The Åland Islands or Åland ( Swedish : Åland , IPA: [Oland] ; Finnish : Ahvenanmaa ) is an archipelago at the entrance to the Gulf of Bothnia in the Baltic Sea Belonging to Finland . It is autonomous , demilitarised and is only monolingually Swedish-speaking region in Finland. It is the smallest region of Finland , constituting 0.49% of its land area and 0.50% of its population.
Åland included Fasta Åland on which 90% of the population resides  and a further 6,500 skerries and islands to its east.  Fasta Åland is separated from the coast of Sweden by 38 kilometers (24 mi) from open water to the west. In the east, the Åland archipelago is contiguous with the Finnish Archipelago Sea . Åland’s only land is located on the uninhabited skerry of Märket , which it shares with Sweden. 
Åland’s autonomous status means clustering That Those provincial powers exercised by Normally Representatives of the Finnish central government are exercised by Largely icts own government .
The autonomous status of the islands was affirmed by a decision made by the League of Nations in 1921 following the Åland Islands dispute . It has been reaffirmed within the treaty admitting Finland to the European Union . By law, Åland is politically neutral and fully demilitarized, and residents are exempt from conscription to the Finnish Defense Forces . The islands were granted extensive autonomy by the Parliament of Finland in the Act of the Autonomy of Åland of 1920 , Åland remains exclusively Swedish-speaking by this act. 
In connection with Finland’s admission to the European Union, protocol Was signed concernant the Åland Islands That stipulates, Among other things, That provisions of the European Community Treaty `shall not force exchange of the Existing restrictions for foreigners (ie, persons Who do not enjoy “home region rights” – hembygdsrätt – in Åland) to acquire certain services. 
Åland’s original name was in the Proto-Norse language * Ahvaland which means “land of water”. In Sweden, this first developed inland and eventually into Åland , literally “river land” -even though rivers are not prominently feature of Åland’s geography. The Finnish and Estonian names of the island, Ahvenanmaa and Ahvenamaa (” perch land”), are considered to be another form of the old name. 
Another theory suggests that the Finnish Ahvenanmaa would be the original name of the archipelago, from which the Swedish Åland derives. 
The official name, Landskapet Åland , means “the Region of Åland”; landskap is cognate to English “landscape”.
Members of the Neolithic Comb Ceramic culture started settling the islands some 7000 years ago, after the islands had begun to re-emerge from the sea after being pushed down by the weight of the ice . Two neolithic cultures puts on Åland: Comb Ceramic culture and later Pit-Comb Ware culture which spread from the west. 
Stone Age and Bronze Fishing and gathering seedlings. They also started agriculture early on. In the Iron Age , contacts to Scandinavia were increasing. From the Viking age there are over 380 burial sites and six castle ruins. 
In the 1200s, Finland became part of Sweden.  The Åland Islands formed part of the territory ceded to Russia by Sweden under the Treaty of Fredrikshamn in September 1809. As a result, they became part of the semi- autonomous Grand Duchy of Finland .
During this process, Sweden failed to secure the islands not be fortified. The issue was important not only for Sweden but also for the United Kingdom, which was concerned that a military presence on the islands of the United States.
In 1832, Russia started to fortify the islands with the great fortress of Bomarsund . A combined British and French force of warships and marines captured and destroyed the fortress in 1854 as part of the Baltic during the Crimean War . The 1856 Treaty of Paris demilitarized the entire Åland archipelago. 
During the Finnish Civil War , in 1918, Swedish troops intervened as a peacekeeping force between the Russian troops stationed on the islands and “White” and “Red” Finnish troops who came from Finland over the frozen sea. (Historians [ who? ] Point Out That Sweden May-have in reality planned to occupy the islands.) Within weeks, the Swedish troops gave way to German troops Who occupied Åland by request of the “White” (conservative) Senate of Finland .
After 1917 the residents of the islands worked towards Sweden. In 1919, it was signed by 96.4% of the voters on the islands, with over 95% in favor.  Swedish nationalist sentiments had grown as a result of the anti-Swedish tendencies in Finland and Finnish nationalism fueled by Finland’s struggle to retain its autonomy and resistance against Russification . The conflict between the Swedish-speaking minority and the Finnish-speaking majority on the mainland, prominent in Finnish politics since the 1840s, contributed to the apprehension of the Åland population about its future in Finland.
Finland, however, declined to an autonomous status. Nevertheless, the residents did not approve the offer, and the dispute over the islands was submitted to the League of Nations . The lath Decided That shoulds Finland retain sovereignty over the province goal que la Åland Islands shoulds be made an autonomous territory. Thus Finland was obliged to ensure the residents of Åland Islands the right to maintain the Swedish language, as well as their own culture and local traditions. At the same time, an international treaty established the neutral status of Åland, prohibiting the placing of military installations or forces on the islands. 
