Karelia (historical province of Finland)

Karelia (Finnish: Karjala, Swedish: Karelen) is an historical province of Finland which Finland partly ceded to Russia after the Winter War of 1939–40. The Finnish Karelians include the present-day inhabitants of North and South Karelia and the still-surviving evacuees from the ceded territories. Present-day Finnish Karelia has 315,000 inhabitants. The more than 400,000 evacuees from the ceded territories re-settled in various parts of Finland.

Finnish Karelia historically came under western influence, religiously and politically, and was separate from East Karelia, which was dominated by Novgorod and its successor states from the Middle Ages onwards.

Karjalan historiallisen maakunnan vaakuna
The coat of arms of Karelia, first used in 1562.


Approximate borders of historical Karelia
Approximate area of historical Karelia compared to borders of modern-day Finland.
Karelian iron age sword hilts Schvindt 1893
Drawing of Karelian Iron Age sword hilts by Theodor Schwindt made in 1893, which he had excavated earlier in Käkisalmi.

First indications of human settlement in Karelia are from the Mesolithic period. The oldest find from the area is the over 9000 years old Antrea Net which is a fishing net of willow bast. The number of finds from the area is lower towards the end of the Stone Age. Archeological finds from Karelia are relatively rare between the years 400-800. From the Merovingian period onwards finds from Karelia display a distinct features of West Finnish influences which has been interpreted to result at least partly from a colonisation.[1]

At least 50 sites of Iron Age settlements and 40 hillforts are known from Karelia.[2] According to archeological record and historical data most of the hillforts in Karelia were erected between 1100 and 1323.[3] Particular Karelian culture including axes, brooches and ornamental culture flourished approximately between the years 1000-1400.[4]

During the 12th and 13th century, Karelians fought against Swedes and other Finnic tribes situated in western Finland, such as Tavastians and Finns proper. Karelians were listed as Novgorodian allies in the mid-12th century in Russian Chronicles. Historical records describe Karelians pillaging Sigtuna in Sweden in 1187 and making another expedition in 1257 which lead Pope Alexander IV to call out a crusade against Karelians at the request of Valdemar, the king of Sweden. The Third Swedish crusade, led by the marshal Torgils Knutsson took place between 1293 and 1295. As a result of the crusade the western parts of Karelia fell under Swedish rule and the building of the Castle of Viborg on the site of destroyed Karelian fort started. According to Eric Chronicles invading Swedes conquered 14 hundreds from Karelians during the crusade.

Hostilities between Novgorod and the kingdom of Sweden continued in 1300 when a Swedish force attacked the mouth of the River Neva and built a fort near the current location of Saint Petersburg. The fort was destroyed the following year by the Novgorodians. Indecisive fighting in 1321 and 1322 led to negotiations and peace by the Treaty of Nöteborg which for the first time decided the border between Sweden and Novgorod. Sweden got territory around Viborg, the western Karelian Isthmus and South Karelia; and Novgorod got the eastern Karelian Isthmus, Ingria, Ladoga Karelia, North Karelia and East Karelia.

In 1617, Sweden seized Kexholm County (eastern Karelian Isthmus, Ladoga Karelia, and North Karelia) from Russia. In 1634 Savonia and old Swedish Karelia were incorporated in the Viborg and Nyslott County. After the Treaty of Nystad in 1721 eastern parts of the Viborg and Nyslott County and the Kexholm County were ceded to Russia. The rest of these counties were incorporated into the Kymmenegård and Nyslott County. The southeastern part of this county was also ceded to Russia in the Treaty of Åbo of 1743. After the conquest in 1809 of the rest of Finland, Russia's 18th century gains, called "Old Finland", were in 1812 joined to the Grand Duchy of Finland as a gesture of good will (see Viipuri Province).

A large part of Finnish Karelia was ceded by Finland to the Soviet Union in 1940 after the Soviet aggression known as the Winter War, when the new border was established close to that of 1721. During the Continuation War of 1941-44, most of the ceded area was liberated by Finnish troops, but in 1944 was occupied again by the Red Army. After the war, the remains of the Province of Viipuri were made into the Province of Kymi. In 1997 the province was incorporated within the province of Southern Finland.

Western Karelia, as a historical Province of Sweden, was religiously and politically distinct from the eastern parts that were under the Russian Orthodox Church. Following the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the long-silenced debate over returning Karelia from Russia to Finland resurfaced in Finland.


