Chronography of Finland
Page last modified 19/9/2021
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
Union (joined 1995).
1991, Centrist gains in
1989, The Soviet Union
recognised Finnish neutrality.
1982, Mauno Koivisto elected
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.
Vanhanen, Prime Minister of Finland 2003-2010, was born in
9/3/1954, Gains for the Centre and Right in Finnish elections.
paid its final war reparations to the USSR.
Sillanpaa, Finnish politician, died.
27/1/1951, Carl Mannerheim, Finnish soldier and
politician, who as President secured his country�s independence from Russia, died
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.
10/2/1947. The USSR
concluded a peace treaty with Finland.
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.
evacuated its naval base at Hanko, Finland, west of Helsinki.
2/12/1941, The Battle of Hanko ended in Finnish victory.
The Winter War, 1939 - 40
12/3/1940. Finland signed a peace treaty with the
USSR, surrendering large areas of territory on the Karelia Peninsula. See
30/11/1939.� The Finns had lost over 20%
of their fighting force in 3 months.�
Finland surrendered over 10,000 square miles of territory to the USSR.
The border was returned to roughly where it had been drawn by Peter the Great
in 1720.� In the hope of recovering these lands, Finland sided with Germany when Hitler attacked the USSR on 22/6/1941.
3/3/1940, Soviet General Timoshenko sent a battalion across the
frozen Gulf of Finland to attack and occupy the Finnish town of Vilajoki. This opened the road to Helsinki itself for
the Soviet Army.
2/3/1940, Hungarians volunteering to fight in the
Winter War arrived in Finland after three weeks of travel. They began training
with the Finnish Army but did not complete their training before the end of
27/2/1940, Soviet forces launched a pincer movement
aimed at the city of Viipuri (Vyborg). Norway and Sweden refused to allow
British and French troops to cross through their territory to aid Finland
23/2/1940, The USSR presented terms of surrender to
Finland. Finland was to cede considerable territory in the Karelia and Lake
Ladoga regions, and Finland must protect the Russian border in the NW.
16/2/1940. Soviet troops pierced the Mannerheim Line
of the Finnish defences at Summa.
1/2/1940. The Soviet army launched an attack in Karelia, against the Finnish Mannerheim Line. Finnish
lines were pounded with 300,000 artillery shells.
29/1/1940, Faced with continuing stubborn Finnish
resistance, the Soviets opened secret negotiations in Sweden. The war was no
longer about installing a Soviet Government in Helsinki but about protecting
the Soviet Baltic, Karelia and the Arctic coastline. The Soviets moved the Finnish
border westwards to achieve this protection,
28/1/1940, Finnish troops gained ground against the
Russians at Kuhmo.
15/1/1940, In order to reverse earlier Soviet losses
in the war against Finland, Stalin appointed General Semyon Timoshenko as
commander, and brought in heavy siege artillery to demolish the Mannerheim
Line. Finnish troops got no rest, day or night, as their gunposts were
destroyed, and gave in due to exhaustion.
13/1/1940, Despite Soviet protests, Sweden decided to
allow volunteers to cross its territory to assist the Finns, so long as they
travelled unarmed and not in uniform. Meanwhile Russia change dtactics and
began heavy bombing of Finnish roads and rail junctions.
2/1/1940, A further Soviet offensive in Karelia
against Finland ended in failure.
main European events of World War Two see France-Germany World War Two
for more events of Finland-Russia conflict 1939-40
29/12/1939, The Soviet 163rd Division was surrounded at
Suomissalmi. It broke up and fled, leaving 11 tanks, 25 guns, and 150 lorries
to the victorious Finns. Soviet forces were fighting in temperatures of -35 C,
but without winter uniforms. Soviet General Vinogradov was subsequently executed
for this failure. After the Finns recaptured Suossalmi, they crossed into
Soviet Karelia, inflicting some 27,000 casualties on the Russian forces.
27/12/1939, Finland defeated Russia in the battles of
Kelja and Taipale.
