Finland was part of the Swedish kingdom for some 650 years until Russia conquered it in 1809. It achieved independence in 1917, but Swedish rule had left a notable Swedish minority, and the country is bilingual even today. In 1939 the Soviet Union attacked Finland, but it was forced to retreat in 1940 and the Moscow peace treaty was signed. In 1941 Finland counterconquered some of the lost areas in Karjala. The Soviet
Union attacked Finland again in 1944 regaining Karjala, including Vyborg, and giving Finland its present borders.
After World War II, Finland owed heavy war reparations. The nation could not have managed to deal with them without radical changes to ts social and economic
structure. Finland undertook deep reforms, transforming itself from an agricultural society into an industrialized nation with a strong social government. Urbanization
inreased significantly with the capital, Helsinki, swelling tremendously. Finland maintained good relations with the Soviet Union from the end of the war until the collapse of Soviet Union in 1991. In the 1990s Finland's economy began to shift from an industrial base to an emphasis on information technology, producing some widely recognized brands such as Nokia. The pace of urbanization has increased again after the quiet years of the 1980s and early 1990s, concentrating people mostly in southern Finland around the capital area.