The combination of disappointment about Insufficient Support from Sweden in the League of Nations, Swedish disrespect for Åland’s demilitarized status in the 1930s, and Some feelings of a shared destiny with Finland During and after- World War II Has Changed the islanders’ perception of Åland’s relation to Finland from “a Swedish province in Finnish possession” to “an autonomous part of Finland”.  The islanders enjoyed safety at sea during World War II, with their merchant fleet sailed for both the Allied countries and Germany. Therefore, Åland shipping was the one that was taken care of.
Finland marked the 150th anniversary of the demilitarization of the Åland Islands by issuing a high-value commemorative coin, the $ 5 150th Anniversary of Demilitarization of Åland Islands commemorative coin , minted in 2006. The obverse depicts a pine tree, very typical in the Åland Islands . The reverse design features a boat’s stern and rudder, with a dove perched on the tiller, a symbol of 150 years of peace.
The Åland Islands are governed by the Act on the Autonomy of Åland and international treaties. These laws guarantee the islands’ autonomy from Finland, which has ultimate sovereignty over them, as well as a demilitarised status. The Government of Åland , or Landskapsregering , answers to the Parliament of Åland , or Lagting , in accordance with the principles of parliamentarism . 
Åland has its own flag, has issued its own postage stamps since 1984,  runs its own police force, and is an associate member of the Nordic Council . Since 2005 the Åland Islands also had their own airline, Air Åland .  The islands are demilitarized, and the population is exempt from conscription . Åland’s autonomy preceded the creation of the regions of Finland , the autonomous government of Åland also has responsibility for the functions of Finland’s regional councils. Åland is a member of the Small European Postal Administration Cooperation . The islands are considered a separate “nation” forAmateur radio Purposes and-have Their Own call sign prefix Granted by Finland,
OG0(last character is zero). 
The Åland Islands are guaranteed representation in the Finnish parliament , to which they elect one representative. Åland also has a different system of political parties (see list of political parties in Finland ).
Homeschooling , which was effectively banned in Sweden in 2011, is allowed by the Finnish government. Due to the islands’ proximity to Swedish and Swedish speaking countries, the Swedish Home Children’s Association, Jonas Himmelstrand, the chairman of the Swedish Association for Homeschooling. 
The State Department of Åland represents the Finnish central government and performs many administrative duties. It has a somewhat different function from the other Regional Administrative Agencies, owing to its autonomy . Prior to 2010, the state administration was handled by the Åland State Provincial Office .
Åland has its own postal administration but still uses the Finnish five-digit postal code system, using the number range 22000-22999, with the prefix AX. The lowest numbered postal code is for the capital Mariehamn, AX 22100, and the highest AX 22950 for Jurmo.
- Brändö (465)
- Eckerö (932)
- Finström (2,529)
- Föglö (564)
- Geta (509)
- Hammarland (1,521)
- Jomala (4,646)
- Kumlinge (315)
- Kökar (243)
- Lemland (1,991)
- Lumparland (390)
- Mariehamn (11,521)
- Saltvik (1,827)
- Sottunga (99)
- Sund (1,033)
- Vårdö (433)
The Åland Islands occupy a position of strategic importance, as they command one of the entrances to the port of Stockholm , and the approaches to the Gulf of Bothnia , in addition to being located near the Gulf of Finland .
The Åland archipelago includes nearly three hundred inhabited islands, of which about eighty are inhabited; the remainder are 6,200 skerries and desolate rocks.  The Archipelago is connected to Åboland archipelago in the east ( Finnish : Turunmaan saaristo , Swedish : Åbolands skärgård ) -the archipelago adjacent to the southwest coast of Finland. Together they form the Archipelago Sea . To West from Åland is Sea of Åland and to North the Bothnian Sea .
The surface of the islands is generally rocky and the soil is thinning at the end of the most recent ice age.  The islands also contain many types of insects, such as the Glanville fritillary butterfly. There are several harbors.
The occupied landmass islands has a total area of 1,527 square kilometers (590 sq mi).  Ninety percent of the population live on Fasta Åland , which is also the site of the capital town of Mariehamn . Fasta Åland is the largest island in the archipelago. Its size is 740 square kilometers  to 879 square kilometers  to over 1,010 square kilometers, depending on what is included or excluded.
