Strang, Jan. Venäjän Suomi-kuva – Venäjä Suomen kartoittajana 1710–1942 View larger

STRANG, Jan. Mapping of Finland by Russia 1710–1942 (in Finnnish)


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STRANG, Jan. Venäjän Suomi-kuva – Venäjä Suomen kartoittajana 1710–1942 (Mapping of Finland by Russia 1710–1942 by Jan Strang - in Finnish). – Helsinki : Antiikki-Kirja, 2014. – Size 245x343 mm. 272 pages. 230 illustrations - mainly maps in colours. (Weight 1,8 kg).

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Mapping of Finland by Russia 1710–1942 by Jan Strang

(in Finnish)

 Summary in English

Russians started to make maps of Finland in 1710 when tsar Peter the Great conquered Viipuri (Viborg), the main fortress and the "capital" of the eastern Finland. Since then, during 300-years Russian military forces produced a large amount of maps depicting Finland. Most active period of Russian mapping of Finland was 1809–1917 when Finland was an autonomous grand duchy within the Russian empire and consequently Russian military had the lawful right to operate in the country.

Russia has been a major producer of maps of Finland. During the period from 1710 to 1917 more maps depicting Finland were printed in Russia than in the rest of the world including Sweden-Finland in 1710–1808 and autonomous Finland in 1809–1917. The end of the Russian rule in Finland in 1917 did not stop the Russian mapping activities. In 1930's and in 1940's the red army produced series of accurate topographic maps covering large parts of Finland. These activities have not ceased – the latest accurate maps (1:10 000) we know about, are from 1990's.

Of the Russian mapping efforts in Finland, the most extensive was the mapping of the whole of Finland (up to the Arctic Circle) in the scale 1:21 000 during 1809–1842 (Topographic map of the "New Finland"). The result was a series of 1534 detailed hand drawn topographic maps. This set was until 1970's the most accurate series of maps of the country. The sad thing is that this unique set of maps never profited Finland, its society or people. The maps were considered secret from the beginning and were buried in the vaults of the Russian army where they still today, 200 years later, are inaccessible to civilians.

Other important mapping projects that deserve to be mentioned were:

The first printed local maps of Finnish places and provinces from the beginning of the 18'th century (Kniga marsova maps and the Kirilov maps).

The mapping of Finland during the Swedish-Russian war in 1742, the most important result of which was the hand drawn large General map of Finland by Stepan Valujev. It was the largest and most accurate map of Finland of its time and was much better than any­thing Sweden had produced.

The printed and manuscript maps of the battle-fields of the wars in 1710–1714, 1741–1742, 1789–1791 and 1808–1809

The both printed and manuscript maps of the Russian Finland (Viipuri Province) from the 18'th century.

The topographic mapping of South-Eastern Finland in 1798–1804 in the scale 1:42 000 (Steinheils topographic map of the "Old Finland").

The first printed general maps of the autonomous Finland from the first half of the 19'th century (Pjadyšev et al.) and the large general maps of Euro­pean Russia (including Finland) from the same period (van Suchtelen, Oppermann, Schubert).

The geodetic works led by Struve, Schubert, Järnefelt and Bonsdorff in the 19th century, which gave as result the first reliable basis for the maps of the second half of the 19'th century and the first half of the 20'th century.

The (new) topographic mapping of Southern Finland in 1870–1917 in scales 1:21 000, 1:42 000 and 1:84 000.

Sea charting of the Finnish southern cost by A. Nagajev in the 18'th century and M. Reinecke and others in the 19'th century (Sea charting is out of the scope of this book. They are only shortly mentioned. Another book about Russian sea charts of Finland is planned to be published later on).


This book tells the history of maps depicting Finland made and published in Russia in the years 1710–1942. The history of maps in this context is largely also war history. Soldiers mapped during wars and to prepare themselves for wars. Even most "civilian" maps that were sold to the general public, including school-atlases, were in Russia usually produced by military authorities or persons with military background. Almost the only Russian civilian mapping activity of the period of Russian rule in Finland was the "revision mapping" of the south-eastern Finland in the last half of the 18'th century. Cadastral maps of almost every village were produced and also some geographic maps of larger regions. The work was done by Finnish surveyors under Russian administration.

This book is the first extensive research that has been done on the subject. The book includes much information not only about mapping of Finland but also about Russian map history in general – much which cannot be found in any book written in any language including Russian. The book is based on extensive research work during more than 10 years in archives and libraries in Finland, Sweden, Russia and Estonia. The book includes a bibliography of in Russia printed maps of Finland and a descriptive catalogue of the manuscript maps the author of the book has found in archives or their catalogues.

The book is a major and basic work on both Finnish and Russian map history. It is useful and in many cases indispensable source of information for them who search information about old maps of Finland and want to know what exists, where it can be found and how it should be interpreted.

 The book is written in Finnish, but the extensive map catalogues in the end of the book may be understood even by those who do not know any Finnish as: 1) All information taken from the maps themselves (titles etc.) are in the original lan­guage, whatever the language is, 2) A short explanation in English of the abbreviations and symbols used in the catalogues is provided (see <?>),
3) The main chapter titles of the map catalogues are both in Finnish and in English.