A History of Finland
In A.D. 100, the Roman historian Tacitus described a wild and primitive people called Fenni--the first mention of the Finnish people on record. Since that time, Finland has had one of the most bloody and strife-torn histories in Europe. Preyed upon by aggressive neighbors, devastated by battles fought on its soil, and buffeted by the erratic rule of its various conquerors, it has tenaciously maintained its vital national culture. Originally published in 1962, this first general history of Finland in English surveys this courageous nation from prehistoric times, through the epoch of the Vikings, to modern times; the revised edition incorporates events after 1947. From A.D. 800 until the beginning of the 20th century, Finland had to fight constantly to retain its independence from the incursions of Sweden, on the one hand, and Russia, on the other. A sparsely populated country, rich in natural resources but lacking strong political institutions, Finland was a tempting prize for aggressive, politically more developed powers. Sweden, which sent crusades into Finland, spread Swedish influence along with Christianity. Swedish culture and language were adopted by the educated class and, as a part of Sweden, Finland participated in the vicissitudes of the Thirty Years' War and the upheavals of Sweden's dynastic decline. In 1700, a new threat arose in the east as Russia embarked on an expansionist course, and for the next century war between the two countries was almost uninterrupted. After Finland finally achieved autonomy in the early 1800s, it continued to be plagued by civil discord and language conflicts--the consequences of centuries of foreign occupation. Again it was defenseless before Russian exploitation. Today Finland's unity is once more restored. This volume, in tracing the long and intricate pattern of Finland's history--its relations with Sweden and Russia, the growth of Finnish nationalism, and the development of a distinctively Finnish culture--offers a comprehensive perspective on one of the little-known countries of Europe.--Adapted from dust jacket.
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FINLAND IS DRAWN INTO THE WESTERN CULTURAL SPHERE
FINLAND IN THE SCANDINAVIAN UNION
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