A country of northern Europe bordering on the Gulf of Bothnia and the Gulf of Finland. Controlled from the 13th century by Sweden and from the 19th century by Russia, it became independent in 1919. Helsinki is the capital and the largest city. Population, 4,893,748.
- Fin´lander noun
Finland, country in northern Europe, west of Russia and east of the Gulf of Bothnia and Sweden. Nearly one-third of the country lies north of the Arctic Circle. The area of Finland, including 33,551 sq km (12,954 sq mi) of inland water, totals 338,145 sq km (130,559 sq mi). Helsinki is the capital and largest city.
Land and Resources
Finland has about 60,000 lakes. The Ahvenanmaa
archipelago, or Åland Islands, is a group of about 6500 islands that
projects southwest into the Baltic Sea. Most of Finland is a plateau, about
120 to 180 m (about 400 to 600 ft) above sea level, with hilly areas in
the north and mountains in the extreme northwest. Mount Haltia (1324 m/4344
ft) is the highest point.
Nearly three-quarters of Finland is forested, chiefly with evergreens. Various kinds of wildlife, including bears, wolves, lynxes, arctic foxes, and many bird species, live in the less-populated northern regions. Freshwater fish, saltwater fish, and seals are abundant. Surrounding bodies of water exert a moderating influence on Finland's climate. Average coastal temperatures in the south range from 15.6° C (60° F) in July to about -8.9° C (about 16° F) in February. Productive forestland is Finland's most valuable natural resource. Spruce, pine, and silver birch are the principal trees. The only natural fuels in the country are wood and peat. Finland also has some rich ore deposits of copper, zinc, iron, and nickel.
Of about 5,046,000 people in Finland (1995 estimate), Finns constitute more than 93 percent and persons of Swedish descent about 6 percent. About 2500 Saami live in the far north; other minority groups make up less than 1 percent of the population. More than half the people are urban dwellers, and more than two-thirds reside in the southern third of Finland. Helsinki is the intellectual, manufacturing, and trade center. Tampere and Turku are other industrial centers.
Finnish (a Finno-Ugric language) and Swedish are the official languages of Finland. The Saami speak Saami, a dialect of Finnish. The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland is the national church, although freedom of worship is guaranteed. Schooling is free and compulsory from age 7 through 16. The University of Helsinki is the largest of 13 universities; the country also has several colleges and teacher-training schools. Virtually no illiteracy exists.
The Finnish economy is dominated by manufacturing, which in the late 1960s overtook agriculture and forestry as the chief source of employment. The paper, pulp, newsprint, and wood industries account for a significant part of the manufacturing output, contributing nearly 40 percent of annual Finnish exports. Mining is also important, and Finland is a significant source of copper, producing about 16,200 metric tons (metal content) a year in the early 1990s. Zinc, silver, chromite, lead, nickel, and gold are also mined.
Industry and business in
Finland are privately owned, but public utilities are government owned.
The basic unit of currency is the markka (4.84 markkaa equal U.S.$1; 1996).
Finland is a republic, with a democratic and parliamentary form of government and a minimum voting age of 18. It is headed by a president, elected to a six-year term by direct popular vote. The Council of State (cabinet), appointed by the president and subject to parliamentary approval, is headed by the prime minister. The legislative body, the Eduskunta, is composed of 200 members elected by direct popular vote for a term of up to four years. Finland's court system is divided into municipal, district, and appellate courts. The supreme court, in Helsinki, is the final court of appeal.
People have lived in what is now Finland since about 8000 BC. Throughout the Stone, Bronze, and Iron ages, various peoples moved into the region. Among the later settlers of this era were people speaking one of the Finno-Ugric languages, who migrated in from the east and from Estonia in the south. Beginning about AD 1050, Finnish tribes were converted to Christianity by the Swedes, who eventually took control of Finland, administering it as fiefs. By 1557 Finland was elevated to a Swedish duchy. In succeeding centuries, involvement in the many wars that occurred between Sweden and Russia caused Finland to lose large areas to Russia. By 1809 Russia had occupied Finland and proclaimed it a grand duchy of the Russian Empire. Sweden then formally ceded Finland to Russia. In the 19th century a nationalist awakening took place among the Finnish population, centered on the resurgence of the Finnish language. Toward the end of the century, however, Russia reasserted its governmental control over Finland, and Finnish citizens lost many of their constitutional rights.
Finland was not directly involved in World War I (1914-1918), although Russian troops were garrisoned in the country. During the Russian Revolution (1917), after which the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) was established, a newly elected Finnish parliament assumed all powers formerly held by Russia and voted in favor of an independent republic. The new Soviet government had no choice but to accept Finnish sovereignty, and in 1919 the Finnish parliament adopted a new republican constitution.
At the outbreak of World War II in 1939, Finland declared its neutrality. Because it refused to cede certain territories to the USSR, Soviet armies invaded Finland in November 1939, initiating the Winter War. The Finns fought back, but superior Soviet power forced the Finns to sue for peace. Finland was eventually drawn into World War II after German use of Finnish territory led the Soviets to bomb Finland's cities. It then declared war on the USSR, although not as an ally of Germany. Finland signed a final peace treaty with the USSR in 1947.
After the war the main thrust of Finnish foreign policy was strict international neutrality and friendly relations with the USSR, yet without any reduction in Finland's independent status. The country remained firmly oriented toward Scandinavia and the West. After the dissolution of the USSR, Finland began restructuring its economic orientation and developing relationships with the former Soviet republics. In 1995 Finland became an official member of the European Union (EU).
Finnish anti-gravity experiments in 1992 that was pretty much ignored.
Iit was reported in 1992 that objects appeared to weigh less over a spinning superconductor.
The experiments were performed in Finland by a Russian researcher named Podkletnov. There has not yet been a conclusive and credible test of this effect.
It's still an open question. is looking into this one directly. Specifically NASA Marshall Space Flight Center is attempting to duplicate the experiment to see if the claimed effect exists, and if it does, to determine what's really going on. These investigations will probably take through the rest of 1997 before they have anything substantial to report one way or another.
To be fully open minded about such things, one has to be equally ready to accept that there is, and that there is NOT new effects being discovered here.
What is wrong and premature is to dub this effect a "Gravity Shield." It is better to call this an "anomalous weight change effect". We won't know for sure what it is until it has actually been confirmed and more fully analyzed. The original reports on this subject were unquestionably insufficient.
pHinnweb - substantial Finnish electronic music and theory site