Finland is a northern European country located between Sweden and Russia. It is sometimes referred to as a Scandinavian country, but this is not accurate as ethnically the Finns are not Scandinavians, maning the northern German tribes. We have little information about the country at this time. The country is today an independent country, but since the 12th cebntury conquest by Sweden was ruled by either Sweden or Russia until achieving independence after World War I (1918). Thus fashion trends have been influenced by those two countries. Germany has also influenced fashions. We know of no destinctive Finnish boys' fashions.
Finland is located between Sweden and Russia. Finland is separated from most of Sweden by the Gulf of Bothnia. Finland in the South borders on the Baltia Sea and Gulf of Finland. Finland is located at northern lattitudes, but like Sweden has no outlet on the Barents Sea as northern Norways connects abuts with Russia. Much of southern and central Finland is covered by interconnected lakes. Much of northern Finland is part of Lapland which comprises northern Norway and Sweden and extends into the Russian Kola Peninsula.
Although bordering on Sweden, the Finns are a separate people speaking a destinctive language different from the other Scandinavian languages. The Scandanavians were the northern Germanic tribes and their languages Germanic. Finnic is an entirely different language family. There are different Finnic languages. Carelian in the extreme south is one such Finnic language.
The origins of the Finnish people are not known with any certainty. The prevalent theory on the origins of the population have been formed with archaeological, linguistic and more recently biological (DNA) research. Finns and Saami (Lapps) appeared to have descended from a Proto-Finno-Saami (Uralic) people migrating west from the east and south-east. While there is no historical data, these migrations west were often caused by interactions between the Chinese and Mongolian Steppe tribes.
This initial Finnish population settled in southern areas during the Neolithic Period (4,200 - 1,500 BC). They introduced the Comb-Ceramic culture. Over time Balts, especially from the area of modern Estonia also arrived in southetrn Finland as well as Swedes (a Scandanavian Germanic people). More Germans arrived during the early Middle ages. The finnish language is strongly influenced by Estonian and Swedish. The impact of these non-Finnish peoples is such that klinguists today describe Finnish as a
indo-europeanised Finno-Ugrian language. These different people in the south tended to merge. Thus the agricultural peoples of the south were increasingly different than the nomadic people of the noth--the Sammi or Lapplanders who were ethnically more related to the origiinal proto-Finnish-Sammi migrants. And the language of the Sammi is less influenced by Indo-European elements. Before the development of modern DNA studies, ethnic relations were largely traced by linquistics and archeological artifacts. DNA studies have found that the migrations of Swedes, Germans, and Estoinians were more significant than earlier believed. DNA tests shuggest that only about 25 percent of Finland's genetic stock is of Uralic origins. About 75 pervent is Indo-European. Thus it is probably correct to describe the Finns as Finnicised Indo-Europeans, meaning a ethnically Indo-European people who have adopted the language and important cultural elements of the local Proto-Finno-Saami people. This is an importabt example of how research on pre-history based on language and culture can be misleading. Finnish folk costume is strongly influenced by the Laps, a nomadic people also found in nothern Sweden.
A HBC reader writes, "Scandinavia includes Sweden, Norway, Denmark, and possibly Iceland. Finland however, isn't part of Scandinavia. As you mentioned, its culture and language have different origins and are actually closer to those of Baltic countries (Estonia in particular) and even Hungary." Actually here geographers differ somewhat. Geographers agree that the Scandinavian Peninsula is Borway and Sweden. Here Finland is separated by the Gulf of Boythnia. The Scandinavian cukltural group is less clearly defined. All sources inclide Norway, Sweden, and Denmark as part od Scandinavia because of linguistic, ethnic, and cultural similarities. For similar reasons Iceland and the Faeroe Islands are also included. Sources vary as to Finland. As our reader mentions there are substantial differences between Finland and the rest of Scandinavia. Here centuries of Swedish had some impact on Finland and some sources do include it as part of the region.
Finland is today an independent country, but since the 12th century conquest by Sweden was ruled by either Sweden or Russia. The Swedes conquered Finland in the 12th century. A level of autonomy was achieved when Finland was made a grand duchy (16th century). Russian rule is much more recent. Sweden during the Napoleonic War ceded Finland to Russia (1809). As a Grand Duchy with its own constitution and parliament, Finland was an anomally in the Russian Empire. The Tsarist regime moved to tighten its control over Finand in the late 19th century (1890s). As a result of the Russian Revolution, the Finn's declared independence (1917). Communist efforts to take control were defeated by Marshal Mannerheim. The Finns established a republic (1919). An extensive land reform program broke up the large estates and made 90 opercent of the farmers who had been tennant farmers land owners. The Soviet Union cooperated with the NAZIs in invading Poland and launching World War II. After seizing eastern Poland, Stlalin looked north and demanded the demilitarization of Finnish fortifications facing Lenningrad (Mannerheim Line) and the cession of military bases. The Sovierts were making similar demands on the Baltic Republics which in a secret codicil of the NAI-Soviet Non-Agression Pact (1939) had been relegated to Soviet control. The Finn's refused the Sovirt demand and the Soviets invaded. Stalin was stunned at Finnish resistance in the Winter War (1939-40). The Red Army sufferd heavy losses, but eventually prevailed. A peace treaty transferred sections of the Karelian Penninsula, Vyborg, and border territories to the Soviets (March 1940). Hitler noted the poor performance of the Red Army in the War. Finland joined in the NAZI invasion of the Soviet Union (June 1941). The Finns limited their operations to recoivering the lost territory. The limited Finnish participation in the NAZI war with the Soviets were a key factor in the Soviet success in stopping the Wehrmacht at Lenningrad. When the resurgence oif the Red Army, Finland was forced to capituale again to Soviet forces. The Soviets required the Finns in addition to the territories ceeded in 1940 to cede Petsamo and lease Porkkala area. They also had to expel German forces fighting in northern Finland which resulted in coinsiderable destruction.
