Viipuri Province

The Viipuri Province (Finnish: Viipurin lääni, commonly abbreviated Vpl, Swedish: Viborgs län or Wiborgs län) was a province of Finland from 1812 to 1945.

Viipuri Province
Viipurin lääni
Viborgs län
Province of Finland
1812–1945
Coat of arms
CapitalViipuri
Area 
 1939¹
32,134 km2 (12,407 sq mi)
Population 
 1939¹
620838
History 
 Established
1812
 Disestablished
1945
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Vyborg Governorate
Karelo-Finnish Soviet Socialist Republic
Leningrad Oblast
Province of Kymi
¹ About 43 thousand km² with the surface of the Finnish part of Lake Ladoga.

History

The predecessor of the province was Vyborg Governorate, which was established in 1744 from territories ceded by the Swedish Empire to Russia in 1721 (Treaty of Nystad) and in 1743 (Treaty of Åbo). These territories originated as parts of the Viborg and Nyslott County and Kexholm County in 1721, and parts of the Savolax and Kymmenegård County in 1743. The governorate was also known as Old Finland.

During the Napoleonic Wars, the Kingdom of Sweden had allied itself with the Russian Empire, United Kingdom and other parties against Napoleonic France. However, following the Treaty of Tilsit in 1807, Russia made peace with France. In 1808, supported by France, Russia successfully challenged Swedish control over Finland in the Finnish War. In the Treaty of Fredrikshamn on September 17, 1809, Sweden was obliged to cede all its territory in Finland east of the Torne River to Russia. The ceded territories became a part of the Russian Empire and were reconstituted into the autonomic Grand Duchy of Finland, with the Russian Tsar as Grand Duke.

In 1812, the territories of the Vyborg Governorate were transferred from Russia proper to the Grand Duchy of Finland and established as Viipuri Province. The transfer announced by Tsar Alexander I just before Christmas, on December 23, 1811 O.S. (January 4, 1812 N.S.), can be seen as a symbolic gesture and an attempt to appease the sentiment of the Finnish population, which had just experienced Russian conquest of their country by force. Siestarjoki was transferred to Saint Petersburg Governorate in 1864.

When Finland became independent from Russia in 1917, the status of Viipuri Province remained unchanged. The provincial capital, Vyborg (Swedish: Viborg, Finnish: Viipuri), was at this time the fourth largest city in Finland.

World War II

On September 1, 1939, Nazi Germany invaded Poland and started World War II. On September 17, 1939, the USSR, in accordance with the secret protocols of the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact, invaded Poland from the east. Within months, the Soviet Union launched a war against Finland. As a result of this war, Finland was forced to cede territory, including parts of Viipuri Province, to the Soviet Union in the Moscow Peace Treaty in early 1940. Finland lost its natural border along the Rajajoki River (Swedish: Systerbäck) in the south. 22,973 km², or 71.5 percent of the province on the Karelian Isthmus, including the cities of Viipuri and Sortavala, became part of the newly established Karelo-Finnish SSR in the Soviet Union. Following the peace treaty, the entire population of the ceded territories, more than four hundred thousand people, was evacuated to central Finland.

In 1941 the Continuation War broke out and Finland recaptured the territories, but in 1944 its forces were pushed back and by the Moscow Armistice on September 19, 1944, and the Paris Peace Treaty in 1947 the territorial losses were confirmed again.

Winter war evacuees had returned following the Finnish offensive in 1941 and were evacuated again in 1944 after the Soviet counterattack, and the territories were repopulated by people from other parts of the Soviet Union. This time, the Karelian Isthmus became part of the Vyborgsky and Priozersky districts of the Leningrad Oblast, and only Ladoga Karelia and Border Karelia became part of the Karelo-Finnish SSR.

While Ladoga Karelia retained most of its original toponyms, the vast majority of toponyms in the Karelian Isthmus were renamed by the Soviet government around 1948. In 1945 the parts of the province that remained in Finnish hands were renamed Kymi Province, with its center at Kouvola. The Kymi Province was in turn merged with other provinces into the larger Southern Finland Province in 1997.

Maps

Economy

The area had a well-developed economy due to its proximity to Saint Petersburg, the capital of the Russian Empire. In 1856 Saimaa Canal (Russian: Сайменский канал, Saymensky kanal) was opened, linking Lake Saimaa and Finnish Lakeland to the Vyborg Bay.

