Kingdom of Finland (1918)

The Kingdom of Finland (Finnish: Suomen kuningaskunta; Swedish: Konungariket Finland) was an abortive attempt to establish a monarchy in Finland following Finland's independence from Russia.

Kingdom of Finland

Suomen kuningaskunta  (Finnish)
Konungariket Finland  (Swedish)
Anthem: Maamme / Vårt land
"Our Land"
Map of the Grand Duchy of Finland, which had the same borders as independent Finland from 1917 until 1920
Common languagesFinnish · Swedish
Evangelical Lutheranism
Finnish Orthodoxy
Frederick Charles a
Pehr Evind Svinhufvud
Carl Gustaf Mannerheim
Prime Minister 
Juho Kusti Paasikivi
Lauri Ingman
Kaarlo Castrén
Historical eraWorld War I / Interwar period
 Independence declared (as a republic)
6 December 1917
 Supreme authority given to regent
18 May 1918
 King elected
9 October 1918
3 March 1919
17 July 1919
CurrencyFinnish markka
ISO 3166 codeFI
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Grand Duchy of Finland
Today part of Finland
a. Frederick Charles was elected King of Finland on 9 October 1918 and renounced the throne on 14 December 1918.

In March 1918, the German Empire successfully intervened in the Finnish Civil War on the side of the Finnish White Army. By May 1918, the German Baltic Sea Division had aided the Whites to gain control over most of the country, and its commander Rüdiger von der Goltz in practice ruled Finland as the "regent of Finland". Prince Frederick Charles of Hesse was elected to the throne of Finland on 9 October 1918 by the Parliament of Finland, but he never took the position and renounced the throne in December 1918 after Germany's defeat in the First World War.


Finland had declared independence from what was the Russian Empire, at that time embroiled in the Russian Civil War, on 6 December 1917. At the time of the declaration of independence, monarchists were a minority in the Finnish Parliament, and Finland was declared a republic. A civil war followed, and afterwards, while the pro-republican Social Democratic Party was excluded from the Parliament and before a new constitution was adopted, Frederick was elected to the throne of Finland on 9 October 1918.

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

At independence, Finland had, like the Baltic provinces, close ties with the German Empire. Germany was the only international power that had supported the preparations for independence, not least by training volunteers as Finnish Jäger troops. Germany had also intervened in the Finnish Civil War, despite its own precarious situation. Finland's position vis-a-vis Germany was already evolving towards that of a protectorate by Spring 1918, and the election of Prince Frederick, brother-in-law of Wilhelm II, was viewed as a confirmation of the close relations between the two nations. The strongly pro-German prime minister, Juho Kusti Paasikivi, and his government offered the crown to Prince Frederick in October 1918.[2]

The adoption of a new monarchist constitution had been delayed because it did not get the required qualified majority. 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 the Kingdom of Sweden. The same constitutional document had also served as the basis for the rule of the Russian Emperors, as Grand Dukes of Finland, during the 19th century.

A member of the Finnish Parliament, Gustaf Arokallio, suggested the monarchical designation "Charles I, King of Finland and Karelia, Duke of Åland, Grand Duke of Lapland, Lord of Kaleva and the North" (Finnish: Kaarle I, Suomen ja Karjalan kuningas, Ahvenanmaan herttua, Lapinmaan suuriruhtinas, Kalevan ja Pohjolan isäntä; Swedish: Karl I, Kung av Finland och Karelen, hertig av Åland, storhertig av Lappland, herre över Kaleva och Pohjola).[3]

By 9 November 1918, Wilhelm II had abdicated and Germany was declared a republic. Two days later, on 11 November 1918, the armistice between the belligerents of World War I was signed. Little is known of the Allied powers' view regarding the possibility of a German-born prince as the King of Finland. However, warnings received from the West convinced the Finnish government of Prime Minister Lauri Ingman  a monarchist himself  to ask Prince Frederick to give up the crown, which he had not yet come to wear in Finland.

The king-elect Frederick renounced the throne on 14 December 1918. Mannerheim, the leader of the Whites during the Finnish Civil War, was appointed as Regent. Republican parties won three-quarters of the parliament's seats in the election of 1919 and Finland adopted a republican constitution. In July 1919, Finland's first president Kaarlo Juho Ståhlberg replaced Mannerheim. Finland became a republic.[4]

Other similar states

During World War I, the German Empire participated in the creation of various client states in territories that had belonged to Russia. These states were nevertheless nominally fully independent and sovereign:

See also


  1. "Gemstone Gallery". visit Kemi. Retrieved 5 February 2017.
  2. Eric Solsten and Sandra W. Meditz, editors (1988). "The Establishment of Finnish Democracy". Finland: A Country Study. GPO for the Library of Congress. Retrieved 5 February 2017.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  3. Ohto Manninen (päätoim.), Pertti Haapala, Juhani Piilonen, Jukka-Pekka Pietiäinen: Itsenäistymisen vuodet 1917–1920: 3. Katse tulevaisuuteen. Helsinki: Valtionarkisto, 1992. ISBN 951-37-0729-6. pp. 188–189
  4. "Why Finland deserves to celebrate its independence". Finland Politics.
  • Nash, Michael L (2012) The last King of Finland. Royalty Digest Quarterly, 2012 : 1

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