Kingdom of Finland (1918)

The Kingdom of Finland (Finnish: Suomen kuningaskunta; Swedish: Konungariket Finland) was a failed attempt to establish a monarchy in Finland in the aftermath of the Finnish Declaration of Independence from Russia in December 1917 and the Finnish Civil War from JanuaryMay 1918. The victorious Whites in the Parliament of Finland began the process of turning Finland into a kingdom and creating a monarchy. Although the country was legally a kingdom for over a year, that was headed by a regent; the king-elect Frederick Charles never reigned nor came to Finland following Germany's defeat in World War I, and republican victories in subsequent elections resulted in the country becoming a republic.

Kingdom of Finland
Maamme (Finnish)
Vårt land (Swedish)
(English: "Our Land")
Map of the Grand Duchy of Finland, which had the same borders as independent Finland from 1917 until 1920
Map of the Grand Duchy of Finland, which had the same borders as independent Finland from 1917 until 1920
Common languagesFinnish · Swedish · Saami  · Karelian
Evangelical Lutheranism
Finnish Orthodoxy
Demonym(s)Finnish, Finn
GovernmentConstitutional Monarchy under a Regency
Frederick Charles
P.E. Svinhufvud
C.G.E. 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
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Grand Duchy of Finland
Finnish Socialist Workers' Republic
a. Frederick Charles was elected King of Finland on 9 October 1918 and renounced the throne on 14 December 1918.

During the Finnish Civil War of 1918, Finnish Reds on friendly terms with Soviet Russia fought Finnish Whites who allied with the German Empire. Direct aid from the German Baltic Sea Division aided the Whites who won the war. The provisional government established after the Grand Duchy of Finland's declaration of independence leaned heavily toward the Finnish right and included a number of monarchists. The parliament drew up plans to create a Finnish monarchy on the legal theory that the Swedish Constitution of 1772 was still in effect, but there had been an extended interregnum with no monarch on the throne. Prince Frederick Charles of Hesse was elected to the throne of Finland on 9 October 1918 by the Finnish parliament, but he never took the position nor traveled to Finland. Soon after the election, Finnish leaders as well as the population belatedly came to understand the grave situation their German allies were in, and the wisdom of electing a German prince their new leader as Germany was about to lose World War I was called into question. Germany itself became a republic and deposed Kaiser Wilhelm II, and signed an armistice with the Allies in November. The victorious Western powers informed the Finnish government that the independence of Finland would only be recognized if it abandoned its alliance with Germany. As a result, in December 1918 Frederick Charles renounced the throne and the Baltic Sea Division withdrew from Finland. In the March 1919 election, with the Finnish left and socialists able to vote, republicans won a crushing victory. Finland's status as a republic was confirmed in the Finnish Constitution of 1919.

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