Karelian iron age knife, Schvindt 1893
Drawing of a Karelian Iron Age knife with a sheath made by Theodor Schvindt in 1893 illustrating the one he excavated in Käkisalmi, Karelia.

The inhabitants of Karelian provinces historically belonging to Finland are known as Karelians. Confusingly, the same name is used also of a closely related but distinct ethnic group living mostly in East Karelia, earlier also in some of the territories Finland ceded to the Soviet Union in 1944. The Finnish Karelians include the present-day inhabitants of North and South Karelia and the still-surviving evacuees from the ceded territories. Present Finnish Karelia has 315,000 inhabitants. The more than 400,000 evacuees from the ceded territories were re-settled in various parts of Finland. (The displacement of the Finnish Karelians in 1940-44 as a result of the Winter War and the Continuation War, according to official Finnish statistics resulted the total number of 415,000 evacuees from the territories ceded to the Soviet Union while 5.000 Finnish Karelians remained in the Soviet controlled territory.)[5]

Finnish Karelians are considered as a regional and cultural sub-group of the ethnic Finns. They speak the eastern or south-eastern dialects of the Finnish language. The Finnish Karelians include also people of East Karelian origin or roots, but these have been linguistically and ethnically assimilated with closely related Finns after the Second World War. However, the Orthodox religion is still maintained by many Finnish Karelians with East Karelian background, especially in North Karelia; the majority of the Finnish Karelians are predominantly Lutheran.


Karelian penannular brooch Schvindt 1893
Drawing of a Karelian Iron Age silver penannular brooch by Theodor Schvindt in 1893.

The traditional culture of "Ladoga-Karelia", or Finnish Karelia according to the pre-Winter War borders, was by and large similar to that of Eastern Karelia, or Russian Karelia. Karelians live, and did even more so before Stalinism and the Great Purges, also in vast areas east of Finland (in Eastern Karelia, not marked on the map to the right), where folklore, language and architecture during the 19th century was in the center of the Finns' interest (see Karelianism), representing a "purer" Finnish culture than that of Southern and Western Finland, which had been for thousands of years in more contact with (or "contaminated by") Germanic and Scandinavian culture, of which the Kalevala and Finnish Art Nouveau are expressions.

The dialect spoken in the South Karelian Region of Finland is part of the South Eastern dialects of the Finnish language. The dialect spoken in the Karelian Isthmus before World War II and the Ingrian language are also part of this dialect group. The Karelian language, spoken in East Karelia, is very closely related to the Finnish language.[6][7] The dialect that is spoken in North Karelia is considered to be one of the Savonian dialects.[8]


See also List of Karelians


The arms is crowned by a ducal coronet, though by Finnish tradition this more resembles a Swedish count's coronet. The symbolism of the coat of arms is supposed to represent how the region was fought over by Sweden and Russia for centuries. Blazon: "Gules, in center chief a crown or above two duelling arms, the dexter armored holding a sword and the sinister chain-mail armored with a scimitar, all argent except for hafts and gauntlet joint or."


  1. ^ Uino, Pirjo (1997). Ancient Karelia. Suomen muinaismuistoyhdistyksen aikakausikirja 104. pp. 102–113.
  2. ^ Uino, Pirjo (1997). Ancient Karelia. Helsinki: Suomen muinaismuistoyhdistyksen aikakausikirja 104. pp. 45 and 72.
  3. ^ Uino, Pirjo (1997). Ancient Karelia. Suomen muinaismuistoyhdistyksen aikakausikirja 104. p. 83.
  4. ^ Uino, Pirjo (1997). Ancient Karelia. Helsinki: Suomen muinaismuistoyhdistykse aikakausikirja 104. pp. 166–171.
  5. ^ Kacowicz, Arie Marcelo; Pawel Lutomsk (2007). Population Resettlement in International Conflicts. Lexington Books. pp. 58–60. ISBN 978-0-7391-1607-4.
  6. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2004-06-02. Retrieved 2004-06-02.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  7. ^ 1.7 Kaakkoismurteiden alue Archived 1999-10-04 at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ 1.6 Savolaismurteiden alue Archived 1999-10-06 at the Wayback Machine

External links

Coordinates: 61°52′45″N 30°06′49″E / 61.8792°N 30.1136°E

History of Karelia

The History of Karelia is about the cultural and geopolitical region of Karelia, in present-day eastern Finland and northwestern Russia in northern Europe. The Karelian people's presence can be dated back to the 7th millennium BC—6th millennium BC.

