Finland has been independent since 1917.  Finland is a country of two languages.  The majority speaks Finnish, while Swedish is spoken by a mainly bilingual minority of less than 10% of the population.  In the Northernmost Finland, Lapland, there is a very small minority of Sami people with their own Sami language.

Before the 20th century, Finland was under the rule of the Kingdom of Sweden (for 700 years) and the Russian Empire (a 100 years).  Swedish is still the second official language, while the Russian influence can been seen in the architecture and the names of public places.  The last 10-15 years have brought Russian language back on the streets as the Soviet fell and the new middle class Russians have started to travel more.

The early years of independence were difficult.  After the Civil War of 1918 (the "Reds" vs. "Whites"), Finland fought against the Soviet Union during the Winter War of 1939-1940, followed by the Continuation War in 1941-1944.  In the peace treaty, Finns were forced to hand over Carelia, including one of the major Finnish cities Viipuri , and the Petsamo area to the Soviet Union.  A part of Finns still feel that these areas belong to Finland and should be returned (peacefully), although the majority thinks that it is best to let the bygones be bygones. After the Peace treaty with Soviets in 1944, the Finnish defense forces fought the retreating German army in the Northern Finland (the War of Lapland, 1945).

The country has changed hugely after the WWII. The modernization of the society and the new infrastructure have made Finland one of the best countries to live.  Companies like Nokia are well known everywhere in the world.