Finland: Location, History, Size, Population, & Government

About the location, history, size, population, and government of the country Finland.



Location-Part of the Scandinavian peninsula. Norway borders the north; the Soviet Union the east; Sweden and the Gulf of Bothnia on the west and the Gulf of Finland on the south.

How Created-Settled 5,000 years ago by peoples who came from Russia, Scandinavia, and Central Europe. They were divided into 3 groups which are still the main ethnic divisions: the Tavastians who entered by way of the Gulf of Finland; the Karelians who came from the southeast; and the Nordics who occupied the coast and the archipelagoes. Glacial movement was important in the creation of Finland and the country is still scattered with glacial debris. Finland lost 1/10 of its land to the U.S.S.R. following a war in 1939-1940.

Size-130,129 sq. mi. (337,032 sq. km.), about the size of New England, New Jersey, and New York combined.

Population-4,900,000: Finnish, 92.4%; Swedish, 7.4%; Russian and others, 0.2%. 92.5% Lutheran.

Who Rules-The legislative powers rest in a Parliament of 200 members elected every 4 years. Representation of each party is determined by the proportion of total votes cast in these regular elections. The President is elected for 6 years. He appoints a Council of State (Cabinet) which is responsible to the Parliament. Finland is divided into 12 counties under the supervision of governors appointed by the President. The counties are further subdivided into rural and urban districts. A Chancellor of Justice is the highest judicial authority and there is a Supreme Court which appoints the circuit judges together with 4 Courts of Appeal.

Who REALLY Rules-A coalition of several political parties with much care taken not to offend the Soviet Union too much. Per capita, Finland has more consumer cooperatives than any other country in the world. Forestry is the most important natural resource and 62.7% of the forest area is owned by private farmers; the State owns 28% and private companies own 7.1%. The remaining 2.2% is owned by communes.

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