Finland officially the Republic of Finland, is a Nordic country situated in the Fennoscandian region of Northern Europe. It is bordered by Sweden to the west, Norway to the north and Russia to the east, while Estonia lies to the south across the eponymous Gulf of Finland. An estimated 5.4 million people live in Finland, with the majority concentrated in its southern regions. In terms of area, it is the eighth largest country in Europe and the most sparsely populated country in the European Union. Politically, it is a parliamentary republic with a central government based in the capital of Helsinki, local governments in 336 municipalities and an autonomous region, the Åland Islands. From the 12th until the start of the 19th century, Finland was a part of Sweden. It then became an autonomous Grand Duchy within the Russian Empire until the Russian Revolution and Russia’s withdrawal from World War I in 1917. This prompted the Finnish Declaration of Independence, which was followed by a civil war where the pro-Bolshevik “Reds” were defeated by the pro-conservative”Whites” with support from the German Empire. After a brief attempt to establish a monarchy in the country, Finland became the republic that it remains today.