Finnish (suomi) is a Finno-Ugric language spoken by about 5 million people in Finland, Sweden, Norway, Estonia, Canada and Russia.
Finnish started to appear in writing during the 16th century. The first piece of Finnish literature was a translation of the New Testament by Michael Agricola which was published in 1548.
Until 1809 Finland was a part of Sweden and Swedish was the official language. From 1863 the Finnish language could be used along with Swedish when dealing with authorities. Civil servants were obliged to use the Finnish language and issue documents in Finnish from 1883. In 1892 Finnish became an official language and gained a status comparable to that of Swedish. Today Finland is officially bilingual in Finnish and Swedish.