The New International Encyclopædia/Finland
FIN′LAND (Fin. Suomenmaa, land of lakes and marshes). A grand duchy of Russia, extending from about latitude 60° to about 70° N., and lying between longitudes 20° 30′ and 33° E. (Map: Russia, C 2). Its extreme length is 700 miles from north to south. The greatest breadth is about 400 miles. Finland is bordered on the north by Norwegian Lapland, on the east by Russia proper, on the south by the Gulf of Finland, and on the west by the Gulf of Bothnia and Sweden. It includes part of Russian Lapland. It has an area of 142,000 square miles, of which about 35 per cent. is forest (including many moors and morasses); over 11 per cent. is occupied by lakes; about 3 per cent. is arable; and about 5 per cent. is in meadow. Finland has been called the ‘Land of the Thousand Lakes.’ Among its largest lakes are Kalla, Päyänne, Enare, Torneå, Hauki, and Saima. The last of these, about 180 miles long, is the centre of the system of water communication between the central part of the country and the Gulf of Finland. Lake Ladoga indents the southeast corner. The surface of Finland in general is a tableland rising from 400 to 600 feet above the level of the sea, with occasional elevations reaching about 2000 feet. In the extreme northwest an altitude of about 4100 feet is reached in Haldischok. The rivers are unimportant, the chief being the Muonio, which flows between Finland and Sweden, the Kemi, and the Uleå. The coastline is generally low, skirted in the south by numerous rocky islands.
The Crown forests are extensive, yielding the Government a considerable income. The forest tree are mainly conifers. Oaks and other leaf trees are found in the southern portion. In the northern section the vegetation is that of the Arctic tundras. The chief mammals are bears, wolves, lynxes, gluttons, foxes, elk, and reindeer. Game-birds and water-fowl abound, as well as fish, principally herring and salmon.
Climate. The climate of Finland is rigorous but healthful, marked by long winters and short but hot summers. It lies within the zone of cyclones and anticyclones, which pass over northern Europe from west to east at intervals of two or three days throughout the year, and give variability to the winds and weather. The mean annual temperature varies between the southern and the northern boundary from 40° F. to 34° F., ranging from 20° F. to 8° F. in January, and from 64° F. to 62° F. in July. The extreme range of temperature is about 110° to 115° F. The prevailing winds in winter are from the south and southwest, and in summer from the north, northwest, and west. The amount of rainfall varies from 10 inches in the northern to 25 inches in the southern part, being greatest during August. The degree of cloudiness varies from 50 per cent. at the south to 72 per cent. at the north.
Geology and Mineral Resources. In its geological structure Finland is closely related to the Scandinavian Peninsula. Granite and Archaean rocks predominate, overlain by glacial materials. The granite is extensively quarried for building-stone. Bog-iron ore and copper are the only metallic minerals of importance. The former occurs in marshes and in the numerous lakes, while the copper-mines are located at Pikäranta on Lake Ladoga.
Agriculture. Owing to the northern situation and the very limited cultivable area, as well as the primitive methods employed. Finland's home supply of agricultural products falls far short of the demand. In 1896 the number of land-holdings was 117,704, of which 2694 embraced over 250 acres each, and 32,162 less than 12½ acres. In other words, the proportion of large landholders is small. The influence of the landed aristocracy as a class, once considerable, has greatly waned since the law of 1863-64, which enables every citizen to buy tax-exempted land from the nobility. There are 70,000 tenants, partly on private and partly on Government land. The State owns about one-third of the whole area, and rents land on very advantageous terms, giving lessees every reasonable opportunity for purchase. Rent of private lands is paid mostly in labor. Though the laws governing the relations between tenant and landlord leave much to be desired, the condition of tenants was perhaps better during the last century than that of the average in the countries of Europe. After Finland became a Russian duchy, its agriculture underwent a significant change. Owing to the excess of pasture over arable land, the dairying industry has always been more or less important, but prior to 1850 agriculture in Finland meant chiefly the raising of rye, corn, oats, barley, and potatoes. Since then dairy products have become more prominent, and the use of machinery in their production, introduced by the example of owners of the larger estates and followed by the coöperative societies, is now very general. Finland exports annually about $6,000,000 of animal products, chiefly butter. The live stock of the country in 1899 numbered 308,486 horses, 1,457,423 cattle, 1,031,185 sheep, 214,206 swine. 119,917 reindeer, and 9083 goats. In the development of its fisheries, as well as of its live stock interests, the country has greatly advanced.