Index of World War II articles (K)



K-class submarine (Soviet)

K is for Killing

K. P. K. Menon

Kōichi Kido

Kōichi Shiozawa

Kōki Hirota

Kōsō Abe

Kōsaku Aruga

Kōtarō Nakamura



Kaarlo Mäkinen


Kabayama Sukenori

Kadam Kadam Badaye Ja

Kaethe Hoern

Kai Holst

Kai Winding

Kaija Mustonen

Kailash Nath Katju

Kaimingjie germ weapon attack

Kairyu-class submarine


Kaiser Shipyards

Kaiser Wilhelm Institute of Anthropology, Human Heredity, and Eugenics

Kaiser Wilhelm Institute

Kaiserwald concentration camp


Kaj Aksel Hansen

Kaj Christiansen

Kaj Munk

Kaju Sugiura

Kakou Senda

Kakuji Kakuta

Kalagon Massacre

Kalev-class submarine

Kalevi Oikarainen


Kalinin Front

Kaliningrad K-5

Kalle Anttila

Kalmi Baruh

Kalmykian Voluntary Cavalry Corps

Kalonymus Kalman Shapira

Kamal Ram

Kamenets-Podolsky pocket

Kamianets-Podilskyi Massacre

Kamikaze-class destroyer (1922)


Kamimura Hikonojō

Kaminski Brigade

Kammhuber Line

Kamp Amersfoort

Kamp Schoorl


Kampfgeschwader 200

Kampfgeschwader 3

Kampfgeschwader 4

Kampfgeschwader 55


Kampfmesser 42

Kan'in Haruhito

Kanchanaburi War Cemetery

Kanga Force

Kangaroo (armoured personnel carrier)

Kanichiro Tashiro

Kanji Ishiwara

Kankō Maru

Kansas World War II Army Airfields

Kantai kessen

Kantarō Suzuki

Kaoru Moto


Kapo (concentration camp)

Karabiner 98k

Karamjeet Singh Judge

Karaya Quartet

Karel Čurda

Karel Ančerl

Karel Appel

Karel Destovnik Kajuh

Karel Doorman

Karel Kuttelwascher

Karel Miljon

Karel Nedvěd

Karel Pavlík

Karel Pešek

Karel Poláček

Karel Treybal

Karelia (historical province of Finland)

Karelian Fortified Region

Karelian Front

Karen Magnussen

Karim Ghani

Karl-Friedrich Höcker

Karl-Friedrich Merten

Karl-Gottfried Nordmann

Karl-Heinz Greisert

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Karl-Heinz Schnibbe

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Karl August Nerger

Karl Barth

Karl Bendetsen

Karl Brandt (Nazi physician)

Karl Dönitz

Karl Decker

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Karl Eberhard Schöngarth

Karl Ehrenbolger

Karl Eibl

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Karl Fiehler

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Karl Hess

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Karl Jäger

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Karl Löffler

Karl Löwith

Karl Laforce

Karl Lange (Nazi persecutee)

Karl Leib

Karl Lennart Oesch

Karl Linnas

Karl Litzmann

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Karl Maria Wiligut

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Karl Mayr

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Karl Mobius

Karl Otto Koch

Karl Plagge

Karl Röderer

Karl Rankl

Karl Richter (sport shooter)

Karl Ruberl

Karl Ruprecht Kroenen

Karl Sack

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Karl Schranz

Karl Silberbauer

Karl Staaf

Karl Stotz

Karl Targownik

Karl Taylor Compton

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Karla Mayer

Karlrobert Kreiten

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Karol Chmiel

Karol Marian Pospieszalski

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Karol Rómmel

Karol Sidor

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Karpaty Army

Kasi Maru

Kastner train

Kasuga-class cruiser

Katō Tomosaburō

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Katarapko (Wood Camp)

Katarina Matanović-Kulenović

Katayama Detachment

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Katori-class battleship

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Katoucha Niane

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Katya Budanova

Katyn massacre

Katyusha (song)

