Helsinki became the capital of Finland in 1810, and its population rapidly increased from 4,000 in 1810 to 60,000 by 1890. Finland declared independence from Russia in December 1917, leading to a short and bloody civil war between conservative government troops (known as the Whites) and leftist rebel units (known as the Reds). Helsinki’s parliament elected Finland’s first president in 1919, stabilizing conditions. Over the next four decades, Helsinki developed into an important center of trade, industry, and culture, a process only interrupted by World War II.
Below are some fascinating colorized photos of Helsinki from the early 20th Century.