The Republic of Finland (Suomen Tasavalta) is one of the Nordic countries in northern Europe; its capital is Helsinki. Finland was ruled by Sweden from the 12th century until 1809, when the Russian empire conquered Finland during the Napoleonic wars. Finland declared its independence on December 6, 1917. Russia (then Soviet Union) formally accepted Finnish independence shortly thereafter. During World War II, Finland was able to successfully defend its freedom and fend off invasions by the Soviet Union and Germany. In the subsequent half century, the Finns have made a remarkable transformation from a farm/forest economy to a diversified modern industrial economy; per capita income is now on par with Western Europe. As a member of the European Union, Finland was the only Nordic state to join the euro system at its initiation in January 1999.
Population: 5,171,302 (1999); 2,523,026 male, 2,648,276 female.