Peninsula and the Soviet Union in northern Europe. It is the world’s most northerly country,
having one quarter of its land lying north of the Arctic Circle (“Finland--in Pictures” 6). At its
farthest points, the mainland of Finland is 724 miles long and 337 miles wide. Although it has a
total landmass of 130,558 square miles, making it the fifth largest country in Europe, it is also
one of the least populated, with about five million people. Finland also includes the Aland Islands
and about 80,000 other small islands near its coast ("Ilmatieteen Laitos En.").
Finland has four seasons and its climate is temperate. In the summer, Finland is warm
and bright, having its temperatures usually varying between seventy to ninety degrees
Fahrenheit and having almost twenty hours of daylight (“Geography”) North of the Arctic Circle
the midnight sun continuously stays above the horizon. For about seventy days the sun never
goes below the horizon, making it nearly light out all day. There is then about a fifty day “sunset”
in which the sky starts getting dark, followed by a nearly six month period of no sun, called
kaamos, where is it even nighttime at noon (Chung Lee 10). In this season the northern lights
are spectacular, which dance across the sky bringing in many tourists.
In the winter, snow usually covers the country from November to April, varying on which
part of the country you are in. The average temperature this time of year is approximately
twenty-six degrees Fahrenheit and the days are short, usually lasting under six hours (Chung
Spring and Autumn are their transitional seasons. Though, it can be rainy, Finland is
beautiful during these seasons. During spring, the leaves start to bud, the temperature starts to
get warmer, and migratory birds begin arriving. In Autumn, the days start to darken sooner and
the temperatures start to fall, but it brings with it beautiful colors when the trees start turning
bright yellows, reds, and oranges ("Ilmatieteen Laitos En.").
Evergreen trees cover most of Finland, making it a coniferous forest zone ("Ilmatieteen Laitos
En."). While Norway pines dominate the area just north of the Arctic circle, elms, spruces,
maples, hazels, lindens, and elms grow in the southern part. The country also has many areas
of swampland. Throughout most of the country, bushes grow cloudberries, lingonberries, and
crowberries during the summer. Lichens, shrubs, and mosses cover the hillsides above the tree
lines (“Finland--in Pictures”17).
The first settlers in Finland were said to be the Finno-Ugrain, who settled in about 7000 B.C.
They lived in the southern part of the country and hunted moose and fished for food. After A.D.
800, Vikings came to the mainland of Finland, establishing various trading posts throughout the
mainland of the country and eventually making contact between the Finns and the Byzantine
empire, which was located in what is now Turkey.(“Kruhse”)
In 1157, the Swedish king, King Eric IX, conquered Finland, making it part of the Swedish
kingdom and converted most of its people from worshiping many gods to Christianity (“Kruhse”).
Finland was soon split into two territories due to a war over the land, which lasted until 1351. In
that year, the Russians signed a treaty that gave the Swedish unchallenged control over the
land of Finland for two centuries. After this, many Swedish settlers moved to the southern and
western coasts, soon making the Swedish language popular among the previous settlers in
Finland. In 1362, Sweden gave Finland the right to send representatives to an assembly to elect
Sweden’s monarch, signifying that the Swedish government considered Finland a province of
Sweden rather than a foreign