The first exact information on Finland dates from the mid-century. XII. In 1157 the Swedish king Erik the Holy entered the Esterland (Österland) with a crusade and found a group of Finnish tribes not yet united in a single state, which had taken the place of the Lopari, primitive residents of that country, occupying the places around Lake Ladoga and the Gulf of Finland. The Finns submitted to King Erik, and were baptized by Bishop Henry who had come with him: from this time on, the history of Finland merges with that of Sweden. In 1242 the Finns, having joined the Swedish army, attacked the nearby Russian city of Novgorod, which bordered their lands; but they were defeated by Prince Alexander Nevsky on the Neva. Except that this defeat was later compensated by the second march on Novgorod, in which the Finno-Swedish troops defeated the Russians and took possession of southwestern Karelia, building the fortress of Viborg to defend the borders. The war between the Swedes and the Russians continued uninterrupted until 1323, when King Magnus Ericson concluded a peace treaty with the residents of Novgorod. From the second half of the century. XIV, the Finns gradually obtain all the rights that were previously granted only to true Swedes: in 1362 they have the right to take part in the election of the king, and from a subject country Finland thus becomes part of the Swedish kingdom and is governed under feudal law. Near the end of the century. XIV the King of Sweden Albert gave Finland as property to the Supreme Judge Grin, for the duration of his life. After the union of Calmar (20 July 1397), which united in one state only Denmark, Norway, and Sweden, and practically established the supremacy of Denmark, Finland also came under the influence of the latter state and recognized Queen Margaret of Denmark as its own queen. Under Margaret’s successor, Erik of Pomerania, Finland, then divided into 6 provinces (Åland, Satakunta, Nyland, Tavastland, West Karelia and Finland proper), was provided with a well-organized court and was divided into regular administrative districts. For Finland 2000, please check neovideogames.com.
All high administrative and judicial offices were given to Swedes, and Swedish was the language of the state. Until 1435 only the nobles had the right to elect representatives to parliament (Herredagarna). When a movement for independence from Denmark broke out in Sweden, around 1430 Finland followed suit; at the head of the Finnish insurgents was Carlo Knutsson, Finnish by birth and regent of Finland, who also enjoyed a lot of influence in Sweden, and who in the following period of anarchy (1434-1470) was also governor of Sweden several times (there was no lack of even attempts to elect him as king of Sweden). After his death (1470), the regency of Sweden and Finland passed to the Swedish Sture family. Under the regency of Steno Sture (1495-1497) the Russians invaded the Finnish lands and devastated the Viipuri district. A very advantageous peace for the Russians was concluded in Novgorod. Steno Sture junior perished in 1520 during the war against Christian II of Denmark, who again reunited Sweden with Denmark.
But, when Sweden dissolved from union with Denmark, Finland remained united with the Swedish kingdom; and just under Gustavo Vasa the Protestant Reformation penetrated the country. Since the time of Bishop Henry, who died a martyr to the faith, Christianity had spread widely. In 1220 a bishopric was established in Åbo (Turku), occupied by Bishop Thomas, English by birth, whose successors were noted as fervent propagators of Christianity. But Michele Agricola, son of a Finnish fisherman, who became bishop of Åbo around the middle of the century. XVI, favored Protestantism: first, he wanted the mass to be celebrated in Finnish, and for this purpose he translated a whole series of ecclesiastical books, thereby laying the foundations of Finnish literature. During the reign of Gustavo Vasa, his son Giovanni he was placed at the head of Finland, obtaining the title of duke: but from this moment, parallel to the spread of Protestantism, a revival began in Finland to free itself from the influence of Sweden. After the death of King Gustavus (1560), a fight broke out between his sons, Erik XIV King of Sweden and John Duke of Finland, which ended in the defeat of John. But when John also became king of Sweden in 1568, remembering the services of the Finnish nobility, he granted them great privileges, at the same time elevating Finland to the status of grand duchy. Sigismondo, son of Giovanni, elected king of Poland in 1587, became king of Sweden in 1592, after the death of his father; he showed himself to be an ardent protector of Catholicism, causing a lively discontent among the Finns and the Swedes; and since Carlo, Duke of Sudermania, brother of Giovanni, and lieutenant of Sigismondo, he was instead a fervent Protestant, there was a fight between uncle and nephew. The Finns were at odds: the nobility, which hoped to take over the government of the country thanks to the remoteness of the king, was for Sigismund; while the rest of the population was for the Duke Charles. The nobility, headed by the lieutenant of Finland, Klas Flemming, won: and Finland for a certain period broke away, in fact if not in name, from Sweden. The nobility began to oppress the people, causing the so-called war of the clubs (Nuijasota = Klubbekriget, 1596-1597); but the peasants were subdued. Only in 1599 Charles, having become king, managed to tame the Finnish nobility, which from this moment merged with the Swedish nobility.