Finland

Finland

Finland

Finland

Excerpt

"The history of all these Northern countries well deserves far more attention from Englishmen than it has hitherto received."

LORD BRYCE

No one can be surprised that English-speaking people take so little interest in Finland. It is the fault of the atlases and the history text-books. The maps show Finland as a semi- arctic country lying between the same unattractive latitudes as Greenland; they fail to show that her northernmost coast is ice-free all the year round and that the whole country enjoys a summer that is hotter, if a trifle shorter, than that of the British Isles. The histories treat Finland as an insignificant province first of Sweden, then of Russia; they show her as a satellite in the meteoric career of the Vasas or as an outlandish star in the constellation of the Great Russian Bear. In this telescopic treatment Finland never quite comes into focus. Of the ten thousand pages of the Cambridge Modern History not two consecutive pages are devoted to Finnish affairs between the fifteenth century and the twentieth. And of the period of her independent nationhood academic historians have nothing to say: they prefer to leave the study of the contemporary to writers who can afford to make mistakes. Altogether they fail to impress upon us that the Finns have developed their culture and institutions through long centuries of invasion and conquest, and have emerged in our own time as an independent republic owing nothing to the fortuitous boundary-drawing of the drafters . . .

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