Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Carelians, a historical people of Finnish race, so called by the Russians, but whose proper name is Karielase (in Finnish, Karielaiset); formerly spread over the whole of south-east Finland, and thence east to Lake Ladoga and north to the White Sea; converted to Christianity in 1227 by Russian missionaries, later brought into close contact with the Swedes, but in 1721 finally reduced by Russia. At present they number about 1,000,000, of whom 850,000 are in south-east Finland, the rest in Tver, Novgorod, Olonetz, and other parts of Russia. Those of Finland are nearly all Lutherans, the rest mostly either Orthodox Greek, or Raskolniks ("Old Believers"). Kalevala, the hero of the great Finnish epic poem, or collection of national songs, was a Carelian, and it was amongst this branch of the race that those songs were orally preserved before being collected and printed. The Carelians are described as remarkably shrewd, but suspicious, headstrong, and vindictive, and generally disliked by their Russian and Swedish neighbours.