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Grand Duchy of Finland

Grand Duchy of Finland

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Storfurstendömet Finland
Suomen suuriruhtinaskunta
Великое княжество Финляндское

Grand Duchy of Finland

Client state of the Russian Empire

Image:Flag of Sweden.svg
1809 — 1917 Image:Flag of Finland.svg

<p>Image:Suuriruhtinaskunnanvaakuna.png <p> Coat of arms

Capital Turku (until 1812)
Helsinki (from 1812)
Saint Petersburg (administrative capital)
Language(s) Swedish, Finnish¹, Russian¹
Religion Evangelical Lutheran and Russian Orthodox
Government Principality
Grand Duke
 - 1815-1825 Alexander I
 - 1825-1855 Nicholas I
 - 1894-1917 Nicholas II
 - 1808-1809 Count Sprengtporten
 - 1809-1810 Prince Barclay de Tolly
 - 1898-1904 General Bobrikov
Legislature Diet of Finland
 - Diet of Porvoo March 291809
 - Independence December 61917
 - 1850 338,145 km2
130,559 sq mi
 - 1850 est. 1,636,900 
     Density 4.8 /km² 
12.5 /sq mi
Currency Ruble² (1840-1859)
Markka (from 1860)
¹ Finnish language official from 1883, Russian language, 1809-1863 and 1900-1917
² Before 1840, old Swedish money, Russian money and Finnish 'kopeekka' issued in Turku since 1811.
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The Grand Duchy of Finland (Latin: Magnus Ducatus Finlandiæ) was the predecessor state of modern Finland that existed in her territory 18091917 as part of the Russian Empire.


[edit] History

An extended Finland Proper was made a titulary Grand Duchy (more correctly, Grand Principality[citation needed]) in 1581, when king John III of Sweden, who as a prince had been royal duke of Finland (15561561/63), extended the list of subsidiary titles to the Kings of Sweden considerably. The new title Grand Duke of Finland did not result in any increase of Finnish autonomy. (During the next two centuries, the title was used by some of John's successors on the throne, but not all (e.g. his brother Charles IX used King of the Finns instead). Usually it was just a subsidiary title of the King, used only at very formal occasions. In 21 August 1772, there was a new nominal arrangement that henceforwards, Finland was in personal union with Sweden, as grand principality (often called a grand duchy in other languages). That apparently did not change essentially its administration. (However, in 1802 as an indication of resolve to keep Finland within Sweden in face of increased Russian pressure, King Gustav IV Adolf gave the title to his new-born son, Prince Carl Gustaf, who died three years later.)

During the Finnish War between Sweden and Russia, the four Estates of occupied Finland were assembled at the Diet of Porvoo on March 29, 1809 to pledge allegiance to Alexander I of Russia. Following the Swedish defeat in the war and the signing of the Treaty of Fredrikshamn on September 17, 1809, Finland became a true autonomous grand duchy as a part of the Russian Empire. For the foundation of the Grand Duchy as an entity with relatively greater autonomy within the Russian realm, and for the regain of the so called Old Finland, that was lost to Russia in the previous century, the Finland-born Gustaf Mauritz Armfelt, councillor to the emperor, was instrumental.

The history of the Grand Duchy can briefly be characterized as:

  • 1809–1862: fifty years of consolidation, during which the Grand Duchy's authorities succeeded in convincing the Russian court of not only their but of all Finns' loyalty
  • 1863–1898: thirty-five years of increased independence, including the re-establishment of the Diet of Finland and the elevation of Finnish from a language for simple people to a national language equal to Swedish
  • 1899–1917: twenty years of attempted russification, although ultimately unsuccessful, nevertheless detrimental for Finland's relationship with the Soviet Union

The Tsar ruled Finland as a constitutional monarch through his governor and a native Senate appointed by him. The country nevertheless enjoyed a high degree of autonomy, until its independence in 1917. In 1917, after the February Revolution in Russia, Finland's government worked towards securing Finland's autonomy in domestic matters and possibly even its increase. On December 6, 1917, shortly after the October Revolution in Russia, Finland declared its independence. Prince Frederick Charles of Hesse was elected the new monarch as king instead of grand duke, marking the new status of the nation, but he never reigned as a republic was proclaimed.

[edit] Politics

The Russian Emperor ruled as the Grand Duke of Finland and was represented in Finland by the Governor-General of Finland. The Senate of Finland was the highest governing body of the Grand Duchy. In St. Petersburg Finnish matters were represented by the Finnish Minister Secretary of State. From 1863 and onwards the Diet of Finland convened regularly. In 1903, the Diet with its hereditary rather than universally elected representation was dissolved, and the modern Parliament of Finland was established. For the first time in the world, universal suffrage and eligibility was implemented — for women, for landless people.

[edit] Geography

Main article: Geography of Finland

The Grand Duchy of Finland lay approximately in the same borders that existed before the Moscow Peace Treaty of 1940. The main difference was Petsamo, that was ceded to Finland only in the Treaty of Tartu in 1920.

[edit] Counties

Main article: Counties in Finland
Finland c. 1900

The administrative division introduced during the Swedish era in 1634 was continued with little changes.

[edit] Heraldry

Main articles: Flag of Finland, Coat of Arms of Finland

The arms were granted at the burial of Gustav Vasa in 1560 and still remain the arms of the Republic of Finland.

In the 1860s talk about a Finnish Flag started in the fennoman movement. In 1863 numerous proposals were presented for a national flag. [1] The two main proposals were flags based on red/yellow and blue/white. Unfortunately the flag proposals never had a chance to be presented to the Diet so none of them ever became an official flag. That didn't stop people from using different designs for flags of their own choosing.

[edit] Miscellaneous topics

[edit] See also

[edit] External links

Russian/Soviet territorial dominions
Metropolitan power: Image:Romanov Flag.svg Russian Empire - Soviet Union Image:Flag of the Soviet Union.svg
Monarchies in personal union with imperial Russia: Kingdom of Congress Poland (1815-1831) | Grand Duchy of Finland (1809-1917)

Concession territories: Russian: Kwantung Leased Territory & Chinese Eastern Railway Zone in China | Soviet: Hanko & later Porkkala (Baltic Sea peninsulas in Finland) |

Russian imperial protectorate: Manchuria

Soviet occupation zones in partitioned countries after World war II: Germany Soviet Zone & Berlin Soviet Zone | Austria Soviet Zone - Vienna Soviet Zone)

es:Gran Ducado de Finlandia

fo:Hertugadømið Finnland fr:Grand-duché de Finlande io:Finlando kom autonomio nl:Grootvorstendom Finland ja:フィンランド大公国 ro:Marele Ducat al Finlandei ru:Великое княжество Финляндское fi:Suomen suuriruhtinaskunta sv:Storfurstendömet Finland pt:Grão-Ducado da Finlândia

Grand Duchy of Finland

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