Finland is a young country - with a history officially starting in 1917 on the fragments of the Tsarist Russian empire. Finland has always been a small region in the North, connecting East and West. Finland's history is a story of trade routes, the collision of cultures, and life alongside powerful neighbors. According to ancient documents, Finland began to be mentioned around the 12th and 13th centuries. Starting by the Roman Catholic church launching the "Northern Crusade", with the forces of the Teutonic Knights which originated “The Teutonic Order is a Catholic religious institution founded as a military society c. 1190 in Acre, Kingdom of Jerusalem. The Order of Brothers of the German House of Saint Mary in Jerusalem was formed to aid Christians on their pilgrimages to the Holy Land and to establish hospitals.” (wiki). This period was the period when the "Hanseatic League" developed to its peak. The Hanseatic League was a trading network founded by North German merchants to better protect themselves against pirates and pursue economic interests together and so Finland is an important intersection in that network. The Gulf of Finland was an ideal place for merchant fleets (and warships) from the Baltic Sea to take refuge, replenish fresh water and food, exchange goods, and trade furs and cold-country products. … and from the very beginning, Finland was a commercial center, also a "majority" on the "religious frontier" - the "outpost" of Roman Catholicism.

From 1323, with the Treaty of Nöteborg, Finland came under Swedish rule. Finland was part of Sweden for almost 700 years from around 1150 until the Finnish War of 1809 after which Finland became an autonomous part of the Russian Empire as the Grand Duchy of Finland” (wiki). During Russian rule, Finland became a special region developed by order of the Emperor. Starting in 1899, Russia began to administer the Grand Duchy of Finland in a more strict manner. Swedish-era laws were gradually replaced, and Finnish nationalism also began to rise. Finland was granted the right to establish its own parliament in 1906, and the first elections were held in 1907. Then, in a heavy upheaval, Finland declared independence on December 6, 1917.

What makes Finland's secret?

There is a saying that the happiest countries are not always the wealthiest ones. A Finnish saying sums it up well: “Happiness is having your own red summer house and a potato field”. With free education, generous parental leave and a healthy work-life balance ensure that people have the time and means to pursue their hobbies, no matter how trivial that pleasure is.

In March 2018, Finland was honored as the happiest country in the world by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network and continued to hold the top spot for 7 years in a row until today. The Finns can boast of countless number one rate in other things. In recent years, the country has been rated by many organizations as the most stable, the freest and safest. Finns are persistent, patient, and know how to thrive in difficult times. Perhaps the national ideology is also called "sisu" which makes the Finns happy.

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