Place:Finnmark, Norway

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NameFinnmark
Alt namesFinmarksource: GRI Photo Study, Authority File (1989); Webster's Geographical Dictionary (1984)
Finnmárkusource: Wikipedia
TypeCounty
Coordinates70.0°N 25.0°E
Located inNorway
source: Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names
source: Family History Library Catalog


the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia

Finnmark (, Finnish (at Kven dialects): Ruija) is a county in the eastern part of Norway. By land, it borders Troms county to the west, Finland (Lapland region) to the south, and Russia (Murmansk Oblast) to the east, and by water, the Norwegian Sea (Atlantic Ocean) to the northwest, and the Barents Sea (Arctic Ocean) to the north and northeast.

The county was formerly known as Finmarkens amt or Vardøhus amt. Since 2002, it has had two official names: Finnmark (Norwegian) and Finnmárku (Northern Sami). It is part of the Sápmi region, which spans four countries, as well as the Barents Region, and is the largest and least populated county of Norway.

Situated at the northernmost part of continental Europe, where the Norwegian coastline swings eastward, Finnmark is an area "where East meets West," in culture as well as in nature and geography. Vardø, the easternmost municipality in Norway, is located farther east than the cities of St. Petersburg and Istanbul.

Contents

History

the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia

People have lived in Finnmark for at least 10,000 years (see Komsa, Pit-Comb Ware culture and Rock carvings at Alta). The destiny of these early cultures is unknown. Three ethnic groups have a long history in Finnmark: the Sami people, the Norwegian people, and the Kven people. Of these, the Sami probably were the first people to explore Finnmark. Ohthere of Hålogaland was an adventurous Norwegian (Norseman) from Hålogaland, the area roughly corresponding to today's Nordland county. Around 890 AD, he claimed, according to historical sources (see Ohthere of Hålogaland) that he lived "north-most of all the Northmen", and that "no one [lived] to the north of him." Later, Norwegians in the 14th century, and Kvens in the 16th century, settled along the coast. See the articles on Kven people and Vardøhus Fortress for more details.

Sami

The Sami are the indigenous people of Finnmark, but Norwegians have lived for hundreds of years on the islands' outer parts, where they made up the majority. The Sami people still constitute the majority in Finnmark's interior parts, while the fjord areas have been ethnically mixed for a long time. This essentially holds true today.

The Sami were for many years victims of the Norwegianization policy, which in essence was an attempt by the government to make them "true" Norwegians and forget about their Sami way of life and religion, which was seen as inferior. As a result, the Sami living at the coast and in the fjords gradually lost much of their culture and often felt ashamed by their Sami inheritance. The Sami in the interior managed to preserve more of their culture. In the 1970s, instruction of the Sami language started in schools, and a new sense of consciousness started to grow among the Sami; today most are proud of their background and culture.

In the midst of this awakening (1979), Norway's government decided to build a dam in Alta to produce hydropower, provoking many Sami and environmentalists to demonstrations and civil disobedience (Altasaken). In the end, the dam was built on a much smaller scale than originally intended and the Sami culture was on the government's agenda. The Sami parliament (Sámediggi) was opened in Karasjok in 1989.

Norwegian

Gjesvær in Nordkapp is mentioned in the Sagas (Heimskringla) as a northern harbor in the viking age, especially used by Vikings on the way to Bjarmaland (see Ottar from Hålogaland), and probably also for gathering food in the nearby seabird colony. Coastal areas of Finnmark were colonized by Norwegians beginning in the 10th century, and there are stories describing clashes with the Karelians. Border skirmishes between the Norwegians and Novgorodians continued until 1326, when the Treaty of Novgorod settled the issue.

The first known fortification in Finnmark is Vardøhus festning, first erected in 1306 by King Haakon V Magnusson. This is the world's most northern fortress. In the 17th century, 88 young women were burned as witches in Vardø, an extremely high number compared to the total population in this area at the time. However, the first person burned as witch in Vardø in the 17th century was not a woman, but a man. [Vardø archives]

Finnmark first became subject to increased colonization in the 18th and 19th century. Norway, Sweden, and Russia all claimed control over this area. Finland was part of Russia at that time and had no independent representative. Finnmark was given the status of an Amt (county) in the 19th century. For a time, there was a vibrant trade with Russia (Pomor trade), and many Norwegians settled on the Kola Peninsula (see Kola Norwegians).

Kven

The Finnic Kven residents of Finnmark are largely descendants of Finnish speaking immigrants who arrived in the area in the 18th century from Meänmaa, and later in the 19th century from Finland, suffering from famine and war.

Brief summary

In 1576, the King of Norway established Vardøhus len as a new administrative unit for the kingdom. In 1660, it became Vardøhus amt, a subordinate to the large Trondhjems stiftamt, based in Trondheim. In 1787, the island of Senja and the Troms area were transferred from Nordlandenes amt to Vardøhus amt. In 1866, the island of Senja and the Troms area were separated from Vardøhus to form the new Tromsø amt. In 1919, the name was again changed to Finnmark fylke. In 2002, the Sami language name, Finnmárku, was added as a co-official name for the county.

Per Fugelli has said that World War II resulted in many persons acquiring psychiatric disorders (psykiske senskadene) which could be from experiencing "bombing, accidents involving mines, burning down of homes, forcible evacuation, illness and starvation during the war and liberation. But it was maybe in particular the treatment of Russian prisoners that left marks on the local population."

World War II

Towards the end of World War II, with Operation Nordlicht, the Germans used the scorched earth tactic in Finnmark and northern Troms to halt the Red Army. As a consequence of this, few houses survived the war, and a large part of the population was forcefully evacuated further south (Tromsø was crowded), but many people avoided evacuation by hiding in caves and mountain huts and waited until the Germans were gone, then inspected their burned homes. There were 11,000 houses, 4,700 cow sheds, 106 schools, 27 churches, and 21 hospitals burned. There were 22,000 communications lines destroyed, roads were blown up, boats destroyed, animals killed, and 1,000 children separated from their parents.

However, after taking the town of Kirkenes on 25 October 1944 (as the first town in Norway), the Red Army did not attempt further offensives in Norway. Free Norwegian forces arrived from Britain and liberated the rest of the county. When war was over, more than 70,000 people were left homeless in Finnmark. The government imposed a temporary ban on residents returning to Finnmark because of the danger of landmines. The ban lasted until the summer of 1945 when evacuees were told that they could finally return home.


Cold War

The Cold War was a period with sometimes high tension in eastern Finnmark, at the long border with the Soviet Union. To keep tensions from getting too high, Norway declared that no NATO exercises would take place in Finnmark. There was, however, a lot of military intelligence activity, and Norwegian P-3 Orion maritime surveillance aircraft were often the first to get pictures of newly built Soviet submarines and aircraft. A purpose built ELINT vessel, Marjata, was always stationed near the border, and the current Marjata (7500 t) is still operating out of the ports in eastern Finnmark. As recently as 2000, Russian generals threatened to target the Globus II Radar in Vardø with nuclear missiles.

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This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original content was at Finnmark. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with WeRelate, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.