22/12/1939, The Russian attack on the Mannerheim Line,
SE Finland, from the Gulf of Finland to the River Vukosi, petered out on the
face of impregnable Finnish resistance. The Soviets totally lacked ski troops,
whereas the Finnish Army was well trained in their use.� Soviet troops found themselves cut off from
supplies, and in some cases their units were surrounded and annihilated.
9/12/1939, Amphibious assaults and air raids in
Helsinki ceased as winter set in, giving the Finnish defenders a tactical
advantage over the Russians. However in NE Finland, Russians captured the town
of Suomussalmi, where Finnish troops were more thinly spread.
7/12/1939, Britain announced it was to sell 30 fighter
aircraft to Finland. There was considerable international sympathy for Finland
and anger at the Soviet invasion, France gave large amounts of armaments to Finland,
and many British, French and Italians travelled to Helsinki to volunteer for
the fight against Russia.
5/12/1939, Russian troops invading Finland reached the
Mannerheim Line, and were held there.
4/12/1939, The USSR rejected League of Nations
intervention over its invasion of Finland, claiming it was merely �supporting
the new Finnish People�s Government�, as led by Otto Kuusinen.
2/12/1939, The Red Army took Petsamo. The Molotov Cocktail
was invented when the Finns, resistimng a Soviet invasion against overwhelming
odds, deployed extremely mobile units moving by ski or bicycle on nsarrow forest
paths. They threw bottles full of petrol, with a lighted rag oin the neck, into
the turrets of advancing Soviet tanks, with devastating effectrs.
1/12/1939, Russia established a pro-Soviet Finnish
Government at Terijoki led by Otto Kuusinen.
USSR attacked Finland. Finland had earlier refused Soviet demands to use bases
on its territory against Germany. Helsinki was heavily bombed. See
looked likely to fall quiclly, with 9 Finnish Divisioins, 130,000 men, facing 26
Soviet Divisions, 465,000 men. Meanwhile 1,000 Soviet aircraft attacked the Finnish
air force, which had just 150 aircraft, none of them modern. In fact the Soviets were so confident of a
quick victory that their troops still wore summer uniform, despite winter being
imminent. Helsinki was heavily bombed, killing 61 Finns and overwhelming
the hospitals. This raid on their capital greatly stiffened Finnish determination
The Winter War. 1939-40
renounced the Finno-Soviet non-aggression pact. On 30/11/1939 the USSR bombed Helsinki
and Vipuri, as it invaded Finland.
3/3/1932, In Finland the suppression of the Mantasala
Rising, a pro-Facsist Lapua Movement who had gathered at Mantsala, was
enacted repressive legislation against Communists.
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.
gained possession of the Aaland Islands. This was in retribution for Sweden�s
supplying Germany during World War One, whilst remaining nominally
14/10/1920. Russia recognised the independence of Finland.� Russia
ceded the port of Petsamo to Finland,
giving Finland access to the
1919, The Finnish Communist
Party was formed. It was illegal in Finland.
6/6/1919. Finland declared war on Russia.
14/4/1918, In Finland,
Goltz captured Helsinki
from the Communists.
6/4/1918. In Finland,
the German General
Mannerheim captured Tampere
from the Communists.
See Russia for
events of 1917 Revolution
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
of Russification Period
11/1905, In response to the Russian
crackdown, the Finnish people organised a National Strike. It was well
supported, with everything except food shops closed down.
7/11/1905, Russia gave in to the Finnish General
Strike, and restored consitions to as pre-1899.
4/1903, The Russian Governor of
Bobrikov, was granted effectively dictatorial powers. Finland was
filled with spies and Russian police. Arbitrary arrests and the suppression of
22/9/1902. Czar Nicholas II abolished the nominal
independence of Finland
and appointed a Russian
1901, Many Finns emigrated, due
to the Russians,
From Hanko port, 12,000 Finns left this year alone, mostly bound for the USA and Canada.
7/1901, The Finnish Army ceased to
exist as a separate entity, its units being absorbed into the Russian Army.
1900, Russian began to replace
Finnish as the official language.
15/2/1899, Czar Nicholas II began a process of
Russification of Finland. The Finnish Diet was stripped of power.
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
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.
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
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)
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
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
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.
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