Chronography of Finland
Page last modified 18 August
Click Here for map of historical changes in Finland. Covers
railway development and border changes with USSR.
Aaland islands � see
4 April 2023, Finland became the 31st member of NATO,
to the consternation of Russia. This move was promted by security concerns over
Russia�s invasion of south eastern Ukraine.
2002, Finland adopted the Euro.
1994, Martti Ahtisaari (Social
Democratic Party) became Prime Minister.
16 April 1994, In a referendum in Finland, voters decided to join
Union (joined 1995).
28 March 1992, The Government of Finland began an application to
join the European Union.
1991, Centrist gains in
1989, The Soviet Union
recognised Finnish neutrality.
1985, The deepwater harbour at
Pori was opened.
1982, Mauno Koivisto elected
26 May 1979, In Finland, after elections on 18-19 March, Social
Koivisto became Prime Minister, succeeding Kalevi Sorsa. Sorsa
had headed a 5-Party coalition since May 1977.
1977, Finland signed a trade
agreement with the USSR.
1973, Finland signed a trade
treaty with the EEC.
5 August 1968, Finland reopened the Saimaa Canal, between Saimaa
Lake and the Gulf of Finland, which had been closed since the 1939-40 war with
1956, Urho Kekkonen was elected
President. He also won in 1962, 1968 and 1978.
4 November 1955, Matti Vanhanen, Prime Minister of Finland
2003-2010, was born in Jyvaskyla.
9 March 1954, Gains for the Centre and Right in Finnish elections.
18 September 1952, Finland
paid its final war reparations to the USSR.
3 April 1952, Miina Sillanpaa, Finnish politician, died.
27 January 1951, Carl Mannerheim, Finnish soldier and
politician, who as President secured his country�s independence from Russia, died
6 April 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 February 1947. The USSR
concluded a peace treaty with Finland.
26 February 1944, The Finnish capital, Helsinki, was
devastated in a 12-hour air raid by 600 Soviet bombers.
24 February 1944, Finnish Prime Minister, Risto Ryti, made
peace approaches to the USSR.
3 December 1941, Russia
evacuated its naval base at Hanko, Finland, west of Helsinki.
2 December 1941, The Battle of Hanko ended in Finnish
The Winter War, 1939 - 40
14 March 1940, 470,000 Finns evacuated
the territories Finland had ceded to Russia.
12 March 1940. Finland signed a peace
treaty with the USSR, surrendering large areas of territory on the Karelia Peninsula.
See 30 November 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
3 March 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 March 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 Winter War.
27 February 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
23 February 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
16 February 1940. Soviet troops pierced the
Mannerheim Line of the Finnish defences at Summa.
5 February 1940, Britain and France
considered sending an expeditionary force to help Finland, even landing it in
northern Norway and so violating Norwegian neutrality.
4 February 1940, Heavy Russian air raids on
Helsinki killed 14 and injured 179.
1 February 1940. The Soviet army launched an
attack in Karelia, against the Finnish
Mannerheim Line. Finnish lines were pounded with 300,000 artillery shells.
29 January 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 January 1940, Finnish troops gained
ground against the Russians at Kuhmo.
15 January 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.
starts to gain the upper hand
stages of war; Finnish successes against Russia
13 January 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.
11 January 1940, During the Winter War,
Finland, Russian Brigade Commander Alexei Vinogradov was shot by firing squad
after a court martial because of the heavy losses he had incurred against the
7 January 1940, General Semyon Timoshenko took
command of the Soviet forces attacking Finland.
5 January 1940, Finnish forces began a
successful counterattack against the Soviet 44th motorised division at
Suomussalmi. 27,500 Russian troops were killed by Finnish fire or froze to
3 January 1940, Finland claimed to have
destroyed 400 Russian tanks and 150 Russian planes.
2 January 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 December 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
27 December 1939, Finland defeated Russia in
the battles of Kelja and Taipale.
22 December 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.
20 December 1939, A fundraising rally in aid
of Finland was held in Madison Square Gardens, New York city, USA.
16 December 1939, The Battle of Summa,
9 December 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 December 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.
6 December 1939, Finnish forces had the
advantage of trained elite ski soldiers who could attack a Soviet column then
lemt away into the forest. The Soviet troops were unoreoared for the marchy
forested land f Finlkand and were restricted to the few roads and logging
trails. Finnish forces used the �motti� (stick) tactic, breaking up a long and
thinly spread out Soviet column into �mottis�, then annihilating each one,
starting with the weakest, as the morale and supplies of the stronger dwindled.
5 December 1939, Russian troops invading
Finland reached the Mannerheim Line, and were held there.
4 December 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 December 1939, The Red Army took Petsamo.
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
1 December 1939, Russia established a
pro-Soviet Finnish Government at Terijoki led by Otto Kuusinen.
30 November 1939. The USSR attacked Finland. Finland had earlier refused Soviet demands
to use bases on its territory against Germany. Helsinki was heavily bombed.
See 12 March 1940. Finland 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 to resist.
26 November 1939, Soviet artillery bombarded
one of their own outposts near the Finnish border village of Mainila, and
then� accused Finland of the act,
providing a pretext for declaring war. Russia believed it could overrun Finland
in just 12 days.
