Finland (Finnish: Suomi [ˈsuo̯mi] (); Swedish: Finland [ˈfɪ̌nland] (), Finland Swedish: [ˈfinlɑnd]), officially the Republic of Finland (Finnish: Suomen tasavalta, Swedish: Republiken Finland ()), is a country located in the Nordic region of Europe. Bounded by the Baltic Sea to its southwest, the Gulf of Bothnia on the west, and the Gulf of Finland on the south, it shares land borders with Sweden to the west, Russia to the east, and Norway to the north. Helsinki, the capital of Finland, and Tampere are largest cities and urban areas in the whole country. Finland was first inhabited around the end of the most recent ice age, approximately around 9000 BC. The Comb Ceramic culture introduced pottery in 5200 BC and the Corded Ware culture coincided with the start of agriculture between 3000 and 2500 BC. The Bronze Age and Iron Age were characterised by extensive contacts with other cultures in Fennoscandia and the Baltic region. At the time Finland had three main cultural areas – Southwest Finland, Tavastia and Karelia. From the late 13th century, Finland gradually became an integral part of Sweden as a consequence of the Northern Crusades and the Swedish colonisation of coastal Finland, an event, the legacy of which is reflected in the prevalence of the Swedish language and its official status. In 1809, Finland was annexed by the Russian Empire as the autonomous Grand Duchy of Finland. In 1906, Finland became the first European state to grant all adult citizens the right to vote, and the first in the world to give all adult citizens the right to run for public office. Following the 1917 Russian Revolution, Finland declared itself independent from the empire. In 1918, the fledgling state was divided by the Finnish Civil War, with the Bolshevik-leaning Red Guards, supported by the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic, fighting against the White Guard, supported by the German Empire. After a brief attempt to establish a kingdom, the country became a republic. During World War II, Finland fought the Soviet Union in the Winter War and the Continuation War, and lost part of its territory, but maintained independence. Finland largely remained an agrarian country until the 1950s. After World War II, war reparations demanded by the Soviet Union, amounting to $300 million (5,449 million in 2018) forced Finland to industrialise. The country rapidly developed an advanced economy, while building an extensive welfare state based on the Nordic model, resulting in widespread prosperity and a high per capita income. Finland is a top performer in numerous metrics of national performance, including education, economic competitiveness, civil liberties, quality of life, and human development. In 2015, Finland was ranked first in the World Human Capital and the Press Freedom Index and as the most stable country in the world during 2011–2016 in the Fragile States Index, and second in the Global Gender Gap Report. It also ranked first on the World Happiness Report report for 2018, 2019 and 2020. Finland joined the United Nations in 1955 and adopted an official policy of neutrality. The Finno-Soviet Treaty of 1948 gave the Soviet Union some leverage in Finnish domestic politics during the Cold War. Finland joined the OECD in 1969, the NATO Partnership for Peace in 1994, the European Union in 1995, the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council in 1997, and the Eurozone at its inception in 1999. Finland has a population of approximately 5.5 million, making it the 25th-most populous country in Europe. The majority of its population live in the central and south of the country and speak Finnish, a Finnic language of the Uralic language family, which is unrelated to the Scandinavian languages. Swedish is the second official language of Finland, and is mainly spoken in certain coastal areas of the country and on Åland. Finland is the eighth-largest country in Europe in terms of area, and the most sparsely populated country in the European Union. It is a parliamentary republic consisting of 310 municipalities, and includes an autonomous region, the Åland Islands. Over 1.4 million people live in the Greater Helsinki metropolitan area, which produces a third of the country’s GDP. A large majority of Finns are members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church.