Who are the Finns descended from?
The dull sun, the subdued colors of nature, the endless forests and marshes – this is how Finland, where the Finnish people live. Finns speak a special language, look a little different from other Europeans, about their funny mentality is a lot of jokes. Where and from whom did this amazing nation of quiet reticent people come?
The Finns, the Ugro-Finns and the inhabitants of Finland. Do not get confused!
Kalevala, an illustration of the epos.
Despite these three terms meaning the same thing, at first glance they all belong to different spheres and peoples! Finns are called the ancient inhabitants of Eastern Europe, about whom wrote Herodotus and Tacitus. They are written about as savage people, living in extreme poverty and not caring about improving their lives. Because of this, they are of little interest to other peoples and therefore live relatively quietly. Of course, these are relatives of the modern Finns, but no less so of the Slavs, the Uralic peoples and the Estonians! These “Finns” lived in what is now Russia, Belarus and Ukraine and only after the arrival of the Slavs were they assimilated or were pushed north and east. But at the same time, they preserved the memory of the incredible antiquity of their people! Tales of Kalevala, the national epic of the Finns, are more than a thousand years old!
Folk Finnish song about magic psaltery Kantele, on which the hero of Kalevala Lemenkainen played
Ugro-Finns is a completely different term from ethnography and linguistics. It unites the peoples of Western Siberia, the Urals and the Russian Plain, who speak the languages of the Ugro-Finnic group. These peoples are related to each other, but because of historical processes, they are so far apart that only specialists would discover the similarity! Indeed, at first sight, the Hungarian, Estonian, Ob Ostyak, Vogul and Karelian have little in common. For a linguist, however, all of them are Ugro-Finns!
The Saami in their national costumes
The inhabitants of Finland are a fairly homogeneous people, which includes the Finns themselves, the ancient inhabitants of the region the Sami and Karelians, as well as many Swedish and Norwegian settlers. All of them intermingled with each other and determine the specific appearance of the inhabitants of Su-omi. Dark-eyed, short and dark-skinned people are most probably the descendants of Saami, blond and wide-faced stout-faced true Finns, also blond but more tall and lean are of Swedish origin.
Genetics of Finns
Initially, the Finns were few in number. Back in the 18th century there were only 200,000 of them! And in the genome of the people, you can clearly see the results of the “bottle neck”, that is, all Finns are descended from a very small group of people who gave numerous offspring, but genetically they are not diverse. Almost 40% of Finns have haplotypes characteristic of Sweden and Norway, i.e. the role of “Vikings” in the Finnish population is hard to overestimate. They are only 60% Finns, and 40% are rather northern Germans. But as they descend eastward, the Finns’ genome loses Swedish elements and acquires more and more aboriginal Finnish types. And most interestingly, the genetic distance between Western and Eastern Finns will be greater than that of Europeans of different countries. The Eastern Finns are very close to the Mordva or other peoples of the Ural region.
Origin of the Finns
The national costumes of Finnish women
After the retreat of the glacier, there was a migration of people from the more southern parts of Eurasia and also from the east, from behind the Ural Mountains to the Russian plain! The two branches of migrants met and began to divide the territory. The semi-Mongoloid tribes of the Karelian and Sami people settled on the lands of what is now Su-omi. And the Finns themselves lived farther south, in the area of what is now Leningrad Oblast. Over the millennia of living in a cold climate, the Finns lost their pigmentation and became the lightest-skinned people in the world! There is a maximum concentration of light hair, eyes and skin tone here! The same processes called borealization, i.e. adaptation to the cold, led to the Finns becoming shorter in stature, by shortening their limbs, and the accumulation of fat on the face and body became increased. Because of this, the appearance of the Finn is easily recognizable: a short, stocky, lean and round-faced man, with great physical strength and an unperturbed character. This unassuming attitude toward oneself and the world, silent sacrifice and phenomenal tenacity were already noted by Roman authors! The Finn is content with very little and does not grumble against his fate, he is closed and unsociable. Of course the Slavs added their genes to the Finns’ genome, actively pushing them northwards, some more Mongoloid peoples, whom we can no longer find, but they passed on to the Finns a high percentage of Epicanthus, as well as the Samms, Swedes and Karelians. Constantly, in a thin stream, there was an influx of migrants from Siberia to the Finns, and there was intense métisation. In the end, this mixed population finally settled in swampy Finland, forgotten by everyone, almost until the 19th century!
The bottom line is that the Finns are not Indo-Europeans, although 40% of their genome is from them, they are not Asians but Native Europeans, they are not very diverse genetically, but their individual members can be extremely far apart!