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The word originally referred only to the province of Finland Proper, and later to the northern coast of Gulf of Finland, with northern regions such as Ostrobothnia still sometimes being excluded until later.
Earlier theories suggested derivation from suomaa (fen land) or suoniemi (fen cape), and parallels between saame (Sami, a Finno-Ugric people in Lapland), and Häme (a province in the inland) were drawn, but these theories are now considered outdated.
In 1809, Finland was incorporated into the Russian Empire as the autonomous Grand Duchy of Finland.
In 1906, Finland became the first European state to grant all adult citizens the right to vote, and the first in the world to give all adult citizens the right to run for public office.
Alternatively, the Indo-European word *gʰm-on "man" (cf.
Gothic guma, Latin homo) has been suggested, being borrowed as *ćoma.
The artifacts the first settlers left behind present characteristics that are shared with those found in Estonia, Russia, and Norway.
To the south is the Gulf of Finland with Estonia on the opposite side.
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 is a Nordic country and, together with Scandinavia, is situated in the geographical region of Fennoscandia.
Finland's population is 5.5 million (2016), and the majority of the population is concentrated in the southern region.
Finland joined the OECD in 1969, the NATO Partnership for Peace in 1994, and finally the Eurozone at its inception, in 1999.