Finland 1772-1809 Finland 1863-1898

Finland, 1809-1863

Establishment of the Grand Duchy . In 1809, the Russian Army occupied Finland easily, and Sweden ceded the land to the Tsar of Russia. Finland was to become a Grand Duchy, united in dynastic union with the Russia. The capital was moved from Turku (Åbo) to Helsinki (at that time called Helsingfors).
The area ceded by Sweden to Russia in 1743, and Karelia (Russian since 1718) were reintegrated into Finland, which now extended almost to the gates of St. Petersburg.

Administration . The governorship was held by Fabian Gotthard Graf von Steinheil 1810-1824, by Arseny Andreyevich Sarkevsky 1824-1831, by Alexander Sergeyevich Menshikov 1831-1855, by Fredrik Willem Rembert Berg 1855-1861, by Platon Invanovich Rokasovsky 1861-1866. At Porvoo (Borgå) 1809 the Finnish diet paid homage to Grand Duke Alexander; until 1863 the diet was not reconvened.

Political History . Finland gained considerable autonomy, the Swedish laws remaining valid. The country's Swedish minority, especially the Swedish nobility, still dominated, as it was Finland's Swedes who had been most active in the country's secession from the motherland.
The year 1863 saw the Polish rebellion against Russian rule. To show his gratitude to the Finns - who did not revolt - the Czar called Finland's diet, the first since 1809. It was to become a political instrument of importance.

The Economy . James Finlayson established the first factory in Finland in Tampere in 1823. The city would emerge as the center of Finland's industry in the 19th century. In 1856, Finland's first postage stamps were issued.
In 1861, Finland had 107 km of railroad tracks (IHS p.655).

Social History . Swedish continued to be language of administration and education until 1892; until about 1890 Swedish-speakers were the dominant element in the nation's capital of Helsinki. The city of Tampere was at the center of Finland's nascent industrialization.
Jan Lahmeyer gives estimates of Finland's population of 1.38 million for 1834 and 1.83 million for 1867.

Cultural History . In 1827 the city of Turku (Åbo) suffered a great fire, which affected the university founded in 1640. After the fire, the university was relocated to Helsinki, where it was opened in 1829 under the name Imperial Alexander University of Finland.
Scientists and writers discovered Finnish language and tradition; in 1835 Elias Lönnrot published the Kalevala, Finland's national epic.
In 1851 the Lutheran diocese of Oulu was established, suffragan to the Archdiocese of Turku (Åbo).

Articles Grand Duchy Finland, Governor-General of Finland, Senate of Finland, Military of the Grand Duchy of Fnland, History of Helsinki, Turku : History, Kalevala, Elias Lönnrot, Postgeschichte Finnlands (Postal History of Finland, in German), James Finlayson, University of Helsinki, Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland, from Wikipedia
Historical Population Statistics : Finland, from Population Statistics (Jan Lahmeyer)
Library of Congress, Country Studies : Finland
Sveaborg and the Crimean War 1854-1855, from Pauli Kruhse
Russian Rule 1809-1917, from A Virtual History of Finland by Pasi Kuoppamaeki
Napoleon Bonaparte's Role in Finnish, Swedish and Russian Foreign Policy, 1801-1814 by Sarah Hale, from Nordic Notes
DOCUMENTS Solemn Assurance by the Emperor Alexander in 1809 to respect constitutional rights of citizens in the newly acquired Grand Duchy of Finland. from A selection of events and documents on the history of Finland posted by Pauli Kruhse
Maps of Finland : Dr. Playfair's Atlas, 1814, from Berghaus 1852, posted by FINFO
Finnish banknotes, from Was Nensberg's Collection of Russian Banknotes
REFERENCE IHS : B.R. Mitchell, International Historical Statistics. Europe 1750-1988, NY : Stockton Press 1992 [G]

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted in 2000, last revised on July 17th 2007

Click here to go Home
Click here to go to Information about KMLA, WHKMLA, the author and webmaster
Click here to go to Statistics

Impressum · Datenschutz