies of Swedish traders, Erik IX the Saint, king of Sweden (1157 ca.) is attributed the paternity of a crusade in Finland, strengthened by the Church in the 13th century. to oppose the Russians of Novgorod, committed to converting Karelia to Orthodox Christianity. The political conquest of the territory followed: in 1293 the Swedes built a fortified outpost in Viborg (od. Viipuri), which the Russians considered their territory; the peace of Pähkinälinna (1323) established the Swedish membership of the eastern border, from the Isthmus of Karelia to the Gulf of Bothnia. In the 14th century. Swedish law and administration were introduced and from 1362 Finland participated in the election of the king. The colonization formed a social structure of a feudal character, with an administrative organization, at the head of which was a member of the royal family awarded the title of Duke of Finland. The Church, represented by the bishop of Åbo (od. Turku) who adhered to the Reformation (1520), started, with the version of the New Testament of bishop Michael Agricola (1548), to the national literary tradition. In the 16th -19th century. various social and dynastic conflicts developed which undermined political stability and Swedish dominance: from the 18th century. Finnish borders shrunk in favor of the Russians; Finnish nationalism was born, and the war of 1788-90 strengthened the independence movement.

According to topschoolsintheusa, the Napoleonic war of 1808 ended with the admission of Finland as a Grand Duchy to the Russian Empire, albeit with the granting of a large autonomy by Tsar Alexander I (treaty of Hamina, 1809). The Finland had the lands ceded by Sweden in the 18th century. and the capital was moved to Helsinki (1812); moreover, he kept the Constitution (which was in fact the Swedish Constitution of 1772, amended in 1789) and the diet (made up of 4 states), proceeding in the development of a national-based administrative organization that favored the formation of a national identity Finnish. Opposition to the Russification policy undertaken by Tsar Alexander III led to the establishment of a modern Parliament which became de facto self-governing body in the perspective of national independence, proclaimed unilaterally in 1917. This, recognized by the Soviet government, was followed by a violent internal political confrontation between Bianchi and Rossi, respectively supported by Germans and Soviets, which resulted in a bloody civil war, which ended with the victory of the Whites in 1918; in 1919 the republican constitution was proclaimed. In the 1920s and 1930s domestic politics was marked by tensions which saw the affirmation of a strong right-wing anti-democratic movement and the outlawing of the Communist Party; in foreign policy, Finland followed a line of neutrality, intensifying contacts with the Scandinavian countries.

In the Second World War, Finland, attacked by the USSR (1939), allied itself with Germany and in 1941 managed to occupy a large part of Karelia; all the conquered territories were subsequently lost and with the Peace of Paris (1947) the Finland had to give the territory of Petsamo, the Isthmus of Karelia, the territory N of Lake Ladoga to the USSRand a strip of land along the eastern border. In domestic politics, in the immediate post-war period the problems relating to reconstruction and industrial reconversion had particular prominence, accentuated by the high expenses for repairs and the immigration of about 300,000 residents from Karelia. In those years political crises of a certain gravity were frequent, also due to the discovery of an attempted coup d’état (1948). Since then, coalitions of parties have alternated with the government, now center-right now center-left, in the majority of cases including the two major parties – the Agrarian Union (since 1965 Center Party) and the Finnish Social Democratic Party – to which they have joined alternatively the Finnish People’s Democratic League and the National Coalition Party.The political elections of April 2015 saw the victory of the centrist J. Sipila, who received 21.2% of the votes, and 49 of the 200 seats in Parliament, against 18.2% (37 seats) won by the prime minister outgoing, the conservative A. Stubb. In March 2019, one month before the general elections, the premier resigned due to the failure to approve a package of social and health reforms; the consultations, held in April, recorded the success of the Social Democratic Party of A. Rinne, which scored 17.7% against the 17.5% awarded by the right of the True Finns. The party of premier-designate Rinne nevertheless placed itself as the third political force in the country in the European elections held in May 2019, receiving 14.7% of the preferences against the 20.7% awarded by the conservatives of the National Coalition Party, followed by the Greens. (15.9%).

Having assumed the office of premier in the following June, in December 2019 Rinne – disheartened by his government allies – resigned, succeeding S. Marin.

Presidents of the Republic were CGE Mannerheim, JK Paasikivi, UK Kekkonen, MH Koivisto, M. Ahtisaari (Nobel Peace Prize in 2008), T. Halonen (reconfirmed in 2006) and the conservative S. Niinistö, who in February 2012 won the ballot against the opponent P. Haavisto, former Minister of the Environment, obtaining 62.6% of the votes, and was reconfirmed in the first round of the presidential elections held in January 2018 with 62.7% of the votes, while in ‘April of the following year, the political elections were narrowly won by the Social Democrats, who received 17.7% of the votes against the17.5% won by the right-wing Perussuomalaiset (True Finns) party. On the level of international politics, in the postwar period the Finland followed a line of neutrality between the blocs, becoming a member of the United Nations in 1955 and associating itself in the same year with the Scandinavian countries through the Nordic Council, while maintaining close relations with the USSR before, with Russia then. The process of European integration, moreover supported by both the Social Democrats and the centrists, resulted in the decision of the Parliament, approved by referendum, to join the European Union starting from 1995 (in 2002 the EUR).

Finland held the presidency of the Council of the European Union from 1 July to 31 December 2019.

Finland Brief History