Aland 1998

Aland Islands Capital

Yearbook 1998

Aland. At the beginning of the year, falling unemployment was 4.2% and the number of vacancies was the highest in a decade. In practice, labor shortages prevailed. But an expert group warned in April that non-EU adaptation of taxes, labor law, ship register and maritime support would lead to the flagship of Åland shipping and thus dramatically increased unemployment. However, in October, after long hesitation, the government said no to a proposed support package for shipping. The decision was described in Mariehamn as a killing blow to Åland society.

In November, President Martti Ahtisaari emerged as the first Finnish head of state to open the Lagting on Å. area.

A hot debate about the Finnish’s position on the Å flared up in the fall after Finnish newspapers wrote that it is forbidden for landscape officials to study Finnish. The provincial government’s head of government, county councilor Roger Jansson, described the information as a lie and gave examples of officials who, during the year, have just studied Finnish during working hours.

Aland Islands Capital

The name is Swedish and comes from aa “water”; the official Finnish name is Ahvenan maa, from an ancient ahva which also means “water”. A remarkable group of islands off the coast of southern Finland, almost blocking the entrance to the Gulf of Bothnia. Limited to N. from this, to S. from the Baltic, separated to the West from the Swedish coast by the sea and channel of the Åland (finn. Ahvenan meri), it is distinguished with less clarity to E. from the dense following of islands that accompanies in that area the Finnish coast, constituting the archipelago of Åbo (today Turku). This eastern boundary arises along the so-called Skiftet strait (finn. Kihti), which consists of a series of fairly wide channels extending from N. to S., in the middle of the largest of the islets scattered between one and the other group; the strait widens in the southernmost part to form a wide open gulf, also studded with numerous emerged bumps and rocks. The archipelago is therefore included between the meridians 19 ° 25 ′ and 21 ° 20 ′ long. E. and the parallels 59 ° 50 ‘and 60 ° 25’ lat. N. It rises from a fairly wide base, which does not drop below 50 m as far as the Finnish coast. if not in the Delet arm (110 m.) and in the Skiftet arm (86 m.), while the Åland canal reaches 253 m. to S. and 179 to N.

The archipelago consists of the large island of Åland, which is over 50 km long. from N. to S., but with an extraordinarily tormented outline by prominences and inlets of all sorts; three other large islands, separated from Åland by narrow and winding shallow channels (Eckerö to the W, Lemland and Lumparland to the SE.); of another dozen medium-sized islands (such as Vardö in NE., Föglö and the group that accompanies it in E. di Lemland, then, increasingly in E., Kionlinge in N., Sottunga in the center and Kökars to S.); finally of a very large number of islets and rocks, scattered in series or in groups among the above. The surface of the entire archipelago is estimated at 1426 square kilometers, of which 640 are made up of the largest island alone. A hundred adds up the number of inhabited islands, a few thousand that of islets and rocks.

The presence of this archipelago is explained as a consequence of a great inflection of the Finnish penepian, which, after having tilted until it disappears under the sea level in the Skiftet, rises to the west. This fact, like the lowering of the major channels, is attributed to tectonic causes, while, on the other hand, the tormented relief and contour of the major, minor and minimal islands, is believed to be due to the glacial action, which has eroded, disintegrated, engraved with great variety the ancient penepian, leaving here free the passage to the sea waters even for a few meters deep, there also very short bumps, domes, points emerge. Granite and quartz porphyry (the so-called rapakivi rock) constitute for the most part the ancient lands of the island Åland and the closest ones; the gneisses those of the others lined up along the Skiftet. Quaternary morainic deposits are added everywhere.

The altitude in the major islands is held on the average of 20-30 msm, exceptionally reaches 113 m. (Kasberg) and 132 (Orrdalsklint) in the NE part. by Åland.

The climate of the archipelago is characterized in a characteristic way by its position within the Baltic. The islands are included in full between the annual isotherm of 4 ° and that of 5 °. In the coldest month (February) the average temperature is between −4 ° and −5 °; in the hottest months (July and August) it reaches 15 °. It remains below 0 ° in the four months of December, January, February, March; at 10 °, or above, in the four months of June, July, August, September. From mid-February to mid-March the archipelago is reached to the East. by the freezing of sea surface waters, which forms a single layer up to the Finnish coast, so robust that it can sometimes be crossed by vehicles: on the side of Sweden, however, the sea is always completely free, except in cases of exceptional winter severity. Rainfall is not abundant: they are around an annual average of 550 mm. and prevail in the fall. Snow, even in the coldest months, reaches a maximum of 30 cm. thick. Winds of the western and especially southwestern quadrants dominate.

