Finland has been a Baltic battleground throughout its history. Its geographical location, bordering Sweden and Russia, has exacerbated this, and it has fought wars on military, cultural, and linguistic fronts.

Before the 20th Century

The story of Finland before the 20th century is largely a tale of wars between Sweden and Russia. During the 12th and 13th centuries, Sweden gradually gained control of Finland, which became a Swedish province in the 14th century. Finland remained part of the Swedish kingdom until 1809, when it was seized by Russia. The Swedes had treated the Finns reasonably well, bringing them Christianity, education, and the law. However, the Finns had suffered terribly in the wars with Russia—thousands of Finns were killed fighting for Sweden, and famine and disease overran ...

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