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FinlandIn English the country of Finland has questionable origins, but the term has been used to refer to the people and lands since at least the 1200s.

In Finnish, the country name is Suomi and again this name has questionable origins. Numerous theories abound and none seem to have significant supporting evidence to stake their claim. The name may originate from the Proto-Baltic languages, Indo-European languages, or the Uralic languages (which includes Finnish and Sami).



The Finnish people are incredibly unique in this world and that begins with their ethnicity, language, and historic lifestyle. These former nomads emigrated from Central Asia and brought with them numerous cultural traits from this past. Even after arriving to Europe thousands of years ago the Finns maintained their nomadic lifestyle and clung to their historic language, but today the only real remnant from this time for most of the people is the language.

In addition to the ethnic Finns, the Sami people shared many cultural and lifestyle traits and even today many of the Sami are semi-nomadic or cling to cultural ties to this past as reindeer herding is still practiced by some people. However, both the Sami and Finns have changed dramatically and today these people are very similar culturally to much of Europe.

In the 1200s the Swedes took over the lands and introduced Christianity. The Swedes, as well as the later Russians introduced changes to the culture, some accepted, but many others were rejected. However, Christianity and settlement were two things that stuck as the nomadic lifestyle was quickly lost, although the people generally continued to live off the lands and seas in other ways. These two foreign powers also regularly fought with each other and fought over Finland, giving the Finns and Sami people stronger independent identities.

These foreign struggles continued through the early 1900s as Finland found itself between the Russians, Swedes, and the Germans from war to war. However, this also magnified the Finnish and Sami identities as the people sought different allies and a changing lifestyle that came with the Industrial Revolution.

Since gaining full independence, Finland has adopted new technologies as the culture and lifestyle have changed dramatically. Cities have grown and the economy has shifted as has the lifestyle. The architecture, clothing, and technology reflect that of Europe, but the language and ethnicity remain rooted in their past. Despite past foreign influences that were rejected by the people, today the country is becoming more and more multi-cultural and accepting of these differences. Immigrants own local restaurants and shops that add international flair and most locals use English to communicate with these immigrants, making some parts of Finland, including neighborhoods in Helsinki incredible diverse and adaptable.

Finland's flag is white for the snows that cover the land, and blue for the many lakes that dot the country. The style of the flag is likely modeled after that of Denmark's flag.

Name: Republic of Finland
Independence: December 6, 1917
Capital: Helsinki
Currency: Euro
Population: 5,266,114 (2013 estimate)
Ethnicity: Finn
Language: Finnish & Swedish
Religion: Lutheran Church of Finland

Information for Finland was last updated: March, 2014 ● View our: Sources & Special Thanks