Finland (Finnish: Suomi [ˈsuo̯mi] (listen); Swedish: Finland [ˈfɪ̌nland] (listen)), officially the Republic of Finland (Finnish: Suomen tasavalta; Swedish: Republiken Finland (listen to all)), is a Nordic country and a member state of the European Union in Northern Europe. It shares land borders with Sweden to the west, Russia to the east, Norway to the north, and is defined by the Gulf of Bothnia to the west, and the Gulf of Finland of the Baltic Sea across Estonia to the south. Finland covers an area of 338,455 square kilometres (130,678 sq mi), with a population of 5.5 million. Helsinki is the country's capital and largest city, but together with the neighbouring cities of Espoo, Kauniainen, and Vantaa, it forms a larger metropolitan area. Finland is officially bilingual, with Finnish and Swedish being official. The climate varies relative to latitude, from the southern humid continental climate to the northern boreal climate. The land cover is primarily a boreal forest biome, with more than 180,000 recorded lakes.
Finland was inhabited around 9000 BC after the Last glacial period. The Stone Age introduced several different ceramic styles and cultures. The Bronze Age and Iron Age were characterized by extensive contacts with other cultures in Fennoscandia and the Baltic region. From the late 13th century, Finland gradually became an integral part of Sweden as a consequence of the Northern Crusades. In 1809, as a result of the Finnish War, Finland was annexed by Russia as the autonomous Grand Duchy of Finland, during which Finnish art flourished and the idea of independence began to take hold. In 1906, Finland became the first European state to grant universal suffrage, and the first in the world to give all adult citizens the right to run for public office. Nicholas II, the last Tsar of Russia, tried to russify Finland and terminate its political autonomy, but after the 1917 Russian Revolution, Finland declared independence from Russia. In 1918, the fledgling state was divided by the Finnish Civil War. During World War II, Finland fought the Soviet Union in the Winter War and the Continuation War, and Nazi Germany in the Lapland War. After the wars, Finland lost parts of its territory, including the culturally and historically significant town of Vyborg, but maintained its independence. (Full article...)