Manufactures. Naturally Finland is not favorably situated for manufacturing, although the numerous streams offer an abundant supply of power. During the period of 1887-98, however, the number of manufacturing establishments grew from 5615 to 7787 (39 per cent. gain); the number of workmen employed increased from 43,085 to 91,055 (111 per cent.); and the value of products, exclusive of flour, rose from about $22,500,000 to about $56,700,000 (150 per cent.). The chief manufactured products are lumber and wooden articles (about 25 per cent.), iron products, mechanical appliances, etc. (15 per cent.), textiles (12 per cent.), paper (10 per cent.), leather (7 per cent.). By far the leading export is timber, the value of which for 1900 was about $22,780,000.
Commerce and Transportation. Respecting commerce Finland has been practically independent of Russia. The Finnish manufacturer gets his material much cheaper than the Russian, hence has been able to compete with the latter even in the Russian market. The great difference between the prices on certain manufactures in Finland and in Russia has led to extensive smuggling. These difficulties, however, are being rapidly overcome under the measure instituted by the Czar in 1897, which provides that all articles of Russian origin, except spirits, sugar, salt, tobacco, and beer, are admitted free to Finland; all agricultural and hand-made articles from Finland are passed free into Russia; all products of the principal industries are liable to differential duties; the remainder are treated in the same way as foreign products. Finland's annual imports increased during 1890-1900 from $28,120,000 to $54,151,000, and its exports from $18,480,000 to $39,546,000. The imports comprise chiefly foodstuffs, metal products, and textiles. About 15 per cent. of the exports consist of animal products, mostly butter, and about 60 per cent. of wood products, including paper and pulp. The trade is mainly with Russia, Germany, Great Britain, Denmark, and Sweden, named in the order of their importance. The transportation facilities are fully adequate to the demands of the country. Its even surface greatly facilitates the construction of common roads, of which there are over 30,000 miles. The numerous lakes are utilized freely for transportation, and, joined by short canals, they afford continuous waterways. The first railway in Finland was completed in 1862—a line of about 88 miles between Helsingfors and Tavastehus. In 1900 there were about 1800 miles, of which only about 170 miles were owned by private companies. The State lines are well managed, and their income forms an important item in the budget.
Finance and Banking. The budget of Finland reached the sum of $17,500,000 at the end of the nineteenth century. The largest expenditures were for public works (mainly railroads), administration and service of the debt, worship and education, and military affairs. The income usually exceeds the expenditures by from $4,000,000 to $5,500,000. The public debt, contracted exclusively for railway construction, amounted at the beginning of 1901 to about $22,300,000, held mostly at 3 and 3½ per cent. interest. Finland has a gold standard, and the unit of value is the mark or markka, equivalent to 19.3 cents, the same as the French franc. The chief financial concern is the Bank of Finland, a State institution established in 1811, and by means of which most of the financial undertakings of the State are carried out. The first savings bank was established in 1823. In 1898 there were altogether 174 savings banks, mostly private, but under the supervision of the State, with 124,254 depositors, and deposits amounting to 75,139,173 marks; or about 28 marks per inhabitant.
Government. The position of Finland in the Russian Empire was until recently that of a dependency, with its own constitution, and practically autonomy in its internal affairs, all diplomatic relations, however, being carried on by the Empire. The executive department consists of the Senate (which meets at Helsingfors), whose members are nominated by the Emperor (the Grand Duke of Finland), the Governor General, and the State's Secretariat for Finland at Saint Petersburg. The national Diet is composed of nobles, clergy, burghers, and peasants. The Finnish Army, according to the provisions of the defense law of 1878, could not be required to serve outside of Finland, and was under the command of Finnish officers. The autonomy of Finland has, however, been practically suppressed by the Emperor, his policy being calculated to reduce the country to the condition of a Russian province (see History below). The Diet, while permitted to go through the forms of legislating and of treating with Russia, has really been robbed of its rights. The Czar has assumed the rôle of supreme ruler, communicating his sovereign will by means of edicts.
Population and Religion. The population of Finland numbered 2,060,782 in 1880, 2,380,140 in 1890, and 2,673,200 in 1899, or about 19 per square mile. The females exceeded the males in 1899 by about 30,024, and the urban population formed only about 11.2 per cent. of the total. The chief cities and their populations (1897) are: Helsingfors (the capital), 88,711; Åbo, 36,898; Tammerfors, 34,148; and Viborg, 25,235. As regards religion, in 1899 there were 2,620,891 Lutherans, 48,812 Greek Orthodox, 2620 Baptists, 560 Roman Catholics, and 300 Methodists. The language of the country is Finnish, although Swedish is spoken by the higher classes, in addition to the Swedes, who form about 13 per cent. of the population. The Russians number but a few thousand. See Finns.
