HistorySee also: History of Finland
With regard to the ancestry of the Finnish people, the modern view emphasizes the overall continuity in Finland's archeological finds and (earlier more obvious) linguistic surroundings. Archeological data suggest the spreading of at least cultural influences from many sources ranging from the south-east to the south-west following gradual developments rather than clear-cut migrations.
Just as uncertain are the possible mediators and the timelines for the development of the Uralic majority language of the Finns. On the basis of comparative linguistics, it has been suggested that the separation of the Finnic and the Sami languages took place during the 2nd millennium BC, and that the proto-Uralic roots of the entire language group date from about the 6th to the 8th millennium BC. When the Uralic languages were first spoken in the area of contemporary Finland is debated but current opinion leans towards the Stone Age.
Because the Finnish language itself reached a written form only in the 16th century, little primary data remains of early Finnish life. For example, the origins of such cultural icons as the sauna, the kantele (an instrument of the zither family), and the Kalevala (national epic) have remained rather obscure.
Agriculture supplemented by fishing and hunting has been the traditional livelihood among Finns. Slash-and-burn agriculture was practiced in the forest-covered east by Eastern Finns up to the 19th century. Agriculture, along with the language, distinguishes Finns from the Sami, who retained the hunter-gatherer lifestyle longer and moved to coastal fishing and reindeer herding. Following industrialization and modernization of Finland, most Finns were urbanized and employed in modern service and manufacturing occupations, with agriculture becoming a minor employer (see Economy of Finland). Western and southern coastal regions and islands have concentrations of the Finland-Swedish; although differences occupational structure are minor in modern times, the most common occupation of Finland-Swedes is as fishermen.
Finland's Swedish speakers descend from peasants and fishermen who settled coastal Finland ca. 1000–1250, from the subsequent immigration during Swedish sovereignty over Finland, and from Finns and immigrants who adopted the Swedish language. Fennomania in the 19th and early 20th century led to some minor language change into Finnish, but this was of little consequence in comparison to ordinary demographic trends, which reduced the proportion of Swedish-speakers during the entire 20th century from 12.9% (1900) to 5.6% (2003).
Read more about this topic: Finns
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Famous quotes containing the word history:
“The custard is setting; meanwhile
I not only have my own history to worry about
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Unfinished concepts that can never bring themselves to the point
Of being, with or without my help, if any were forthcoming.”
—John Ashbery (b. 1927)
“The true theater of history is therefore the temperate zone.”
—Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (17701831)
“I cannot be much pleased without an appearance of truth; at least of possibilityI wish the history to be natural though the sentiments are refined; and the characters to be probable, though their behaviour is excelling.”
—Frances Burney (17521840)