Katyusha rocket launcher

Katzenberger Trial

Katzmann Report

Kaufering concentration camp

Kaunas Ghetto

Kaunas Offensive Operation

Kaunas pogrom

Kawachi-class battleship

Kawaguchi Detachment

Kawakami Soroku

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Kawamura Sumiyoshi

Kawanishi Baika

Kawanishi H6K

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Kawanishi K-200

Kawanishi N1K

Kawasaki Ki-100

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Kawasaki Ki-147 I-Go Type1 - Ko Air to Surface Radio Guidance Missile

Kawasaki Ki-32

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Kayaba Ka-1

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Kb wz. 98a

Kbk wz. 1929

Kbsp wz. 1938M

Kea Bouman


Kees Kist

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Kees Verkerk


Keiji Nakazawa

Keiji Shibazaki

Keisuke Fujie

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Kelly's Heroes

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Kenneth Thomson, 2nd Baron Thomson of Fleet

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Kenny Bowen

Kent Battle of Britain Museum

Kent Courtney

Kent Lee

Kenzo Oshima

Kerberos & Tachiguishi

Kerberos Panzer Cop

Kerberos Panzer Jäger

Kerberos saga characters

Kerberos saga chronicles

Kerberos Saga Rainy Dogs

Kerberos saga

Kerch-Eltigen Operation

Kerestinec prison

Kermit Beahan

Kermit Roosevelt

Kerrville Municipal Airport

Kesago Nakajima

Kesternich (World War II)

Ketil Askildt

Kevin Fagan (doctor)

Kevin Hatchi

Kevin Stoney

Keystone Heights Airport

Khaibakh massacre

Khaled Abdul-Wahab

Khaled Kasab Mahameed

Khalid Abdul Muhammad

Kharkov offensive operation

Khatyn massacre

Khorloogiin Choibalsan


Ki Aldrich


Kichisaburō Nomura

Kidnapping of Polish children by Germany

Kidnapping of Polish children by Nazi Germany

Kielce cemetery massacre

Kiev Archive Museum of Transitional Period

Kigoshi Yasutsuna

Kii-class battleship

Kiichi Hasegawa

Kiichiro Higuchi

Kijiro Nambu

Kilauea-class ammunition ship

Kilo-class submarine

Kilometer Zero

Kim Malthe-Bruun

Kim Suk-won

Kimberley Plan

Kimon Georgiev

Kindertransport (play)


King-Byng Affair

King George V-class battleship (1939)

King Michael's Coup

King of the Texas Rangers

King Rat (1962 novel)

King Rat (film)

Kingdom Identity Ministries

Kingdom of Italy (1861–1946)

Kingdom of Montenegro (1941-1944)

Kingdom of Shadows

Kingman Airport and Industrial Park

Kings Go Forth

Kinmel Park Riots

Kinoaki Matsuo


Kiril Dojčinovski

Kirill Meretskov

Kirino Toshiaki

Kirk Douglas

KIS (weapon)

Kiss Me Goodnight, Sergeant Major

Kite-class minesweeper

Kitsuju Ayabe

Kittelbach Pirates

Kitty Hart-Moxon

Kiyohide Shima

Kiyokazu Abo

Kiyonao Ichiki

Kiyoshi Itō

Kiyoshi K. Muranaga

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Kiyotake Kawaguchi

Kiyoto Kagawa




KKK auxiliaries

Klamath Falls Airport

Klaus Barbie

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Klaus Fuchs

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Klavdiya Shulzhenko


Klement Gottwald

Klemm Kl 151

Klemm Kl 35

Klemm Kl 36

Kleo Pleyer

Klim (Red Cross)

Kliment Voroshilov tank

Kliment Voroshilov

Klooga concentration camp


Kléber (Paris Métro)

Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross

Knighthood in the Independent State of Croatia

Knights of the White Camelia

Know Your Ally: Britain

Know Your Enemy: Japan

Knud Børge Martinsen

Knud Degn

Knut Hamsun

Knut Haugland

Knut Haukelid

Knut Rød

Knut Schmidt-Nielsen

Ko-hyoteki-class submarine

Ko Willems

Koča Popović

Kočevski Rog massacre

Kobylisy Shooting Range

Kodama Gentarō

Koji Ariyoshi

Koko Tanimoto-Kondo

Kokoda (film)

Kokoda Front Line

Kokoda Track campaign


Kokusai Ku-7

Kokusai Ku-8

Kolberg (film)