This climate is on the whole milder than that of the other neighboring lands; therefore the archipelago appears in Finnoscandia as a vegetal region of exceptional wealth. Pine, epicea and fir forests are widespread, although very tall trees are quite rare. In addition to these species, we find the oak (particularly in groves in Greater Åland), the ash, the elm, both in the woods and in isolated groups; the wild apple, maple, lime tree; among the shrubs the hazelnut, the viburnum, the hawthorn, the yew prevail. The smaller islands are often surrounded along the coasts by a belt of alders and shrubs, behind which rises the dark mass of the coniferous forest. The islets and the rocks most exposed to the winds often have only bushes of dwarf junipers, whose intense green stands out against the reddish-gray of the rock. The beaches of the breasts facing the internal channels and protected against bad weather are home to meadows and cultivated fields, which only in the major islands have stretched inwards, replacing the forest. Of the total area of ​​the rural municipalities (142,310 ha), 122,568 hectares are dominated by the forest: of the 19,742 hectares remaining, 5,159 are grazed, 3,232 to natural grass, 11,351 to cultivated land. Ownership is generally very divided. In crops cereals (38% of the cultivated area: oats, rye, wheat, etc.) and fodder (43%) prevail. Breeding is noteworthy: the 1925 survey yielded 3,382 horses, 21,388 cattle, 32,356 sheep, 3,243 pigs: in that year 13 dairies were noted, of which 12 cooperatives. Fishing is also noteworthy, which in 1924 produced 2,331,780 kg. of fish, almost exclusively Baltic herring. On the other hand, industrial activity was scarce: in 1925, not counting the small mills, there were 8 factories (generally sawmills), which employed an average of 96 people and benefited from 392 HP.

The total population of the archipelago reached, as of December 31, 1924, 27,167 residents. It therefore forms one of the most densely populated provinces in Finland (19 residents Per sq. Km.), The fourth in that year. Comparison with pre-1918 statistics is made difficult by the fact that until then the län of Åland was joined to that of Turku-Pori (Åbo-Björneborg). In 1900 the population, within the limits of the current district, was 26,598 residents (density 18.6); in 1885, about 21,500. The increase is therefore continuous, but very slow: in the seven years between 1918 and 1924 the coefficients of the surplus of births varied between a minimum of -1.3 (1919) and a maximum of 6 (1921) per 1000 residents.. However, it is noteworthy that the province among all the others in Finland has the lowest mortality in the first year of life (61.5 per 1000 live births from 1901 to 1924). Strong is emigration: 3,242 people in the decade 1901-1910; 1,391 in 1911-1920; in all over 7,000 from 1893 to 1925, of which only about a thousand returned.

The most widely spoken language is Swedish: in the 1920 census, 962.2 per 1000 of the residents declared it their own language, while 37.5 spoke Finnish and 0.3 other languages. All those surveyed declared themselves Lutherans.

As for occupations, out of 20,423 people fit for work there were 14,271 employed in agriculture and fishing (almost 70%); transport and communications 1,955, unspecified daily workers 1,051, workers in industries, arts and crafts 971, landowners and retirees 890, employed in public services 480, commerce 286, teaching 202.

The title of city is recognized only in one center, Mariehamn (finn. Maarianhamina), on the island of Åland, the capital of the district. It had 756 residents in 1885, which grew to 1,027 in 1900, to 1,368 in 1910 and, on December 31, 1924, to 1,507. The district is also divided into 15 rural municipalities, of which the most densely populated reach 17 residents per sq. km. (Saltvik, Sottunga, Finström), while four reach 10. Their extension varies from 147 sq. Km. of Jomala to 21 of Sottunga, but 10 approach or exceed 100.

Within the Finnish Republic, the province (län) of Land enjoys particular, large autonomy, according to its own fundamental law (see below).