Nature and climate: A main island, Åland, and 6 500 smaller islands and rocky islets, dividing the Sea of Bothnia from the Baltic Sea. The maritime environment and a favourable climate has given Åland a variety of species both in flora and fauna. Here grow many plants and live many animals rare in Finland. Many migratory birds pass and here lives elk, roe deer, fox, ermine and wild mink.
People: A mix of Finns and Swedes. All speak Swedish.
Economy Shipping is of vital importance for Åland, that owns one fourth of Finlands total commercial tonnage. Fishing and manufacturing of fish is another important industry. Agriculture, though, is the base industry. Åland is known for their special plantations of cucumbers. Sugar beets, onions and other eatable roots are also grown.
History: Rich finds from 500 - 1000AD show that Åland was early inhabited. Here are over 11 000 finds showing that Åland at the end of the Viking era probably was the most densely populated area of Scandinavia. Christened in the early 10th century. Åland belonged, like the rest of Finland, to Sweden from 1154 to 1809, when it was ceded to Russia in the peace-treaty of Hamina. Åland's capital and only town, Mariehamn, was founded during the Russian era and named after the empress Maria Alexandrovna. A conflict about the sovereignty over Åland aroused between Sweden and Finland when Finland in 1918 declared independence. The population of Åland declared in several referendums that they wanted Swedish sovereignty. Finally the conflict was solved by the League of Nations thus that Åland would belong to Finland, with extensive domestic independence and a neutrality guaranteed by the League of Nations and several great powers. This treaty was signed and approved in 1921. After a referendum in November 1994 Åland joined the EU and was granted taxfree sales on the ferries to both Sweden and Finland.
© I wrote this text for the AmigaWorld-program during the early 1990:ies. If you have an Amiga computor you should have this program. You'll find it at Aminet.