Finland (Finnish Suomi or Suomenmaa, 'the land of fens and lakes'), a grand-duchy annexed to Russia in 1809, which, though nominally enjoying administrative autonomy, has (since 1890 especially) been deprived of many of its most cherished privileges. Finland, which from the 13th to the 19th century belonged to Sweden, lies between 60°-70° N. lat. and 20°-32° E. long. Area, 144,255 sq. m. (a sixth larger than the United Kingdom); pop. (1901) 2,744,952, of whom 2,353,000 were of the native Finnish race, 350,000 Scandinavians, 6000 Russians, and the rest Germans and Lapps. All but 50,000 Greek and 500 Roman Catholics are Lutherans. The inhabitants of Helsingfors, the capital (pop. 97,051), are mostly of Swedish descent, as is also the case at Abo (39,238), and all along the south and west coasts. About 80 per cent. are agriculturists, mostly peasant-proprietors. The coast is much indented, and studded with thousands of small islands, whilst the interior of the country is dotted with countless lakes, some of vast size, and mostly connected with each other naturally or artificially by means of canals. About 12 per cent. of the total area is occupied by lakes, and 15 per cent. by marsh and bog. The largest of the lakes - besides Lake Ladoga, of which part belongs to Russia - are Lakes Saima, Enare, Kemi, Ulea, and Paijanne. The Saima consists of 120 large lakes and several thousand smaller ones, all connected, and having a natural outlet into Lake Ladoga, over the famous Imatra Falls or Rapids - the finest in Europe both from the scenery and volume of water. Lake Saima is likewise connected with the Gulf of Finland by means of a splendid canal 36 miles long, with twenty-eight locks for a fall of 250 feet. The highest mountain is Haldefjall, in Lapland (4126 feet high), near the frontier of Norway. From the lack of mountain-ranges, the rivers are unimportant, the principal being the Kemi and Ulea in the north, and the Kymmene in the south. In spite of rocks and rapids, they are well suited for floating logs from the forests of the interior, they drive many mills, and are also rich in fish. The forests cover three-fifths of the land-surface, and more than half of them belong to the state. Of cereals, rye is the most grown, then barley, oats, and wheat; this latter, however, rarely ripens beyond lat. 61°. The potato flourishes as far north as lat. 69°. Among wild animals we find the bear, wolf, fox, lynx, ermine, otter, and hare; the elk and beaver are now rare. Seals are plentiful along the coast, as also in the Saima and Ladoga lakes. Reindeer are employed in the far north. Finnish horses are remarkable for their speed, hardihood, and docility. Of birds there are 211 species, and of fish 80 species. The climate of Finland is very rigorous in winter, even on the south coast, where 20° and 25° below zero (Fahrenheit) are often registered ; but it is generally healthy, and, owing to the proximity of the sea, it is far milder than North Russia. The summer, though short, is occasionally very hot in June and July. The ground is generally covered with snow from the middle of November till April; then follows a brief spring, accompanied by a rapid growth of vegetation. The emperors of Russia are grand-dukes of Finland. The country is governed by the grand-duke, the senate, and the diet. The senate consists of 20 members, appointed by the grand-duke from among his Finnish subjects. The diet consists of four chambers - nobles, clergy, burgesses, and peasantry; the nobles having hereditary legislative rights, whilst the others are elected by constituents. In the end of 1905 the emperor restored Finnish autonomy and the powers that had been withdrawn from the native senate and diet; in 1899-1903 a series of edicts transferred some of the powers of the senate to the governor-general, introduced the Russian military system, and made Russian (to the general still a quite unknown tongue) an official language along with Finnish and Swedish (the latter the literary language of the educated). Education in Finland is, taking all things into consideration, very advanced, upwards of 90 per cent. of the population being able to read and write; the university of Helsingfors has about 2500 students.
The railways of Finland have a total length of 4723 miles. The revenue in 1903 was £3,858,157, whilst the expenditure left a large balance. The public debt of Finland amounted in 1903 to £5,367,300, nearly all expended on public works, education, and the like, and is more than balanced by the state property. Finland has a thriving commercial marine. The value of the exports (timber, butter, paper being the most important) in 1902 was £4,100,000. The imports amounted to £5,396,000, the chief items being cereals, iron and steel, coffee, textiles, and sugar. Nearly half of Finland's trade is with Russia; Germany being second, and Great Britain third on the list. Large quantities of iron are found in Finland, and copper, tin, silver, and gold exist. Physically the Finns proper are a strong, hardy race, with round faces, square shoulders, fair hair, and blue eyes, though intermarriage with Scandinavians and Russians has in many cases caused variations. Ethnographically they belong to the Ugro-Finnic (Mongolian) stock, and their language is akin to that of the Lapps, the Voguls and Ostiaks in Siberia, and the Magyars in Hungary. Their chief literary monument is the Kalevala, an ancient epic poem composed of innumerable popular traditions and songs in the rhythm imitated by Longfellow in Hiawatha.
See the Kalevala translated by J. M. Crawford (1888); J. C. Brown, The People of Finland in Archaic Times (1893); works on Finland in French or German by Koskinen (1863), Ignatius (1878), Jonas (1886), 'Fisher (1899), De Windt (1902), and Frederiksen (1902).
Finland, Gulf of, the eastern arm of the Baltic Sea, receives the waters of the great lakes Onega and Ladoga, and is shallow and only very slightly salt. The navigation on the northern or Finnish coast is very dangerous, on account of the numerous islands and shoals.