My name is Colleen and I am the
volunteer for the Finland GenWeb site. If you find a link that
does not work, or if you have a link that you would like added to the
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The first people arrived in Finland about 9,000
years ago. They probably represented several groups and tribes,
including the ancestors of the present Sami. Lured by the plenitude of
game, particularly fur-bearing animals and fish, they followed the
melting ice northward. The first people perhaps came to hunt only for
the summer, but gradually more and more of them stayed over the winter.
Apparently berries played a significant role in their diet.
Another group probably arrived some 3,000 years later from the
southeast. They possibly spoke a Finno-Ugric language and may have been
related to the ancestors of the present Finns, if they were not actually
of the same group. Other peoples—including the ancestors of the
Tavastians—followed from the southwest and central Europe, eventually
adopting the Finno-Ugric tongue.
During the 1st millennium before Christ several more groups arrived,
among them the ancestors of the present Finns. The nomadic Sami, who had
been scattered over the greater part of Finland, withdrew to the north.
Most other groups intermarried and assimilated with the newcomers, and
settlement spread across the south of Finland. The population was still
extremely sparse, but three loose unities seem to have crystallized: the
Finns proper, the Tavastians, and the Karelians. These each had their
own chiefs, and they waged war on one another.
Even before the beginning of the Viking Age (8th–11th century after
death), Swedes had settled on the southwestern coast. During the Viking
Age, Finland lay along the northern boundary of the trade routes to
Russia, and the inhabitants of the area served as suppliers of furs. The
Finns apparently did not take part in the Viking expeditions. The end of
the Viking Age was a time of unrest in Finland, and Swedish and Danish
raids were made on the area, where Russians and Germans also traded.
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This page maintained by Colleen updated
07 October 2012
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Visits to this site since September 27, 2000
Previous Finland Volunteers:
Charles Wardell....Thank you!