- Åland Islands
/ah"leuhnd, aw"leuhnd/; Swed. /oh"lahnd'/a group of Finnish islands in the Baltic Sea, between Sweden and Finland. 22,608; 572 sq. mi. (1480 sq. km). Finnish, Ahvenanmaa.
* * *Archipelago, southwestern Finland, constituting Ahvenanmaan autonomous kunta (commune).It consists of about 35 inhabited islands (pop., 2002 est.: 26,000) and more than 6,000 uninhabited ones, with a total land area of 599 sq mi (1,552 sq km). Åland, the largest island, is the location of Mariehamn, the administrative capital and chief seaport. The islands were Christianized by 12th-century Swedish missionaries. When Finland declared its independence in 1917, the Ålanders sought to become part of Sweden. Though the archipelago remains with Finland, it has been given unique autonomy.
* * *▪ islands, Finlandarchipelago constituting Åland (Ahvenanmaa) autonomous territory, southwestern Finland. The islands lie at the entrance to the Gulf of Bothnia, 25 miles (40 km) east of the Swedish coast, at the eastern edge of the Åland Sea. The archipelago has a land area of 599 square miles (1,551 square km) and consists of about 35 inhabited islands, 6,500 uninhabited islands, and many rocky reefs. The bedrock is primarily granite and covered with a soil that, though mainly clay, is rich in certain areas.Åland, the largest island in the group, accounts for more than 70 percent of the total land area and is known locally as Fasta Åland (“Main Island”). It consists of rugged granite to the north and rich agricultural soil to the southeast. Eckerö and Lemland are the next largest islands. Åland is home to about 90 percent of the archipelago's population and is the site of Mariehamn, the administrative capital, chief seaport, and only town. Also located on Åland is Orrdals Hill, the highest point of the archipelago, rising to a height of 423 feet (129 metres). From the 19th century until World War II, Mariehamn served as the centre of a sailing fleet engaged in grain trade with Australia. Few of these ships still operate, though the colourful history of the fleet is reflected in an excellent maritime museum. Fishing, which originally brought settlement to coastal areas unsuited to agriculture, is a declining source of income.The archipelago has the highest crop yields in Finland per unit area because of the mild climate and fertile soil. Small, highly mechanized farms produce wheat, oats, barley, rye, cucumbers, sugar beets, potatoes, and onions. The climate also favours apple, plum, and pear orchards. Ayrshire cattle dominate the dairy farms, and sheep are also raised. Tourism, shipping, and commerce and banking account for much of the nonagricultural employment. The islands are linked to Sweden and the Finnish mainland by car and passenger ferries, steamship service, and air service from Mariehamn airport. The islands' tourist industry has expanded greatly in recent decades, with most visitors arriving by ferry from neighbouring Finland or Sweden. The islands' inhabitants speak Swedish (Swedish language), which is the sole official language and the language of instruction in schools.The archipelago shows evidence of Bronze and Iron Age settlement as well as distinctive Viking graveyards and numerous medieval granite churches. The islands were Christianized during the 12th century by Swedish missionaries. In 1714 they were seized by the Russian tsar Peter I the Great after his naval victory over Sweden. When the grand duchy of Finland was ceded to Russia in 1809, the islands were included with the provision that they would not be fortified. Russia began fortification in the 1830s, however, with the building of the Bomarsund garrison. The fortress was destroyed in 1854 during the Crimean War by Anglo-French troops. The Åland Convention between Britain, France, and Russia (1856) stipulated that the islands would never be fortified again, though the islands remained under Russian rule. Because of their long history of economic and cultural association with Sweden, the Ålanders claimed the right of self-determination and sought to become part of Sweden when Finland declared its independence in 1917. Finland granted the islands autonomy in 1920 but refused to acknowledge their secession. The League of Nations became mediator of the Åland question, granting the islands a unique autonomy while directing that they remain part of Finland.Åland autonomous territory has a single-chamber parliament called the Lagtinget whose members are elected to four-year terms. Most administrative powers are vested in an Executive Council, whose ministers are appointed by the Lagtinget. The people also elect one representative to the Finnish parliament. There is a board that exercises certain administrative powers retained by the national government and that is headed by a governor appointed by the Finnish president upon agreement with the speaker of the Lagtinget. Pop. (2005 est.) 26,766.
* * *
Look at other dictionaries:
Åland Islands — Åland redirects here. For other uses, see Åland (disambiguation). Åland Islands Landskapet Åland (Ahvenanmaan maakunta) … Wikipedia
Åland Islands — A stepping stone cluster of islands stretching between the coasts of Sweden and Finland and marking the boundary between the Baltic Sea to the south and the Gulf of Bothnia to the north. The islands were given to Russia, along with Finland, by … Encyclopedia of the Age of Imperialism, 1800–1914
Aland islands — noun an archipelago of some 6,000 islands in the Gulf of Bothnia under Finnish control • Syn: ↑Aaland islands, ↑Ahvenanmaa • Instance Hypernyms: ↑archipelago • Part Holonyms: ↑Gulf of Bothnia, ↑Finland, ↑ … Useful english dictionary
Åland Islands — /alənd ˈaɪləndz/ (say ahluhnd uyluhndz), /ˈɔ / (say aw ) plural noun a group of Finnish islands in the Baltic between Sweden and Finland. 1481 km2. Finnish, Ahvenanmaa … Australian English dictionary
Åland Islands Peace Institute — The Åland Islands Peace Institute in Mariehamn, Finland, conducts projects and research into peace and conflict issues in a broadly defined sense from the vantage point of Åland and the special status that Åland enjoys under international law. It … Wikipedia
Åland Islands national football team — Infobox National football team Name = Åland Islands Badge = FA Åland Islands.gif FIFA Trigramme = FIFA Rank = Elo Rank = Nickname = Association = Ålands Fotbollförbund Coach = Tommy Lundberg Most caps = Top scorer = Home Stadium = Wiklöf Holding… … Wikipedia
History of the Åland Islands — Prehistory Orrdalsklint and Långbergen in Saltvik, Åland s highest peaks, started rising from the Baltic sea (then Yoldia sea) c. 10000 years ago. The oldest archeological finds to denote the presence of humans on the isles represent the Comb… … Wikipedia
Transport on the Åland Islands — Åland is an archipeligo of over 6,000 islands in the Baltic Sea. Constitutionally, it is a Swedish speaking autonomous province of Finland. Sea travel is a vital part of Åland s economy and a major local employer. The main ports are located at… … Wikipedia
Aland-Inseln — Åland Autonome Provinz Finnlands Flagge Wappen (Details) … Deutsch Wikipedia
Åland — Autonome Provinz Finnlands Flagge Wappen (Details) … Deutsch Wikipedia