12th Century      

Swedish rule gradually established over the scattered tribes of western and southern Finland, while Novgorod (medieval Russia) dominates the eastern territory Karelia.

1323

Peace treaty officially divides Finland between Sweden and Novgorod.

1548

The New Testament is translated into Finnish, the first time the language appears in print. Swedish remains the language of administration, business and law.

1807

Sweden surrenders Finland after war with Russia.

1809

The Czar declares Finland a semi-autonomous Grand Duchy with himself as constitutional monarch.

1835

Publication of the Kalevala, an epic poem based on traditional folk songs. It becomes the cornerstone of Finnish national identity.

1863

Finnish becomes an official administrative language.

1899

Jean Sibelius composes ‘Finlandia’, which becomes a symbol of Finland’s struggle for independence from Russia

1906

Finnish women are the first in Europe to gain the vote, and the first in the world to be eligible for election.

1917

Independence from Russia.

1939

Soviet Union attacks Finland. The ‘Winter War’ ends in 1940, with a treaty giving south-eastern territories to Russia.

1941-4

‘The Continuation War’. Finland joins the German attack on Soviet Union.

1952

Hosts the Olympic Games.

1955

Joins the United Nations.

1995

Becomes a member of the European Union.

2000

The first female president, Tarja Halonen, is elected.