Education. In accordance with the Russian movement in Finland, the Imperial authorities have practically taken charge of the Finnish school system with the purpose of supplanting the native language and learning by the Russian. Finland is well known for its literacy, but now that the Imperial Government, which has never been very kindly disposed toward education, has taken summary control, the native school system is entering upon a doubtful future. Evidently it will not be long before Russians will supplant Finns as schoolteachers. Already a Russian has been appointed chancellor of the famous university of Helsingfors. This university is at the head of the Finnish educational scheme. It was founded at Åbo in 1640 and transferred to Helsingfors in 1827. In 1900 it had an attendance of 2318, of whom 354 were women. There were 50 lyceums in 1899. Primary instruction is furnished by public, parochial, and traveling schools. According to the school census of 1896, out of 457,678 children of school age only 18,771 received no education. The public schools are maintained largely by local funds, but receive a subvention from the Government. Finland has a large number of periodicals, and not a few learned societies.
History. The Finns are said to have dwelt on the Volga in the seventh century, and to have been driven northward at the beginning of the eighth. The true Finns call themselves Suomi. In the twelfth century the Swedes, zealous for the extension of Christianity, and perhaps also ambitious for the expansion of Swedish power, began the long struggle which ended in the closing years of the thirteenth century in the Christianization of the people and their subjection to Swedish sovereignty. Henrik, the English-born Bishop of Upsåla, who accompanied the first Swedish expedition in 1157, was murdered by a Finn and became Finland's patron saint and martyr. For over five hundred years Finland remained an appanage of the Swedish crown. Gustavus Vasa (q.v.) introduced the Lutheran religion in 1528, and John III. made the country a grand duchy. Under Swedish rule the people enjoyed an autonomous constitutional government, and developed a simple, intelligent, and unique civilization. While Finnish remained the language of the peasantry, Swedish became that of the towns and of the cultivated and official classes. During the long wars between Russia and Sweden Finland was frequently a battleground, and as the Finnish frontier is only thirty-three miles from Saint Petersburg, it was naturally desired by the former country to round out its territory and complete its defenses. This desire was realized in the Peace of Fredrikshamn, September 17, 1809, following upon a Russian invasion, by which Sweden ceded the grand duchy with the Åland Islands to Russia. Alexander I. (q.v.) guaranteed to Finland the preservation of its laws, Constitution, and religion, and this pledge has been solemnly renewed to the Finnish estates by each of his successors, including the present Czar. In 1898, however, Nicholas II. began the series of measures which have since been slowly put in operation looking to the Russification of Finland, in common with other provinces of the Russian Empire. The army law, which was to change the army from a purely national force for purposes of defense to an integral part of the Russian Army and make it a heavier burden, received a check in February, 1901, in the form of a heavy adverse vote in the Russian Council of State, but this served merely to retard the process of Russification for a very brief time. In October, 1902, a series of ordinances was promulgated, aiming at the complete destruction of Finnish autonomy. The Senate was placed under the control of the Governor-General, who, under the new conditions, exercises the virtual power of dismissal over all administrative officials, as well as over the judges of the law courts. To secure immunity for the Russian bureaucracy in their attack upon the liberties of the people, it was provided that no official, however humble, could be brought to trial without the consent of his superior. Before this Russian had been made the official language, and a rigid censorship had resulted in the suppression of a number of Finnish journals.
Consult: Michelin, Finland im 19ten Jahrhundert (Helsingfors, 1894); Tweedie, Through Finland in Carts (London, 1897); Statistisk Årbok för Finland (annual, Helsingfors); Barnhak, Russland und Finland (Leipzig, 1900); The People of Finland in Archaic Times (London, 1892); Koskinen, Finnische Geschichte (Leipzig, 1873); Ignatius, Le Grand-duché de Finlande (Helsingfors, 1878); Jonas, Das Grossfürstentum Finland (Berlin, 1886). For Finland's relations with Russia, Fisher, Finland and the Tsars (London, 1890); Nyholm, Die Stellung Finlands im russischen Kaiserreich (Leipzig, 1901); Arnheim (editor), Der ausserordentliche finlandische Landtag, 1899, German translation from the Finnish (Leipzig, 1900); Getz, Das staatsrechtliche Verhältnis zwischen Finland und Russland (Leipzig, 1900). See Russia; Sweden.