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Location of Finland within Europe

The Republic of Finland (Finnish: Suomen tasavalta Swedish: Republiken Finland) is a Nordic country in northeastern Europe, bordered by the Baltic Sea to the southwest, the Gulf of Finland to the south and the Gulf of Bothnia to the west. Finland has land frontiers with Sweden, Norway and Russia. The Åland Islands, off the southwestern coast, are under Finnish sovereignty while enjoying extensive autonomy. The Finnish name for Finland is Suomi; in Swedish it is Finland.

Finland gained independence from Russia on 6 December 1917. Prior to that, it had been part of the Kingdom of Sweden and an autonomous Grand Duchy of Finland under Imperial Russia. After fighting two wars with the Soviet Union in the mid-20th century, it has grown quickly from a largely agrarian society to one of the world's most developed countries. Finland has a high standard of living, one of the best educational systems in the world, and it has been the birthplace to many technological phenomena such as Nokia, SMS, Linux, Angry Birds and IRC.

Finland has been a member of the European Union since 1995.


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Red officers on their horses during the Finnish Civil War

The Finnish Civil War was a part of the national and social turmoil caused by World War I in Europe. The war was fought from January 27, 1918 to May 15, 1918, between the forces called the "Reds" led by the People's Deputation of Finland under the control of the Finnish Social Democrats, and the forces called the "Whites", led by the Senate of Vaasa representing the Senate of Finland formed by the bourgeois parties. The defeat in World War I and the February and October revolutions in 1917 caused a total collapse of the Russian Empire; and the destruction of the mother country resulted in a corresponding breakdown of Finnish society during 1917. As there were no generally accepted police and army forces to keep order in Finland after March 1917, the left and right began building security groups of their own, leading to the emergence of two independent armed military troops, the White and Red Guards. The Whites were the victors in the war that followed. The Civil War remains the most controversial and emotionally loaded event in the history of modern Finland. Approximately 37,000 people died during the conflict, including casualties at the war fronts, and deaths from political terror campaigns and high prison camp mortality. The turmoil destroyed the economy, split the political apparatus, and divided the Finnish nation for many years. (more...)

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Type II submarine

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Thomas is the first known Bishop of Finland. Only a few facts remain about his life.

The only reference to Bishop Thomas during his episcopate in Finland is a letter signed by him in Nousiainen in 1234, which granted certain lands around the parish to his chaplain, Wilhelm. The lands may be related to the papal permission from Pope Gregory IX in early 1229 that authorized the church to take over all non-Christian places of worship in Finland. The letter is the first surviving letter ever written in Finland.

No further information on bishop's activities has survived before he was granted resignation by Pope Innocent IV on February 21, 1245. According to the Pope, Thomas had admitted committing several felonies, like torturing a man to death and forging a papal letter. Church representatives to oversee the resignation were the Archbishop of Uppsala and the Dominican prior of the Dacian province. Thomas donated his books to the newly established Dominican convent in Sigtuna and went on to live his last years in the Dominican convent in Visby, Gotland. He died there in 1248, shortly before the Second Swedish Crusade which cemented the Swedish rule in Finland for more than 550 years.

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Flag of Finland.svg You are invited to participate in Finland WikiProject, a WikiProject dedicated to developing and improving articles about Finland.

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View of Jyväskylä
Photo credit: commons:User:Mikael Korpela

Panoramic photo shot of Jyväskylä, Finland.

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