Finland was acquired from Sweden by Russian during the Naoleonic era (1809). at the beginning of the 20th century was still a Grand Duchy within the Russian Empire. As a Grand Duchy, Finland relatively broad autonomy in its economic and many internal affairs. It was a basically agricultural province of the Tsarist Empire. Unlike some parts of the Empire, there was little industrial development. Income levels were about half of the Unites States, but comparable to the rest of Eastern Europe. Finns fought with the Russias in World War I, but the fighting never reached Finland itself. The country was involved in the Civil War and emerged as an independent republic. The country was involved in World war II when the Soviet Union invaded--launching the Winter War (1940). The country's small population and small industrial base made it difficult to resist the overwealming Soviet power. Finland joined the NAZI German invasion of the Soviet Union, with much more limited objectives. Consiferable damage was done to the country's infrastructure during the War and some of the best agricultural land was lost in the territory seized by the Soviets. The country rapidly industrialized after the War. A factor here was integration with the West and trade liberalization. This had to be carefully managed with diplomacy so as not to cause a Soviet reaction. As a esult, Finnish living standards steadily improved. Finland first joined the Outer Seven with Britain, but joined the European Union (1995) and the European Economic and Monetary Union (1999). Finland at the beginning of the 21st century was classified as a small, but highly successful industrialized country. The population shares a standard of living among the top twenty in the world. It has a highly industrialized, basically free-market economy. Per capita statistics are similar to Sweden. The core of the econolny is the manufacturing sector, including the wood, metals, engineering, telecommunications, and electronics industries. Nokia is one of the world's leading high-tech companies, specializing in cell phones. The country is a major exporter, about a third of the GSP is based on trade. Finland does not have extensive natural resources. The ptimary resources are timber and minerals (especially tin). The country has to import large quantities of raw materials and energy, especially petroleum. Agricultural is limited by the country's northerly climate, but basivally supplies the domestic market. The forestry sector does contribute to exports.
We do not yet have enough Finninish images to build a chronology of Finnish boys' clothes. We have found a few school portraits, but our archive is still very limited. A HBC reader hs sent an interesting image of modern Finnsh children participating in a recreation of the 17th century. We are not sure how accurate the depiction is, but looks reasonably accurate. Finnish artists provide some information, but so far we have not found anything earlier than the 19th century. Our primary source of informnation is photohraphs. Photography of course developed in the mid-19th century. Most of the photographs we have found so far are from the 20th century.
Fashion trends have been influenced by Sweden and Russia as those two countries ruled Finland for centuries. Trade connections were also important. Germany has also influenced fashions. Here we do not know how doirectly German fashions affected Sweden. As German fashions influenced both Sweden and Russia, the influence could have been indirect through those countries. The H-bar shorts seen here (figure 1), for example, are a German style, but were also worn by other Scandinavian and Russian boys. We know of no destinctive Finnish boys' fashions, although there are destinctive folk costumes.
Finish boys as far as we can tell wore the same garments as other European boys, especially Scandinavian and Russian boys. Our image archive is still quite limited. We note some sailor garments, a style that was popular throughout Sandinavia. We are unable to assess the various garments commonly worn until we acquire some more images.
The Finns were conquered and Christianized by Sweden during the Northern Crusades (12th-13th centuries). Since that time until independence in 1918 as a republic, Finland was ruled by either Sweden or Russia. As a result, there was no actual Finnish royal line, at least in the Christian era. Finland was ruled by the Swedish or Ruissian monarchy. Sweden made Finland a grand duchy (16th century). The Grand Duke of Finland under Swedish rule was more accurztely translated as the Grand Prince of Finland (Storfurste av Finland). This was one of the titles of the king of Sweden. Occassioinaly it was a title given to the crown prince. Russia seized Fibnland during the Napoleonic Wars (1809). The title of grand duke was transfered to Russia as the head of the autonomous Grand Principality of Finland. This was a title assume by the Russian Tsar.
