The first missionaries arrive in Finland from Sweden. Finland becomes part of the Swedish realm.
Sweden surrenders Finland to Russia. The Czar declares Finland a semi-autonomous Grand Duchy with himself as constitutional monarch represented by a governor general.
Finland declares independence from Russia on December 6.
The constitution is adopted and Finland becomes a republic with a president as head of state.
40 The Soviet Union attacks Finland and the Winter War is fought.
Fighting between Finnish and Soviet forces resumes in the Continuation War. Some territory is ceded to the Soviet Union but Finland is never occupied and preserves its independence and sovereignty.
Finland joins the United Nations and in 1956 the Nordic Council.
Finland becomes a member of the European Union.
The head of state is the President of the Republic. The President is elected for a six-year term by direct popular vote. The incumbent, President Mrs. Tarja Halonen, was elected in 2000.
Brief history of Helsinki
The town of Helsinki was founded by King Gustavus Vasa of Sweden (which Finland belonged to for many centuries) as a new trading post in southern Finland and a competitor to Tallinn in Estonia, the Hanseatic city on the opposite shore of the Gulf of Finland. The King then ordered the burghers of Rauma, Porvoo and Tammisaari to move to Helsinki; the date on which this order was issued, 12.6.1550, is regarded as the date on which the city was founded.
Helsinki was proclaimed the Finnish capital in 1812 and Finland's only university which had been founded in Turku in 1640, was transferred to Helsinki in 1812.
Devastated by fire, the town was completely rebuilt in a style worthy of a capital. Placed in charge of the rebuilding project were Johan Albrecht Ehrenstr?, a native of Helsinki, and the German-born architect Carl Ludwig Engel, who together gave the city its monumental Empire-style centre. The most conspicuous building in the Empire centre is the Cathedral, completed in 1852.
Helsinki becomes the Capital of Finland
Helsinki soon became an administrative, university and garrison town, and the biggest industrial city in the land. By the beginning of the 20th century it had a population of over 100,000.
Helsinki Olympic Stadium was completed in 1938, but the games were postponed due to the war; Helsinki went on to host the games in 1952.
Helsinki has ample experience of hosting major political conferences. In 1975, Helsinki hosted the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE). The first U.S.-Soviet summit took place in Helsinki in 1990, when President George Bush met President Mikhail Gorbachev.