Grand Duke of Finland

Grand Duke of Finland, or more correctly translated: Grand Prince of Finland ( _sv. Storfurste av Finland, _fi. Suomen suuriruhtinas) was from around 1580 to 1809 a title of the in use by most Swedish monarchs. Between 1809 and 1917, it was the official title of the head of the autonomous Grand Principality of Finland, who was the Emperor of Russia. The anachronistic female form of the title in English is usually "Grand Princess of Finland" ( _sv. Storfurstinna av Finland). The only women to have used the title were the Swedish Queens regnant Christina and Ulrika Eleonora. A few crown princes of Sweden also were called "grand prince of Finland" or more often "grand duke of Finland" _sv. Storhertig av Finland, _fi. Suomen suurherttua).

wedish era

Around 1580, King John III of Sweden, who had previously (1556–63) been the Duke of Finland (a royal duke), assumed the subsidiary title "Grand Prince (Grand Duke) of Finland" ( _sv. Storfurste, _fi. Soumen suuriruhtinas) to the the titles of the King of Sweden, first appearing is sources in 1581 (though first used by John III 1577). [ [ Nordisk Familjebok] , [ Virtual Finland] ] In those years, John was and had been in quarrel with his eastern neighbor, Tsar Ivan IV of Russia, who had a litany of subsidiary titles as Grand Prince of several ancient Russian principalities and provinces. The use of Grand Prince on John's behalf was a countermeasure to signify his mighty position as sovereign of Sweden, also a multinational or multi-country realm, and equal to a Tsardom. Not only was Finland added, but Karelia, Ingria, and Livonia that all were along the Swedish-Russian border. It is said that the first use of the new title was in an occasion to contact Tsar Ivan.

During the next 140 years, the title was used by John's successors on the throne, with the exception of Charles IX who listed Finns as one of the many nations over which he was the king during 1607-1611. [ [ Titles of European hereditary rulers, here Sweden] .] As the title had only subsidiary nature without any concrete meaning, it was mainly used at very formal occasions along with a long list of additional royal titles. The last Swedish monarch to use the title was Ulrika Eleonora who abdicated in 1720. However, in 1802, King Gustav IV Adolf gave the title to his new-born son, Prince Carl Gustaf, who died three years later.

Russian era

During the Finnish War between Sweden and Russia, the four Estates of occupied Finland were assembled at the Diet of Porvoo on March 29, 1809 to pledge allegiance to Alexander I of Russia, who had already earlier during the war adopted the Grand Duke of Finland to his long litany of titles. Following the Swedish defeat in the war and the signing of the Treaty of Fredrikshamn on September 17, 1809, Finland became a true autonomous Grand Duchy of Finland as a part of the Russian Empire.

The Emperor ruled Finland through his governor and a native Senate appointed by him. The country nevertheless enjoyed a high degree of , until its independence in 1917. Finland was declared an independent republic, but after the Civil War, there was a brief attempt for the monarchy.

tatus today

Today, there are no pretenders to the title of the Grand Duke of Finland and it remains fully unused.


See also

*Governor-General of Finland
*List of Finnish rulers
*History of Finland
*Dukes of Swedish Provinces
*Anjala conspiracy
*Monarchy of Finland

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