About twenty years ago I spent roughly 24 hours in Finland. Thanks to jet lag, I spent around fourteen of those hours sleeping. What time I did manage to spend conscious, I remember it being quite enjoyable. I mostly remember blondes and a total lack of any sunset.
I also have a poser-ish affinity for European metal bands, many of which hail from the Scandinavian region. I was therefore thrilled to learn that, according to a probably less-than-scientifically rigorous study, Finland has the most metal bands per capita of any country in the world.
It might be worth taking a look at the country, tucked away as it is so tidily up there, kind of out of the way. As it turns out (and I sort of already knew this, but damn), the Finns are kind of, well, epic bad-asses.
First off, the Finns didn’t half-ass their prehistory. According to Wikipedia, “prehistoric Finland” persisted all the way up to 1150 CE. While the Normans were conquering England and the Western Roman Empire was celebrating its seventh century of no longer existing, Finland was doing its own thing in such a bad-ass way, no one even bothered to write it down (which is what I assume “prehistoric” means.) People have actually lived there for at least ten thousand years, but as for what was going on before 1150, I guess we just shouldn’t worry our pretty little heads about it.
From 1150 until 1809, Finland was ruled by the Swedes, who as we all know, can slay dragons with the sheer power of rock.Sweden and Russia fought a war, apparently over Finland, between 1808 and 1809, which Russia won. Finland became a “Grand Duchy” under the rule of the Tsar. That lasted about a century, until the Finns told Russia to piss off near the end of World War I, when Russia really had bigger things to worry about anyway. Finland fought a civil warbetween communists and not-communists, which the not-communists won. Here’s where it gets interesting. Continue reading