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Influences On Finland By Russia And Sweden And The New Identity Of Finland Since Its Independence.

2518 words - 10 pages

Focus on Finland and the Northern DimensionMonica Rodriguez PazTourismINFLUENCES ON FINLANDI). - A BRIEF VIEW ON ITS HISTORYTHE SWEDISH REIGNUntil the middle of the 12th century, the geographical area that is now Finland was a political vacuum, and interesting to both its western neighbour Sweden and its eastern neighbour Russia. The western and southern parts of Finland were tied to Sweden and the Western European cultural sphere, while eastern Finland, i.e. Karelia, became part of the Russo-Byzantine world.As a consequence of Swedish domination, the Swedish legal and social systems took root in Finland. Finland's most important centre was the town of Turku, founded in the middle of the 13th century. It was also the Bishop's seat. In 1362, Finns were given the right to send representatives to the election of the king in Sweden, and in the 16th century this right was extended to include representation in the Swedish Diet.The Reformation started by Luther in the early 16th century also reached Sweden and Finland, and the Catholic Church consequently lost out to the Lutheran faith.During its period as a great power (1617-1721), Sweden extended its realm around the Baltic and managed, due to the weakness of Russia, to push the Finnish border further east. With consolidation of the administration in Stockholm, uniform Swedish rule was extended to Finland in the 17th century. Swedes were often appointed to high offices in Finland, which strengthened the position of the Swedish language in Finland.FINLAND A GRAND DUCHY OF RUSSIAWhen Sweden lost its position as a great power in the early 18th century, Russian pressure on Finland increased, and Russia conquered Finland in the 1808-1809 war withWhen Finland was joined to Russia in 1809 it became an autonomous Grand Duchy. The Grand Duke was the Russian Emperor, whose representative in Finland was the Governor General.Finland's highest governing body was the Senate, whose members were Finns, but the administration of Finland was handled directly by the Emperor and the Russian authorities were therefore unable to interfere.The enlightened Russian Emperor Alexander I, who was Grand Duke of Finland in 1809-1825, gave Finland extensive autonomy thereby creating the Finnish state. The Lutheran Church retained its position in Finland, and so did Swedish as the official language of the country. In 1812, Helsinki was made the capital of Finland, and the University, which had been founded in Turku in 1640, was moved to Helsinki in 1828.During the reign of Alexander Ill (1881-1894) and particularly of Nicholas II (1894-1917), nationalist circles in Russia gained increased influence. Finland was a state within a state, with its own Senate and its own Diet, its own local officials, legislation, army, money (the mark) and postage stamps. And to top it all off, Finland was separated from the Empire by an official border.The obliteration of 'Finnish separatism', a policy also known as Russification, started during the...

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