During the Åland Islands dispute, the parties sought from different maps of the islands. On the Swedish map, the most densely populated dominated island, and many skerries were left out. On the Finnish map, many smaller islands or skerries were, for technical reasons, given a slightly exaggerated size. The Swedish map made the islands appear to be closer to Sweden than to Finland; the Finnish map stressed the continuity of the archipelago between mainland and mainland Finland , while a greater gap between the islands and the archipelago on the Swedish side. One consequence is the frequent number of “over 6,000” skerries that have been given authority by the outcome of the arbitration. [ quote needed ]
Åland has a continental climate that is influenced by its maritime position, especially in summer. While summers are cooler than one of the Swedish and Finnish mainland, winters see little difference to the adjacent parts of Sweden and are only narrowly in Finland.
|[ hide ]Climate data for Mariehamn Normals 1981-2010|
|Record high ° C (° F)||10.9
|Average high ° C (° F)||0.3
|Daily mean ° C (° F)||-2.5
|Average low ° C (° F)||-5.3
|Record low ° C (° F)||-32.3
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||49.7
|Source # 1: Weather Climate |
|Source # 2: Climate Weather |
Åland’s economy is heavily dominated by shipping, trade and tourism . Shipping represents about 40% of the economy, with several international carriers owned and operated off Åland. Most companies are small, with fewer than ten employees. Farming and fishing are important in combination with the food industry. A few high-profile technology companies contribute to a prosperous economy. Wind power is rapidly developing, becoming the direction of the future. In December 2011 wind power accounted for 31.48% of Åland’s total electricity usage. [ quote needed ]
The main ports are Mariehamn (south), Berghamn (west) and Långnäs on the eastern shore of the Main Island.
Mariehamn was the base for the last large oceanic commercial sailing ships in the world. Their final tasks Were Bringing Australian wheat to Great Britain, we qui Åland shipowner Gustaf Erikson kept going up to after-WW2, 1947 being white His Last year. The ships latterly made only one round-trip from South Australia to Britain per year, (the grain race ), after-marathon Each trip going back to Mariehamn to lay up For a Few months. The ship Pommern , now a museum in Mariehamn, was one of these last vessels.
The abolition of tax-free sales on the ferry between the European Union and the European Union . The exception allows for the maintenance of a tax at the airport , but has also been made in a different tax-zone, meaning that tariffs must be levied on goods brought to the islands.
Unemployment was 3.9% in January 2014 
The Finnish State taxes, duties and fees also in Åland. In return, the Finnish Government places a sum of money at the disposal of the Åland Parliament. The sum is 0.45% of total Government income, excluding Government loans. If the sum paid to the European Union is 0.5%, then it will go to the Parliament of Åland as “diligence money”.  In 2010, the amount of taxes paid by Åland Islanders was 0.65% of the total taxes paid in Finland. 
According to Eurostat , in 2006 Åland was the 20th wealthiest of the EU’s 268 regions, and the wealthiest in Finland, with a GDP per inhabitant of 47% above the EU mean.  
While the official currency is the Euro , the Swedish is unofficially accepted by most businesses in Åland. 
Births and deaths
Births and deaths: 
|[ show ]||Average population||Live births||Deaths||Natural change||Crude birth rate (per 1000)||Crude death rate (per 1000)||Natural change (per 1000)|
Ethnicity and language
Most habitants speak Swedish (the sole official language ) as Their first language : 90.2% in 2009, while 5.0% spoke Finnish . The language of instruction in the state of education is Swedish (In the rest of Finland, bilingual conventions provide both in Finnish and in Swedish). (See Swedish Åland for information about the dialect.)
The issue of the ethnicity of the Ålanders, and the correct linguistic classification of their language, remains somewhat sensitive and controversial. They may be considered to be ethnic Swedes or Swedish-speaking Finns , but their language is closer to the Swedish dialect of Sweden than to Finland . See Languages of Sweden .
Regional citizenship or the right of residence ( hembygdsrätt ) is a prerequisite for voting, standing as a candidate for the Legislative Assembly, or owning and holding real estate situated in unplanned areas of Åland. 
The majority of the population, 75.9%, belongs to the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland .  The Åland islands contain Finland’s oldest Christian churches, including St. Olaf’s Church, Jomala , which dating from the late 13th century is likely to be the oldest in Finland. The Åland Islands’ largest church is the Church of St. George in Sund , dating from shortly after. 
- Åland competes in the biennial Island Games , which hosted in 1991 and 2009.
- Åland United and IFK Mariehamn are the leading football clubs.
Åland Islands are the only Rugby Union club.
- Index of Åland-related articles
- Bibliography of the Åland Islands
- Åland Islands dispute
- Åland Islands official football team
- Åland Swedish ·
- Coat of Arms of Åland
- Languages of Åland
- Flag of Åland
- Government of Åland
- Provincial Governors of Finland
- Public holidays in Åland
- Transport on the Åland Islands
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