The concept of ‘Finland as an Island’: an external reappraisal
For a considerable time, the concept of Finland as a peripheral ‘island’ in northern Europe dependent to a large extent on maritime trade and overseas commerce has dominated its historiography. Such an approach is understandable. A very high proportion of its foreign trade was seaborne; over one-third of its external borders were coastal; and urbanization was driven primarily by the growth of ports and maritime communities. A wide range of occupations and activities were directly related to the sea and long-term changes in the maritime economy had a direct effect on the structure of Finnish society and family life.