Finns constitute more than 93 percent of the population and persons
of Swedish descent about 6 percent. The far north is inhabited by
about 2500 Saami; other minority groups make up less than 1 percent.
Though the size of the Swedish minority is declining, Swedes in
Finland have their own political party, some of their own schools,
and other separate institutions. Some 63 percent of the population
Finnish Language, one of the Finno-Ugric languages, spoken by people
in Finland. Since 1809 it has been an official language (along with
Swedish) of Finland and (with Karelian) of the republic of Karelia
in Russia. Closely related to Estonian, Finnish is more distantly
related to Saami and to Hungarian. These form a subgroup of the
family of Uralic languages.
Written records of Finnish date from the 16th century, when the
New Testament was translated. The publication in 1835 of Elias Lφnnrot's
folk epic the Kalevala fueled the nationalist movement, which called
for Finnish to replace Swedish as the official language of the government
and the educated classes.