The Finnish people are, in many ways, an enigma. Despite Finland’s location amidst the Scandinavian countries, the Finns are not Scandinavian. They came out of Asia thousands of years ago and settled in Finland at least 4,000 years ago. Their language is closer to Ugrian, Samoyed or Korean than the nearby German, Russian or Swedish. According to Finnish Magic by Robert Nelson, “There is evidence that the Finno-Ugrians anciently occupied a major part of the Scandinavian Peninsula, and possibly part of the British isles. J. F. Campbell and others have taught that the aboriginal inhabitants of the British Isles were Finns displaced by the conquering Celts and Germans, who seemed to associate the Finns with magic. The old Norse word for sorcery, finngerd, literally meant ‘a Finn’s work.’” It is also thought that the Finns conquered and absorbed the Lapps as they traveled through the north and their are similarities between languages to support this. The Finns were seen as warriors, but in some ways this is a role that was thrust upon them. Finns served the Byzantine emperors as bodyguards, palace police and soldiers. They served the Uppsala kings of ancient Sweden in Viking conquests throughout the Baltic and North Sea areas. After Finland was made a province of Sweden by Swedish King Eric the Good and Bishop Henry of Uppsala, the Finns often found themselves in wars that were more like fights for survival than matters of territoriality.
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