After a brief attempt to establish a kingdom, the country became a republic.
During World War II, the Soviet Union sought repeatedly to occupy Finland, with Finland losing parts of Karelia, Salla, Kuusamo, Petsamo and some islands, but retaining independence.
Following the 1917 Russian Revolution, Finland declared itself independent.
In 1918, the fledgling state was divided by civil war, with the Bolshevik-leaning Red Guard supported by the equally new Soviet Russia, fighting the White Guard, supported by the German Empire.
Finland is a Nordic country and, together with Scandinavia, is situated in the geographical region of Fennoscandia.
Finland's population is 5.5 million (2016), and the majority of the population is concentrated in the southern region.
In the Bronze Age permanent all year round cultivation and animal husbandry spread, but the cold climate phase slowed the change.
Earlier theories suggested derivation from suomaa (fen land) or suoniemi (fen cape), and parallels between saame (Sami, a Finno-Ugric people in Lapland), and Häme (a province in the inland) were drawn, but these theories are now considered outdated.
These 18th century experiences created a sense of a shared destiny that when put in conjunction with the unique Finnish language, led to the adoption of an expanded concept of Finland.
The area that is now Finland was settled in, at the latest, around 8,500 BCE during the Stone Age towards the end of the last glacial period.
The country has land borders with Sweden to the northwest, Norway to the north, and Russia to the east.
To the south is the Gulf of Finland with Estonia on the opposite side.