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Location of Finland

Finland (Finnish: Suomi [ˈsuo̯mi] (About this soundlisten); Swedish: Finland [ˈfɪ̌nland] (About this soundlisten), Finland Swedish: [ˈfinlɑnd]), officially the Republic of Finland (Finnish: Suomen tasavalta, Swedish: Republiken Finland (listen to all)), is a Nordic country located in Northern Europe. It shares land borders with Sweden to the west, Russia to the east, Norway to the north, and is defined by the Gulf of Bothnia to the west, and the Gulf of Finland of the Baltic Sea across Estonia to the south. Finland covers an area of 338,455 square kilometres (130,678 sq mi), with a population of 5.5 million. Helsinki is the country's capital and largest city. Finnish, the native language of the Finns, is among the only few Finnic languages in the world. The climate varies relative to latitude, from the southern humid continental climate to the northern boreal climate. Finland is primarily a boreal forest biome, with more than 180,000 recorded lakes.

Finland was inhabited around 9000 BC after the Last Glacial Period. The Stone Age introduced several different ceramic styles and cultures. The Bronze Age and Iron Age were characterised by extensive contacts with other cultures in Fennoscandia and the Baltic region. From the late 13th century, Finland gradually became an integral part of Sweden as a consequence of the Northern Crusades. In 1809, as a result of the Finnish War, Finland was annexed by Russia as the autonomous Grand Duchy of Finland, during which Finnish art flourished and the idea of independence began to take hold. In 1906, Finland became the first European state to grant universal suffrage, and the first in the world to give all adult citizens the right to run for public office. Nicholas II, the last Tsar of Russia, tried to russify Finland and terminate its political autonomy, but after the 1917 Russian Revolution, Finland declared independence from Russia. In 1918, the fledgling state was divided by the Finnish Civil War. During World War II, Finland fought the Soviet Union in the Winter War and the Continuation War, and Nazi Germany in the Lapland War. After the wars, Finland lost parts of its territory, but maintained its independence. (Full article...)

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Red Guard fighters in firing line

The Battle of Ruovesi was a major battle during the Finnish Civil War and on the Eastern Front of World War I fought in Ruovesi, Finland from 5 February to 19 March 1918 between the Whites and the Reds with support from Russian volunteers.

The fighting took mostly place in the villages of Pekkala, Jäminkipohja ja Pihlajalahti in the southern part of the Ruovesi municipality. The Ruovesi village itself, and the northern parts, were held by the Whites. The Reds were aiming from the south to the Tampere–Haapamäki railway, in order to the reach the vital junction of Haapamäki, located 40 kilometres northeast of Ruovesi. Major fighting also occurred in the eastern village of Väärinmaja, but it was connected to the Battle of Vilppula. (Full article...)
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Päijänne and päijätsalo.jpg
Photo credit: commons:User:Joonasl
Sun setting over Lake Päijänne at Sysmä, Finland. On the right is Päijätsalo island which is part of the Päijätsalo nature park.

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Love Metal is the fourth studio album by Finnish gothic rock band HIM. Released on 11 April 2003, HIM began recording demos for the album in northern spring 2002, after an exhausting touring cycle for their previous album, which nearly broke the band up. Excited and invigorated by the new material, HIM entered Finnvox Studios in September 2002 with producer Hiili Hiilesmaa, who had previously helmed the group's 1997 debut album. Musically Love Metal featured a more raw and organic sound, inspired by the band's early influences, which was also seen as a reaction to the difficulties they faced while recording their previous album. Vocalist Ville Valo has since described Love Metal as the album where HIM found their sound. Love Metal was also the band's first album to predominantly feature their logo, the Heartagram, on the cover, while the album's title was coined in the mid-nineties as a description for HIM's musical genre.

Love Metal received positive reviews from critics, with many praising the songwriting and calling the album a return to form after Deep Shadows and Brilliant Highlights. The album charted in eleven countries, reaching number one in Finland and Germany, later going platinum and gold respectively. Love Metal was also the band's first album to chart in the UK and France at number 55 and 141 respectively. Three singles were released, with "The Funeral of Hearts" reaching number one on the Finnish Singles Chart. Music videos were produced for all three singles, with professional skateboarder and Jackass member Bam Margera directing two. Following the album's release, HIM toured the US for the first time, with all of the shows being sold-out. (Full article...)

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View of Lake Pielinen in Koli National Park
Photo credit: commons:User:KFP
Panorama of Lake Pielinen from a hill in Koli National Park, Finland



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