We do not yet have much information on youth activies in Finland, primarily because our Finnish archive is fairly limited. The most important activity is of course school. We do have some information on Finnish schools. We have found some information on Finnish choirs. As in other countries, Finnish boys enjoy a range of sports. As in other countries, the most ppoular sport is football (soiccer). Of course because of the climare, msny Finns enjoy skiing. We do not yet have any information on youth groups. The only group we know of are the Scouts.
Sweden conquered and Christinized the Finns in the Northern Crusades (12th century). There was conflict between the Swedish Kingdom supported by the Catholic Church and the Principality of Novgorod supported by the Greek Orthodox Church over Finland. The Swedish kingdom prevailed and proved to be the more successful of the two, slowly gaining control over the whole of Finland. Karelia was split between Sweden and Novgorod (and its Russian successor state. This mean that Finland was initially Roman Catholic while southern/eastern Karelia was Orthodox. Durung the Reformation, Sweden and Finland became Protestant--primarily Lutheran (16th century). Finland was conquered by Russia in the Finnish War (1808-09). Tsar Alexander I after the Russian victory over the Swedes promised the four Estates of Finland to respect the faith and the basic laws that were in force in the country. Thus the Russians did not attempt to convert Finnish Protestants.
The topic of Finnish regions is somewhat complicated. The 20 Finnish regions are more culturally based than the provinces which were purly administrative units and imposed by the Sweedes. They did affect the concentration of finnish dialects. . The regions in contrast represent cultural diversity. This includes linguistic, economic, ethnic and other differences. The modern regions are based on nine historical regions: Finland Proper, Karelia, Laponia (Lappland), Ostrobothnia, Satakunta, Savonia, Tavastia, Uusimaa, and Åland. The two best known are Karelia and Laponia. Karelia, much of which was lost to the Soviet Union was a World War II battelground. Lappland is of course famed for the destinctive culture of the Lapplanders who inhabit northern Finland and Sweden.
The largest minority in Finland is Swedish speakers. Sweden governed Finland for centuries and during this period, Swedish was the official language. Many Finns of Swedish orginins are entegrated in Finnish society and speak Finnish. The father of Finnish music, who composed the beautiful symphonic poem "Finlandia", was Johan Julius Christian ("Jean") Sibelius. He was born in Finland of Swedish-speaking parents. He belonged to the large ethnic Swedish minority, but he obviously loved his country, Finland. Lapplanders or Sammi are a minority in the north. Estimates suggest there are about 2,500 Sammi. There are also small mumers of Romani (Gypseys). Finland's Gypseys used the term Romani. There are about 8,000 Gypseys in Finland. They first reached Finland in the 16th century. There is a small Jewish community. Retired Tsarist Army veterans were the first Jews to settle in Finland. The NAZIs during World War II demanded the Finns turn over their Jews as part of the Holocaust. The Finns although dependent on the Germans for war supplies, refused to do so. Finnish Jes served with the Finnish Army alongside the Germans during the War.
We do not know much about Finnish art history and artists yet. We have virtualy no informationa about Finish artists at this time. Finland until World War I and
the Russian Revolution was part of Tsasrist Russia. The only artist that we have identified so far is Karl Emanuel Jansson. Hopefully our Finish readers will provide us more information about Finnish artists.
We have begun to collect some information on Finnish families. The family segment of HBC provides a wealth of date about Finnish society, The family images for various decades provide interesting information about family life and social trends as well as the clothing and hair style fashions. They also provide insights as to the fashions worn by other members over time. It is interesting to see what adult and girl fashions were associated with the various styles that boys wore over time. We are collecting information on families from different regions as well as various demographic segments to provide a complete view of Finninsh society over time.
We note an unidentified family duting the 1920s in a village near Keuruu (central Finland). We are not sure that they are a rural family. They look more like a city family spending the summer in a rural site. The Mäkinen family looks more like a rural family. They lived near Keuru during the 1920s. The mother's scarfe was commonly woirn by rural peasant women.
We note the five Finnish siblings--the Jokinen children. They were the children of Väinö and Hilma Jokinen. They live near Keuruu, a town about 270 km north of Helsinki. The photo is undated, but looks like the early-30s.
We do not yet have much information on Finnish individuals. Our Finnish archive is still very limited. We have begun to add a few Finnish individuAls to this section. A reader has provided us a portrait identified only as the 'vicar's son'. We do know the portrait was taken in Helsinki during 1894 while Filand was still part of the Russian Empire. He wears a sailor suit. We do note Aino and Osmo Kolkki about 1907-08 while Finland was still part of the Russian Empire.
Related Chronolgy Pages in the Boys' Historical Web Site
[The 1880s] [The 1890s]
[The 1900s] [The 1910s] [The 1920s] [The 1930s] [The 1940s] [The 1930s] [The 1940s] [The 1950s]
[The 1960s] [The 1970s] [The 1980s]
Related Style Pages in the Boys' Historical Web Site
[Long pants suits] [Knicker suits] [Short pants suits] [Socks] [Eton suits] [Jacket and trousers]
[Blazer] [School sandals] [School smocks] [Sailor suits] [Pinafores] [Long stockings]
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