The Winter War. 1939-40
28 November 1939. Stalin
renounced the Finno-Soviet non-aggression pact. On 30 November 1939 the USSR bombed Helsinki
and Vipuri, as it invaded Finland.
22 October 1939, Finland commenced new peace talks with
3 March 1932, In Finland the suppression of the Mantasala
Rising, a pro-Facsist Lapua Movement who had gathered at Mantsala, was
11 November 1930, Finland
enacted repressive legislation against Communists.
14 October 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.
14 October 1920. Russia recognised the
independence of Finland by the Treaty of Tartu.� Russia
ceded the port of Petsamo to Finland,
giving Finland access to the
6//1920, Desultory fighting between
Finland and Russia for control of western Karelia.
1919, The Finnish Communist
Party was formed. It was illegal in Finland.
17 June 1919, The Finnish Republic was
6 June 1919. Finland declared war on Russia.
independence from Russia
8 December 1918, The National Progressive
Party of Finland was established.
29 April 1918, At the Battle of Vyborg the White Army, with
German forces, forced a mass surrender of Red Communists. 12.000 were taken
prisoner. A short �reign of terror� now began in Finland , as thousands of
suspected Communists were killed.
14 April 1918, In Finland, German General Goltz captured Helsinki from the
Communists. The Germans were allied with Mannerheim.
6 April 1918. In Finland, the German General Mannerheim captured Tampere from the
23 February 1918, Battle of Rautu, Finland. Finnish Red Guards were forced to retreat
from Rautu, and were encircled on three sides by Finnish White Guards days
later, with the only escape route leading back to Petrograd. The Red Guards dug
trenches and began holding off White Guard attacks for several weeks.
15 February 1918, Invasion of Aland. Sweden
landed forces at Eckero on the Aland Islands to safeguard Swedish-held
territory from the White Guards.
28 January 1918, The Finnish coalition
Government, headed by Pehr Svinhufud (1861-1944) was overthrown by Bolshevik-backed
Finnish radicals, starting a civil war. The north of Finland was controlled by
the Whites under Baron Mannerheim (1867-1951), who opposed Bolshevism; the
south was controlled by Red Guards, who helf the capital, Helsinki.
4 January 1918, Russia recognised Finnish
See Russia for
events of 1917 Revolution
6 December 1917. Finland declared complete independence from Russia.�
29 July 1917, Taking advantage of
Revolutionary chaos, the Finns announced the would declare their independence
30 June 1910, Tsar Nicholas II of Russia signed legislation
bringing the Grand Duchy of Finland under Russian rule.
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
7 November 1905, Russia gave in to the
Finnish General Strike, and restored consitions to as pre-1899.
response to the Russian crackdown, the Finnish people organised a National
Strike. It was well supported, with everything except food shops closed down.
April 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 September 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.
July 1901, The Finnish Army ceased to
exist as a separate entity, its units being absorbed into the Russian Army.
29 June 1901, Tsar Nicholas confirmed a law
incorporating residents of the Grand Duchy of Finland into the Russian Army.
1900, Russian began to replace
Finnish as the official language.
14 February 1900, Czar Nicholas II of Russia
ordered total Russian control over Finland. He rejected a petition signed by
800 international figures asking Russia to give Finland its liberty. Russia had
ruled Finland since 1809.
15 February 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 June 1867, Carl Mannerheim, Finnish soldier and
politician, President, was born in Vilnas.
1863, Finnish became an official
language, alongside Swedish.
30 March 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 August 1814, Gustaf Mauritz Armfelt, Governor General of
the Grand Duchy of Finland, died in Tsarskoe Selo (born 31 March 1757 in
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 September 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 March 1856.
Abo (Turku) was nominated the capital of Finland,
but was replaced by Helsingfors (Helsinki) as capital in 1819.
17 June 1808, Czar Alexander I of Russia restored priveliged
to Finland. He suspected France of intentions to attack him and wanted to
secure Finnish loyalty.
occupied Finland, which was formerly under Swedish domination.
21 June 1788,
King Gustavus III of Sweden invaded Russian Finland, without declaring war first.
31 March 1757, Gustaf Mauritz Armfelt, Governor General of
the Grand Duchy of Finland, was born in Finland (died 19 August 1814 in
7 August 1743, As a consequence of the peace negotiations between
Sweden and Russia (began 23 January 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
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
1696, Major famine in Finland.
25 November 1596, A Peasant�s revolt broke out in Finland.
The peasants in Finland resented Swedish troops being billeted on them, and
took up cudgels and clubs to fight them; the so-called Club War. The urprisiing was brutally repressed.
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.
� Aaland Islands
9/1945, The Aaland Island Assembly
unsucesfully tried to join Sweden.
15 March 1940, Following the Finno-Soviet peace treaty, the
Aaland islands were again demilitarised
3 June 1939, The Aaland Islands presented a petition to the
League of Nations, rejecting remilitarisation. Sweden withdrew its support for
the idea. However Finland went ahead.
8 January 1939, As the treat of European war grew, Sweden
and Finland agreed to a limited remilitarisation of the Aaland islands. However
the islanders themselves strongly objected to this, see 3 June 1939.
20 October 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. The islands were to remain demilitariused, under the London Convention.
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