Finland; key historical events
Page last modified 6/1/2021
Click Here for map of historical changes in Finland. Covers railway development and border changes with USSR.
2002, Finland adopted the Euro.
1994, Martti Ahtisaari (Social Democratic Party) became Prime Minister.
16/4/1994, In a referendum in Finland, voters decided to join the European Union (joined 1995).
1991, Centrist gains in general elections.
1989, The Soviet Union recognised Finnish neutrality.
1982, Mauno Koivisto elected President.
1977, Finland signed a trade agreement with the USSR.
1973, Finland signed a trade treaty with the EEC.
1956, Urho Kekkonen was elected President. He also won in 1962, 1968 and 1978.
4/11/1955, Matti Vanhanen, Prime Minister of Finland 2003-2010, was born in Jyvaskyla.
9/3/1954, Gains for the Centre and Right in Finnish elections.
3/4/1952, Miina Sillanpaa, Finnish politician, died.
27/1/1951, Carl Mannerheim, Finnish soldier and
politician, who as President secured his country’s independence from
1948, Finland signed a Treaty of Friendship with the USSR, promising to resist any attack on the USSR made through Finland by Germany or its allies.
9/1945, The Aaland Island Assembly unsucesfully tried to join Sweden.
26/2/1944, The Finnish capital, Helsinki, was devastated in a 12-hour air raid by 600 Soviet bombers.
24/2/1944, Finnish Prime Minister, Risto Ryti, made peace approaches to the USSR.
renounced the Finno-Soviet non-aggression pact. On 30/11/1939 the
3/3/1932, In Finland the suppression of the Mantasala Rising, a pro-Facsist Lapua Movement who had gathered at Mantsala, was completed.
11/11/1930, Finland enacted repressive legislation against Communists.
14/10/1930, An attempted Fascist coup in Finland.
1929, The Lapua Movement began in Finland. It was a quasi-Fascist organisation, named after the town of Lapua where it began. It succeeded, through pressure and acts of violence, in having the Communist Party’s front organisations banned in Finland in 1930, but was itself banned in 1932 after an attempted failed armed coup against the Finnish Government.
1921, Finland gained possession of the Aaland Islands. This was in retribution for Sweden’s supplying Germany during World War One, whilst remaining nominally neutral.
14/10/1920. Russia recognised the independence of
1919, The Finnish Communist Party was formed. It was illegal in Finland.
6/6/1919. Finland declared war on
See Russia for events of 1917 Revolution
6/12/1917. Finland became independent from Russia.
29/7/1917, Taking advantage of Revolutionary chaos, the Finns declared their independence from Russia.
1908-10, Russia again attempted to reassert its authority over Finland, and curtail the power of the Finnish Diet.
1906, Finland introduced universal suffrage. Also there were other liberal reforms such as reaffirmed frredom of the Press, association and free speech
1879, Finland passed a conscription law, so starting to create a Finnish Army.
4/6/1867, Carl Mannerheim, Finnish soldier and politician, President, was born in Vilnas.
1863, Finnish became an official language, alongside Swedish.
30/3/1856. The Treaty of Paris ended the Crimean War. Russia agreed to demilitarise the Black Sea, demolishing its naval bases at Sevastopol and three other locations. It also renounced its claim to protect the Holy Places in Palestine. Russia ceded a part of Bessarabia, forcing it back from the Danube River. The Treaty also stipulated that the Aland Islands should not be fortified, by the army or navy. This allayed British fears over threats to its trade in the Baltic, see Russia-1854.
1848, Severe famine in Finland, with entire villages starving.
11/1827, Much of Abo burned down in a great fire. The University and its large library were destroyed.
19/8/1814, Gustaf Mauritz Armfelt, Governor General of the Grand Duchy of Finland, died in Tsarskoe Selo (born 31/3/1757 in Finland).
1811, The province of Viborg was formally reunited with Finland.
1809, The Diet of Porvoo (Borga). Following the Russian invasion of Finland (formerly part of the Swedish Empire), Tsar Alexander I guaranteed the Finns the rights they had enjoyed under Swedish rule. This meant Finland enjoyed considerable autonomy within the Russian Empire, and effectively marked the start of the modern State of Finland.
17/9/1809, In February 1808 Tsar Alexander invaded Finland, then part of Sweden, without a declaration of war. On this day the Treaty of Fredrikshamn ended the war; Sweden ceded the whole of Finland and the Aland Islands to Russia. Sweden was unable to secure an undertaking by Russia not to fortify the Aland Islands, which were close to Stockholm, but see 30/3/1856.
Abo (Turku) was nominated the capital of Finland, but was replaced by Helsingfors (Helsinki) as capital in 1819.
21/2/1808. Russia occupied Finland, which was formerly under Swedish domination.
21/6/1788, King Gustavus III of Sweden invaded Russian Finland, without declaring war first.
31/3/1757, Gustaf Mauritz Armfelt, Governor General of the Grand Duchy of Finland, was born in Finland (died 19/8/1814 in Tsarskoe Selo).
7/8/1743, As a consequence of the peace negotiations between Sweden and Russia (began 23/1/1743) Sweden ceded control of south-east Finland, east of the River Kymi (Kymmene) to Russia.
1741, Sweden attempted to recover the lost province of Viborg, which Russia had gained in 1721. However their campaign was badly managed, and failed. They capitulated in 8/1742..
1721, Peace of Nystad. Sweden ceded the province of Viborg to Russia. Most of Finland was badly damaged in the Russo-Swedish war.
1716, Russia now controlled all of Finland.
1710, Peter the Great of Russia began to take Finland from Sweden. This year he gained control of Kexholm and Villmanstrand.
1581, Finland became a Grand Duchy, under the Swedish Crown.
1556, John III of Sweden became ruler of Finland.
1550, Helsingfors (Helsinki), Finland, was founded by Gustavus I of Sweden.
1323, Finland became part of the Kingdom of Sweden, under the Treaty of Pahkinasaari. The River Rajajoki was fixed as the Russia-Sweden border.
1293, Torkel Knutson conquered Karelian Finland, and built the fortress of Viborg (now in Russia)
1258, Abo Cathedral was constructed; it was rebuilt after the great fire of 1827.
1249, Birger Jarl did much conversion work amongst the Tavastians.
1209, Thomas, English Bishop, arrived to continue the missionary work in Finland. The country had already begun to return to paganism after the conversions of 1157.
1157, King Eric IX of Sweden conquered Finland, and forced the Finns to be baptised as Christians.
800, Early Finland had no central government; rather it was a collection of towns and villages, independent from each other.