Finland, formally the Republic of Finland, is a Nordic nation in Northern Europe that is part of the Nordic countries. To the west, it shares land borders with Sweden, and to the east, it shares a border with Norway, and to the north, it shares a border with Finland. To the west, it shares land borders with the Gulf of Bothnia, and to the south, it shares land borders with the Gulf of Finland, which runs through Estonia. In all, Finland has a land area of 338,455 square kilometres (130,678 square miles), and its population is 5.5 million people. Helsinki is the country's capital and biggest city, although it is part of a broader metropolitan region that includes the adjacent cities of Espoo, Kauniainen, and Vantaa as well as the city of Espoo. Finnish, the native language of the Finns, is one of just a few of Finnic languages spoken around the globe. The climate varies according to latitude, ranging from the humid continental climate of the south to the cold boreal climate of the north. The land cover is mostly comprised of the boreal woodland biome, with more than 180,000 lakes having been documented.
Finland was first settled circa 9000 BC, after the end of the Last Glacial Period. Several diverse pottery types and civilizations were established throughout the Stone Age. Extensive interactions with neighbouring civilizations in Fennoscandia and the Baltic area characterised the Bronze Age and Iron Age periods in the region. As a result of the Northern Crusades, Finland progressively became an essential part of Sweden starting in the late 13th century. The Finnish War ended in 1809 with Russia annexing Finland, which became the independent Grand Duchy of Finland. During this period, Finnish art thrived and the notion of independence started to take root. Finland became the first European country to provide universal suffrage in 1906, and the first country in the world to allow the right to run for public office to any adult citizen over the age of 18. Nicholas II, the last Tsar of Russia, attempted to russify Finland and remove its political autonomy, but Finland proclaimed its independence from Russia during the 1917 Russian Revolution. The Finnish Civil War, which erupted in 1918, tore the nascent state apart. During World War II, Finland battled the Soviet Union in the Winter War and the Continuation War, as well as Nazi Germany in the Lapland War, all of which were fought in the Arctic region.
Finland was mostly an agricultural society until the 1950s. Following World War II, the nation quickly industrialised and established an advanced economy while also establishing a comprehensive welfare state based on the Nordic model, resulting in broad wealth and a high per capita income for the whole population. Finland became a member of the United Nations in 1955 and declared itself to be neutral on all matters. Finland became a member of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in 1969, the NATO Partnership for Peace in 1994, the European Union in 1995, the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council on 1997, and the Eurozone when it was established in 1999. A broad range of national performance measures, including education, economic competitiveness, civil rights, quality of life, and human development, place Finland among the best performers in the world. In 2015, Finland was ranked first in the World Human Capital and Press Freedom Indexes, as well as the most stable country in the world between 2011 and 2016 according to the Fragile States Index, and second according to the Global Gender Gap Report, all of which were published in conjunction with the World Economic Forum. It also scored #1 in the World Happiness Study for 2018, 2019, 2020, and 2021, according to the report.