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Finland (The Kalmar Union)

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Kingdom of Finland
Timeline: The Kalmar Union
Flag of Finland 1918 (state) Coat of arms of Finland
Flag Coat of Arms
Capital
(and largest city)
Helsinki
Language Finnish, Svealandic
King Karl III
Prime Minister Eero Nurmi
Population 4,635,000 
Independence 1801
Currency FIM

The Kingdom of Finland, Finland, Suomi, is a constitutional monarchy situated in the Fenno-Scandanavian peninsula. It has a population of around 4.6 million. It shares borders with Lade to the North, Karelia to the East and Novgorod to the South-East. Across the Gulf of Finland to the South lies Saaremaa and Estonia. To the West lies the Gulf of Bothnia and the Svealandic islands of Aland.

Its current Head of State is King Karl III.

Its currency is the Finnish Markka (FIM).

Its official languages are Finnish and Svealandic. Northern Russian and Sami are recognised as minority languages.

History

Previously divided into small tribes, Finland was subject to crusades from Svealand beginning in 1214. However, the long and bitter civil war in Svealand during the early 13th century prevented a full conquest of the area until 1252. The Bishopric of Helsingfors was established that year and the populace was comprehensively christianised. The whole area was given the name 'Duchy of Finland' and usually given to the eldest son of the Svealandic monarch.

A return to civil war in 1261 led to a separate kingdom being established in Finland under Eric I (Eric VII of Svealand) and his son Eric II. Although they both claimed the Svealandic throne in practice they only ruled Finland and occasionally Aland. Their neighbours; Saaremaa and Novgorod, were only too happy to frustrate the Svealanders' attempts at retaking their Finnish domains and the separate kingdom lasted until 1307.

Reincorporated into a wider Svealandic realm Finland began to come under pressure from Novgorod. In a move to pacify the area and move his attentions elsewhere Carl I of Svealand signed the Treaty of Noteborg with the Novgorodian Republic. This roughly fixed the Eastern border of Finland whilst making Lappland and Karelia a no man's land.

On incorporation into a wider Viken-Svealandic realm in 1342 Finland revolted, unwilling to see anyone but a member of the House of Eric ruling the duchy. Olaf III campaigned extensively in Finland, Karelia and Ingria to revise the Treaty of Noteborg and extend his dominions at the expense of Novgorod. The Black Death made little impact on Finland as a whole.

By 1431 Finland was part of the Kalmar Union, more or less being run by Denmark instead of Svealand for much of the next 150 years. While Svealand would regularly rebel against Danish rule, Finland stayed generally loyal, ever mindful that the Danes and their allies could protect it against Novgorod whereas an unsteady Svealand could not. In 1551, however, Svealand did succeed in gaining independence and not long afterwards made short work of the remaining Danish garrisons in both Aland and Finland. In the meantime the populace had wholeheartedly embraced Lutheranism and were busy exporting it to Saarema, Estonia and Livonia.

Finland escaped most of the fighting and devastation of the Great Baltic War, remaining Svealandic throughout the war and its troops served in most of Svealand's campaigns. The Treaty of Lubeck of 1774, however, lost the barrier region of Ingria to Novgorod. Svealand began to improve and strengthen the fortress of Viipuri in response but taxed Finland harder to pay for it. Whereas only a decade before the Svealanders were celebrated as heroes now they were seen as plunderers and occupiers.

The Novgorodian invasion of 1801 proved the final straw. Under the poor leadership of Duke Gustav (the future Gustav VI) a badly provisioned and demoralised army crumbled in the face of well-drilled Novgorodian troops. The loss of the supposedly 'impregnable' fortress Viipuri after a mere three day siege led several Finnish army officers to stage a coup. Duke Gustav was placed under house arrest and emissaries were sent out to Novgorod, Saaremaa and also Denmark, to which it offered its allegiance. Saaremaa provided naval aid to prevent Helsinki harbour falling into Novgorodian hands and forced it to broker a ceasefire. Meanwhile Denmark sent several capable men to reform the army.

A renewal of war, this time with Danish assistance, allowed the Novgorodians to be expelled from Viipuri. Count Carl Julius de la Gardie, distantly related to the House of Eric, was chosen as Finland's new monarch. The kingdom was restored after a near 500 year gap and he took the name Karl I. Under Danish supervision the army grew and strengthened to the point it could repel Svealand's attempts at reclaiming its erstwhile province in 1803 and in 1811.

Finland and Novgorod would tussle several times more, over Karelia and Viipuri, over the next 40 years culminating in the Karelian war of 1842. Novgorod invaded Karelia and simultaneously marched on Viipuri. After several months of inconclusive skirmishing Finland defeated the main Novgorodian force at the battle of Sortavala. With Finnish troops rampant in Novgorod proper a deliberately harsh treaty was signed. The Treaty of Viipuri gave Ingria to Finland as well as defined the borders of Karelia. The treaty would later be amended at a meeting of the Kalmar Union, who in general wanted a stronger Novgorod to balance the expansionist policies of Tver and Vladimir. Finland's border was set at the Neva River whilst Ingria was given more autonomy. The Duchy of Karelia, long merely a Finnish puppet, would also be given real independence though ties between the two remain strong.

Finland would see the last natural famine in Europe in the 1860s, a painful period which saw the movement of almost half the population to the south coast and was acerbated by debts accrued during the wars and those owed to Denmark.

Government

Finland is a constitutional monarchy and is governed by a single-chambered Parliament. King Karl III is the current head of state whilst Eero Nurmi is the current Prime Minister. Elections for the parliament are carried out every five years.

Finland is full member of the Kalmar Union.

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