Kingdom of Finland (1918)

Kingdom of Finland (1918)

Infobox Former Country
native_name="Suomen kuningaskunta"
"Konungariket Finland"
conventional_long_name= Kingdom of Finland
common_name = Finland
era=World War I
date_start=December 6, 1917
date_end=December 14
event_end=Throne renounced
date_event1=October 9, 1918
event1=Monarch elected
date_event2=November 9, 1918
event2=German surrender
leader1=Prince Frederick¹ (elect)
deputy1=Pehr Evind Svinhufvud

government_type=Constitutional monarchy
common_languages=Finnish, Swedish
footnotes=¹ The style of the monarch was intended to be "Charles I, King of Finland and Karelia, Duke of Åland, Grand Prince of Lapland, Lord of Kaleva and the North" Fact|date=April 2007

The Kingdom of Finland was a short-lived attempt following Finnish independence from Russia to establish Prince Frederick of Hesse as the King of Finland.

On the urging of the German Empire, Finland had declared independence from Russia on December 6, 1917, leading to a fierce debate on whether the new state should declare itself a republic or remain a monarchy. At the time of the declaration of independence, monarchists were a minority in the Finnish Eduskunta (Parliament), and Finland was declared a republic. After a civil war, and while the pro-republic Social Democratic Party was excluded from the Eduskunta, Frederick was elected to the throne of the Kingdom of Finland on October 9, 1918.

Lithuania had already taken a similar step in July 1918, electing Wilhelm Karl, Duke of Urach, Count of Württemberg as King Mindove II of Lithuania. For Latvia and Estonia, a "General Provincial Assembly" consisting of Baltic-German aristocrats, had called upon the German "Kaiser Wilhelm" to recognize the Baltic provinces as a joint monarchy and a German protectorate. Consequently Adolf Friedrich, Duke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin was nominated Duke of "the United Baltic Duchy" by the Germans.

Independent Finland had initially, like the Baltic provinces, close ties with the German Empire. Germany was the only power that had supported the preparations for independence, not the least by the training of voluntary Finnish Jäger troops. Germany had also intervened in the Finnish Civil War, despite her own precarious situation. Finland's position vis-à-vis Germany was already evolving towards that of a protectorate by spring 1918, and the election of Prince Frederick, brother-in-law of William II, German Emperor, was rather thought of as a confirmation of the close relations.

The adoption of a new monarchist constitution had been delayed, and the legitimacy of the royal election was based upon the Instrument of Government of 1772, adopted under King Gustav III of Sweden, when Finland had been a part of Sweden. The same constitutional document had also served as the basis for the rule of the Russian Tsars, as Grand Dukes of Finland, during the 19th century.

Governmental archives reveal that the monarchical designation of the king was intended, at least tentatively, to be "Charles I, King of Finland and Karelia, Duke of Åland, Grand Prince of Lapland, Lord of Kaleva and the North" ("Kaarle I, Suomen ja Karjalan kuningas, Ahvenanmaan herttua, Lapinmaan suuriruhtinas, Kalevan ja Pohjolan isäntä").Fact|date=December 2007

In the Finnish election document the prince is called "Fredrik Kaarle," but according to conventional wisdom his name as king would have been "Väinö I of Finland". Although the correctness of this name is not quite undisputed, it is repeated in many places, for instance at the Finnish Parliament's official web site [] . In truth, "Väinö I" as name was presented at the time in a satirical column in a leading Finnish newspaper, written by V.Nuorteva ("Olli"), a much-read political criticist, satirist and humorist of the time.Or|date=October 2008Fact|date=October 2008

On November 11, 1918, the armistice between the warring factions of World War I was signed, and two days earlier William II had abdicated and Germany was declared a Republic. Although little is known of the Allied powers view regarding the possibility of an a German-born prince as the King of Finland, Frederick renounced the throne on December 14, 1918, and subsequently for Finland to adopt a republican constitution.

ee also

* Finnish Civil War
* Prince Wolfgang of Hesse
* Monarchy of Finland
* Ancient kings of Finland
* Grand Duchy of Finland
* United Baltic Duchy
* Kingdom of Finland (1742)
* Kingdom of Lithuania (1918)
* Kingdom of Poland (1916-1918)


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