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Örjan Martinsson

Regents of Finland

Finland was conquered by Sweden during the 12th and 13th centuries and remained in Swedish hands until it was lost to Russia 1809. Under Swedish rule Finland was not a separate entity, it was divided into “län” (counties) just like the rest of Sweden and the Finns had the same rights and duties as the Swedes. But at four occasions parts of Finland were granted as a duchy with different degrees of autonomy. The first time was 1284 when king Magnus Ladulås granted a Finnish duchy to his brother Bengt. Magnus Ladulås’ son Valdemar was later given the same duchy and managed through rebellion against the king to expand it and make it to a hereditary and practically independent duchy. The success was however short lived, the king killed Valdemar and the Finnish duchy was returned to the crown 1317. King Magnus Eriksson elevated his friend Bengt Algotsson to duke of Finland and Halland 1353, but Magnus was forced to return the duchy to the crown after a rebellion against him and Bengt. The last duke of Finland was Gustav Vasa’s son Johan who 1556 was given a hereditary duchy in south western Finland. Johan was forced to hand over this fief to his brother king Erik XIV after just six years rule because of his close connections with Poland.

But Johan rebelled 1568 and became king of Sweden. As king he added "grand prince of Finland" to his titles. The succeeding Swedish kings continued this practise, and the title was also given to some heirs to the throne. But it was first when Finland was conquered by Russia that the title became more than just a title. Tsar Alexander I made Finland to separate state in union with Russia. Finland kept their old Swedish laws and became a loyal part of the Russian empire until the communist revolution 1917 which prompted Finland to declare its independence.

Dukes of Finland

1284-1291

1302-1317

1353-1356

1556-1563

Bengt (bishop of Linköping)

Valdemar

Bengt Algotsson

Johan


Swedish Grand Princes of Finland
 

1581-1592
1592-1599
1604-1611
1611-1632
1632-1654
1654-1660
1660-1697
1697-1718
1719-1720
1720-1751
1751-1771
1771-1792
1792-1809

Johan III (duke 1556-1563)
Sigismund *
Karl IX
Gustav II Adolf *
Kristina
Karl X Gustav
Karl XI
Karl XII
Ulrika Eleonora
Fredrik I
Adolf Fredrik
Gustav III
Gustav IV Adolf *


Russian Grand Princes of Finland

1809-1825
1825-1855
1855-1881
1881-1894
1894-1917
Alexander I
Nikolaj I
Alexander II
Alexander III
Nikolaj II

Republic of Finland

Riksföreståndare *
 

1917-1918
1918-1919
Pehr Evind Svinhufvud
Carl Gustaf Mannerheim

Presidents
 
1919-1925
1925-1931
1931-1937
1937-1940
1940-1944
1944-1946
1946-1956
1956-1982
1982-1994
1994-2000
2000-2012
2012-
Kaarlo Juho Ståhlberg
Lauri Kristian Relander
Pehr Evind Svinhufvud
Kyösti Kallio
Risto Heikki Ryti
Carl Gustaf Mannerheim
Juho Kusti Paasikivi
Urho Kekkonen
Mauno Koivisto
Martti Ahtisaari
Tarja Halonen
Sauli Niinistö

* = Sigismund and Gustav II Adolf used the title grand prince before they became king of Sweden. Gustav IV Adolf's younger son Karl Gustav (1802-1805) also used that title.
* = Pehr Evind Svinhufvud and Carl Gustaf Mannerheim were 1917-1919 not presidents but riksföreståndare (a Swedish title that can be translated to regent or lord protector).