Although Finland is a part of the northeastern European continent and lies over 1,000 nautical miles from the Atlantic, its economy has depended on maritime contacts for several centuries. In the 1920s and 1930s Finland became widely known as the last resort of the windjammers, but it has a far longer and more interesting shipping history than might be expected at a glance on the map. Until the 18th century, Finland like most Baltic "backwoods", was nothing more than a supplier of forestry produce for the western and more developed regions of Europe. Even its maritime trade and shipping were in the hands of economically more powerful neighbours. During the late 18th and 19th centuries, however, Finland was able to develop an impressive shipping network. Not only did Finnish shipping vessels carry their tar and timber beyond the Sound but they even sailed on the Mediterranean and the Atlantic - and later all over the world in international "cross-trade".
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