Kolesnikov-Tsibin KC-20

Koli Point action


Kolmannen valtakunnan vieraana

Kommando Nowotny



Komsomolets armored tractor

Konfederacja Narodu

Kong Xianrong

Kongō-class battlecruiser

Kongsberg Colt

Konrāds Kalējs

Konrad Dannenberg

Konrad Guderski

Konrad Henlein

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Konrad Huber

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Konrad von Preysing

Konstantin Feoktistov

Konstantin Hierl

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Konstantin Muraviev

Konstantin Pankov

Konstantin Rakutin

Konstantin Rodzaevsky

Konstantin Rokossovsky

Konstantin von Neurath

Konstantinos Davakis

Konstantinos Koukidis

Konstantinos Logothetopoulos

Konstanty Troczyński


Korczak (film)

Korechika Anami

Korematsu v. United States

Koreshige Inuzuka

Korherr Report



Korsun-Cherkassy Pocket


Koshirō Oikawa

Kosovo Operation (1944)

Kosta Mušicki

Kosta Pećanac

Kotoku Sato


Košice attack

Kouji Sakai

Kristian Løken


Krafft Arnold Ehricke


Kragujevac massacre

Kraków-Płaszów concentration camp

Kraków Army

Kraków Cavalry Brigade

Kraków District

Kraków Ghetto

Kraków Uprising (1944)

Kranji War Cemetery

Krasny Kavkaz

Kreisau Circle






Kristiansand Airport, Kjevik

Kristoffer Nilsen

Kronach Lorin

Kronprinz Wilhelm

Kronshtadt-class submarine chaser

Krsto Zrnov Popović

Krupp K5

Krupp Protze

Krupp Trial

Krystyna Skarbek

Krzyż Oświęcimski

Krzysztof Kamil Baczyński

Krzyz Walecznych

Ksawery Wyrozemski

Károly Bartha

Károly Fogl

Károly Kárpáti

Ku Klux Klan

Kuban Shield


Kuehn Family



Kuma-class cruiser

Kumiko Sato

Kuniaki Koiso


Kure Naval Arsenal

Kure Naval District

Kuroda Kiyotaka

Kuroki Tamemoto

Kurt-Bertram von Döring

Kurt Becher

Kurt Blome

Kurt Bühligen

Kurt Brändle

Kurt Daluege

Kurt Diebner

Kurt Dittmar

Kurt Doerry

Kurt Franz

Kurt Freiherr von Liebenstein

Kurt Gerron

Kurt Gerstein

Kurt Grasshoff

Kurt Gruber

Kurt Hahn

Kurt Herbert Adler

Kurt Huber

Kurt Jahn

Kurt Julius Goldstein

Kurt Knispel

Kurt Kuhlmey

Kurt Mahler

Kurt Meyer (Panzermeyer)

Kurt Nehrling

Kurt Plenzat

Kurt Sanderling

Kurt Schlosser

Kurt Schmitt

Kurt Schneider (aviator)

Kurt Schneider

Kurt Student

Kurt Tank

Kurt Ubben

Kurt von Hammerstein-Equord

Kurt von Ruffin

Kurt von Schleicher

Kurt von Tippelskirch

Kurt Vonnegut

Kurt Wahle

Kurt Weill

Kurt Welter

Kurt Wüthrich

Kurt Wolff (aviator)

Kurt Zeitzler

Kustaa Pihlajamäki

Kusunose Yukihiko

Kuzma Nikolaevich Derevyanko

Kvænangen concentration camp


Kwacho Hironobu

Kwantung Army

Kyūjō Incident

Kyushu J7W

Kyushu K11W

Kyösti Karhila

KZ - Nebenlager Bretstein

KZ Gusen

Kåre Olav-Berg

Karelo-Finnish Soviet Socialist Republic

The Karelo-Finnish Soviet Socialist Republic (Karelo-Finnish SSR; Finnish: Karjalais-suomalainen sosialistinen neuvostotasavalta ; Russian: Каре́ло-Фи́нская Сове́тская Социалисти́ческая Респу́блика, tr. Karelo-Finskaya Sovetskaya Sotsialisticheskaya Respublika), also called Soviet Karelia or simply known as Karelia, was a republic of the Soviet Union. It existed from 1940 until it was made part of the Russian SFSR in 1956 as the Karelian Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic. The latter became the Republic of Karelia, a federal subject of Russia, on November 13, 1991.

List of homonymous states and regions

The following is a list of homonymous states and regions.

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