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There is evidence of Finland being inhabited as early as 10000 years ago Those inhabitants main occupation was hunting and fishing They came to Finland by different routes - through Karelia and over the sea from the west and the south There are many language groups the Finnish the Finnish Swedish coastal area the land islands the Lapps Lapland and the Romany There are two official languages in Finland - Finnish and Swedish At present the population amounts to a little over 5 million 95 is Finnish speaking 6 is Swedish speaking and less than 1 speak other languages The religion has been influenced both by the East and the West About 864 of the population belong to the Lutheran church and 1 are Greek OrthodoxAdministratively Finland was a part of the Kingdom of Sweden until 1809 when Russia occupied the whole country in the Napoleonic Wars Finland became an independent republic on Dec 6 1917 when Lenin recognized its independence In 1918 a civil war broke out where the Reds supported by the Russian Bolsheviks fought against the Whites whose allies were the Germans The fierce civil war ended soon with the victory of the Whites and Finland became a Democratic Republic The Soviet Union attacked Finland in 1939 after Finland had refused the cession of its territory to the Soviet Union The famous Winter War broke out Although the enemy was superior in force the Finnish Army repelled it by encircling the Soviet troops in extremely cold weather in the forests of Eastern Finland The Soviets annexed Karelia but the Finns won it back at the beginning of the Continuation War 1941-44 apart from which Finland occupied large areas of Soviet Karelia The Soviet Army organized a new attack in the summer of 1944 with the intention of occupying the whole of Finland They were stopped at Vyborg According to the terms of peace Finland was to drive
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