The development of the province was bolstered further by the construction of the Saint Petersburg–Riihimäki railroad in 1870, the Viborg–Joensuu railroad in 1894 and the Petrograd–Hiitola railroad in 1917.

Granite, marble (in Ruskeala) and bog iron mining as well as logging were important branches of industry. Starting from the beginning of the 20th century, a number of hydroelectric power plants were built by Enso in the higher reaches of the River Vuoksi to supply its pulp and paper mills.

Administrative divisions

Local districts

In Finnish kihlakunta, in Swedish härad.

Cities, towns and municipalities in 1939

Those which were ceded to the Soviet Union during World War II are given in italics.

Cities

Towns

Rural municipalities

Finnish/Swedish name. Main village with the same name unless otherwise noted.

Electoral districts

Following the electoral reform to the new Parliament of Finland in 1906, the province was divided into an Eastern and a Western electoral district.

Western electoral district

Haapasaari, Hamina, Johannes, Kanneljärvi, Koivisto, Koiviston maalaiskunta, Kotka, Kouvola, Kuolemajärvi, Kymi, Lappee, Lappeenranta, Lauritsala, Lavansaari, Lemi, Luumäki, Miehikkälä, Nuijamaa, Pyhtää, Savitaipale, Seiskari, Sippola, Suomenniemi, Suursaari, Säkkijärvi, Taipalsaari, Tytärsaari, Uusikirkko, Vahviala, Valkeala, Vehkalahti, Viipuri, Viipurin maalaiskunta, Virolahti, Ylämaa

Eastern electoral district

Antrea, Harlu, Heinjoki, Hiitola, Impilahti, Jaakkima, Joutseno, Jääski, Kaukola, Kirvu, Kivennapa, Korpiselkä, Kurkijoki, Käkisalmen maalaiskunta, Käkisalmi, Lahdenpohja, Lumivaara, Metsäpirtti, Muolaa, Parikkala, Pyhäjärvi, Rautjärvi, Rautu, Ruokolahti, Ruskeala, Räisälä, Sakkola, Salmi, Simpele, Soanlahti, Sortavala, Sortavalan maalaiskunta, Suistamo, Suojärvi, Terijoki, Uukuniemi, Valkjärvi, Vuoksela, Vuoksenranta, Äyräpää

Governors

Governors of the Viipuri Province 1812-1945:

  • Carl Johan Stjernvall 1812-1815
  • Carl Johan Walleen 1816-1820
  • Otto Wilhelm Klinckowström 1820-1821 (acting) ja 1821-1825
  • Carl August Ramsay 1825-1827 (acting) and 1827–1834
  • Carl Gustaf Mannerheim 1834-1839
  • Fredric Stewen 1839-1844
  • Casimir von Kothen 1844-1846 (acting) and 1846–1853
  • Alexander Thesleff 1853-1856
  • Bernhard Indrenius 1856-1866
  • Christian Theodor Åker-Blom 1866-1882
  • Woldemar von Daehn 1882-1885
  • Sten Carl Tudeer 1885-1888 (acting) and 1888–1889
  • Johan Axel Gripenberg 1889-1899
  • Nikolai von Rechenberg 1900-1902
  • Nikolai Mjasojedov 1902-1905
  • Konstantin Kazansky 1905 (acting) and 1905
  • Mikael von Medem 1905-1906 (acting)
  • Nikolai von Rechenberg 190-1907
  • Birger Gustaf Samuel von Troil 1907-1910
  • Frans Carl Fredrik Josef von Pfaler 1910-1917
  • Vilho Sarkanen (acting) 1917
  • Valfrid Suhonen (acting) 1917-1918
  • Antti Hackzell 1918-1920
  • Lauri Kristian Relander 1920-1925
  • Arvo Manner 1925-1945

Both the second President of Finland Lauri Kristian Relander and Carl Gustaf Mannerheim, grandfather of the sixth President, Carl Gustaf Emil Mannerheim, were governors of Viipuri province.

Notable people

People born in Viipuri Province between 1812 and 1917, when it was part of the Grand Duchy of Finland

For people born after 1917 in Vyborg

See also

Further reading

  • Sergey Plescheef (1792). "Northern Region: Government of Vyborg". Survey of the Russian Empire. Translated by James Smirnove (3rd ed.). London: J. Debrett. OCLC 4029300 via Hathi Trust.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  • William Henry Beable (1919), "Governments or Provinces of the Former Russian Empire: Viborg", Russian Gazetteer and Guide, London: Russian Outlook

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