Finland


Finland flagFinland is a country in northern Europe known for its beauty. Finland has many lakes and lots of forests. It is bordered by Norway, Russia, and Sweden. The Gulf of Finland and the Gulf of Bothnia, two arms of the Baltic Sea, also border Finland. The northernmost part of Finland lies inside the Arctic Circle in an area called the Land of the Midnight Sun. Here the sun shines 24 hours a day during the summer months.Helsinki is Finland’s capital and largest city.

Land

Finland has four main land areas: the Coastal Lowlands, the Lake District, the Upland District, and the Coastal Islands.

The Coastal Lowlands lie along the Gulf of Bothnia and Gulf of Finland. Many small lakes dot this area of Finland. The lowlands have some of the country’s richest soil. As a result, the area has the best farmland.

The Lake District lies in south-central Finland. The area has thousands of lakes, and forests cover most of the land.

The Upland District in northern Finland has a colder climate and poorer soil than the other areas.

The Coastal Islands are made up of thousands of islands in the Gulf of Bothnia and Gulf of Finland. The most important are the Aland Islands, which are made up of about 6,500 islands off Finland’s southwest coast.

People

Most of Finland’s people live in the southern part of the country, where the climate is mildest. Most people have Finnish ancestors. The rest are mainly Swedish.

About 7,000 Sami (also called Lapps) live in Finland. Most of them live in the far northern part of the country. The Sami’s homeland, called Sapmi or Lapland, stretches across much of far northern Finland, Norway, and Sweden. The ancestors of these people lived in Finland thousands of years ago, long before the first Finns arrived.

Resources and products

Finland resourcesFinland’s greatest natural resource is the forests that cover most of the land. But Finland has few other resources. Finland is the world’s top producer of plywood, wood used to make buildings and other things. The country is a leading producer of paper, which is made from wood. Finland also makes ships and metal products.

Service industries provide jobs for more than half the workers in Finland. People working in service industries include bankers, teachers, doctors, nurses, government workers, and hotel and restaurant workers.

Most of Finland’s farmland lies in the south and west. Farmers here produce all the milk, eggs, and meat needed by the people of Finland. Other important crops include barley, oats, sugar beets, potatoes, and wheat.

Finland must trade with other countries for many things. It buys fruits, vegetables, and other goods not produced in Finland from other countries. Finland’s main trading partners include Germany, Sweden, and Russia.

History

Finland mapThe first people to live in Finland were the Sami. These people moved from place to place with their reindeer herds. Thousands of years ago, the ancestors of today’s Finns began to move into the country. The Finns slowly pushed the Sami to the north.

In the 1000′s, Sweden and Russia began to fight over Finland. Wars between Sweden and Russia over Finland went on for hundreds of years.Sweden slowly gained control in the 1100′s and 1200′s. Russia controlled the country from 1809 until 1917, when Finland became independent. In 1922, Russia became part of a new nation, the Soviet Union. During World War II (1939-1945), the Soviet Union invaded Finland and took part of its land. The Soviet Union and Germany also fought each other in Finland. Many Finns died, and many towns were destroyed. Finland fought two wars with the former Soviet Union.

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