Scandinavia and the World

Comments #9033648:

Smalltalk 16 12, 10:49pm


"I don't understand how and why there are Fenno Swedes though."

Long story short and simplified: Sweden and Finland used to be one country for most of their history. Back then nationalism wasn't invented, so basically Finnish was just a language that some Swedish people spoke (remember this is simplified), but there were also Swedish speaking Swedes living in eastern Sweden (modern day Finland). In 1808 Napoleon convinced Russia, that they should attack Sweden, and that's what they did. Russia was able to occupy half of Sweden. Russia was however afraid that the newly occupied territories would revolt and rejoin Sweden, and felt that they wouldn't do that if they saw themselves as Finnish instead of Swedish. Therefore Russia decided to make the occupied territories into the autonomous Grand Duchy of Finland, and adopted a pro-Finnish nationalism policy towards the Grand Duchy. The formerly Finnish speaking Swedes of the duchy became Finnish speaking Finns, and the Swedish speaking Swedes became Swedish speaking Finns, or FennoSwedes as SatW calls them. When Finland became independent in 1917, still about 20% of the population spoke Swedish as their native language. Nowadays the figure is closer to 5% but Finland is still a bilingual country and Swedish is a mandatory subject in school.