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It is a parliamentary republic with a central government based in the capital city of Helsinki, local governments in 311 municipalities, and one autonomous region, the Åland Islands.Over 1.4 million people live in the Greater Helsinki metropolitan area, which produces one third of the country's GDP.Finland joined the United Nations in 1955 and established an official policy of neutrality.The Finno-Soviet Treaty of 1948 gave the Soviet Union some leverage in Finnish domestic politics during the Cold War era.These 18th century experiences created a sense of a shared destiny that when put in conjunction with the unique Finnish language, led to the adoption of an expanded concept of Finland.The area that is now Finland was settled in, at the latest, around 8,500 BCE during the Stone Age towards the end of the last glacial period. The country has land borders with Sweden to the northwest, Norway to the north, and Russia to the east.

In addition to the close relatives of Finnish (the Finnic languages), this name is also used in the Baltic languages Latvian and Lithuanian.In 1809, Finland was incorporated into the Russian Empire as the autonomous Grand Duchy of Finland.