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


Finns, properly the indigenous inhabitants of Finland, who are fundamentally of Mongolic stock and speak a Finno-Tatar language, as distinguished from the Finlanders, who are Swedish intruders settled on the west and south coasts since the 14th century. Finn, though known to Pliny and Tacitus (Fenni, Finnce), is not the national name, but is supposed to be of Germanic origin, meaning aptly enough people inhabiting fens; though there are philological objections to this derivation. It has, however, the same sense as the national name Suomalaiset, which also means "fen people," from suoma, a fen or marsh. Owing to long contact with the surrounding Slav and Teutonic populations, the modern Finns have been largely assimilated in appearance to the ordinary Caucasic (European) type, and are now distinguished by grey or blue eyes, chestnut and in th? west even flaxen or towy hair. But the prevalence of high cheek hones, rather broad features, scant beard, and brachycephalic (round) heads betrays their Mongolic descent, apart from their absolutely Mongolo-Tatar speech. They fall into five main ethnical groups, which would appear from their national traditions to date back to remote times: - (1) The Finns (Lapps) of Lapland [Lapps]; (2) the Kwains (Kainulaiset) of Bothnia, with small enclaves in Sweden and Norway; (3) the Tavastians of the central and south-western lacustrine districts, who' call themselves Hemeleiset, or "lake people," from heme, "lake." The Tavastians, the "white-eyed Chudes" of their Russian neighbours, are usually taken as typical Finns - broad, squat, stout figures, small and slightly oblique blue eyes, light flaxen hair, fair complexion (" blonde as a Finn," say the Russians), but lacking the transparent rosy colour, the blush of the Anglo-Saxon and North German peoples. Morally also the Tavastians are dull, lethargic, somewhat passive and patient, honest and trustworthy, but suspicious, sullen, and revengeful - altogether true Mongols in temperament; (4) the Karelians (Karialaiset, probably "herdsmen," from Kari, a cow) of Karelia, that is, all south-east Finland stretching into Russia proper as far as Lake Ladoga, and formerly extend' ] ing to the White Sea (" Karelian Sea") and incluefcij ing nearly the whole of the government of Olonetz.

The Karelians differ strikingly from the Tavastians, being much taller and slimmer, with more regular features, straight grey eyes, brown complexion, and chestnut hair hanging in ringlets down the shoulders. They are also more active, cheerful enterprising, courteous, and intellectual. Kalevala, the hero of the national epic poem, was a typical Karelian; (5) the Inyrians (Igliers, Tgors) of Ingermanland, that is, the district at the head of the Gulf of Finland, which was ceded to Russia by the treaty of Nystad (1721). Most of the Ingrians and many of the Karelians have been absorbed in the surrounding Russian populations; but the Tavastians, representing the Conservative side of the Finnish character, have hitherto tenaciously preserved the national sentiment, language, and traditions. Despite the pressure of Sweden on the west and Russia on the east, and although they have enjoyed little political autonomy for the last thousand years (the Swedes had already founded Abo, the historical capital, in the year 1300), the Finns still stand out as a distinct European nationality, and continue to ceiltivate with success their harmonious and highly poetical language. Since the 12th century they have been Christians, converted to the Catholic faith by "Saint" Eric, King of Sweden, and later to Lutheranism, again by the Swedes. The University of Helsingfors (removed thither from Abo in 1827) is a centre of much scientific and literary activity, and here was issued in 1849 the first complete edition of the

Kalevala, a national epic of some 23,000 verses, that has been compared by some scholars to the Iliad and the Mahdb/tdrata. -Of sixty periodicals appearing in Finland rather more than half are in Finnish, the rest in Swedish.