Finland (; ; Swedish: Finland), officially the Republic of Finland, is a Nordic country situated in the Fennoscandian region of Northern Europe. It is bordered by Sweden to the west, Norway to the north and Russia to the east, while Estonia lies to the south across the Gulf of Finland.
An estimated 5.4 million people live in Finland, with the majority concentrated in its southern regions. In terms of area, it is the eighth largest country in Europe and the most sparsely populated country in the European Union. Politically, it is a parliamentary republic with a central government based in the capital of Helsinki, local governments in 336 municipalities and an autonomous region, the Åland Islands. About one million residents live in the Greater Helsinki area (consisting of Helsinki, Espoo, Kauniainen and Vantaa) and a third of the country's GDP is produced there. Other larger cities include Tampere, Turku, Oulu, Jyväskylä, Lahti and Kuopio.
From the 12th until the start of the 19th century, Finland was a part of Sweden. It then became an autonomous Grand Duchy within the Russian Empire until the Russian Revolution and Russia's withdrawal from World War I in 1917. This prompted the Finnish Declaration of Independence, which was followed by a civil war where the pro-Bolshevik "Reds" were defeated by the pro-conservative "Whites" with support from the German Empire. After a brief attempt to establish a monarchy in the country, Finland became the republic that it remains today.
Finland's experience of World War II involved three separate conflicts: the Winter War (1939–1940) and Continuation War (1941–1944) against the Soviet Union; and the Lapland War (1944–1945) against Nazi Germany. Following the end of the war, Finland joined the United Nations in 1955, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in 1969, the European Union in 1995 and the eurozone at its inception in 1999. During this time, it built an extensive welfare state.
Finland was a relative latecomer to industrialisation, remaining a largely agrarian country until the 1950s. Thereafter, economic development was rapid, such that today, with a nominal per-capita income of over $49,000 (2011), Finland is one of the world's wealthiest nations. According to some measures, Finland has the best educational system in Europe and has recently been ranked as one of the world's most peaceful and economically competitive countries. It has also been ranked as one of the world's countries with the highest quality of life.
How places in Finland are organized
Prior to 1997 Finland was divided into 12 or 13 provinces, which are labeled as "counties" (needs to be changed). In 1997 Finland was re-divided into six provinces, which are labeled as "provinces." The standard at WeRelate is to title Finnish place pages according to their former province when the former province is known, with also-located-in links to the modern province when it is known.
All places in Finland
Further information on historical place organization in Finland