The only ethnic regional autonomy in the Republic of Finland. It is located on the archipelago at the entrance to the Gulf of Bothnia in the Baltic Sea, between Sweden and Finland. It was established after the collapse of the Russian Empire and the independence of Finland. Following the political crisis of 1917-1921 on the issue of nationality and the status of the islands (the so-called Åland crisis), a special autonomous status for the island was confirmed by the decision of the League of Nations in 1921.
It is populated mainly by Swedes (92% of the population, Finns constitute 5%). Sweden can be regarded as a kin-state to the Åland Islands not only because of ethnic commonalities but also due to historical links.
The Åland Islands are the smallest region of Finland, accounting for 0.49% of its territory and 0.50% of the population. It is characterized by a high standard of living and a stable democratic regime, which are typical of the country as a whole. Unlike the rest of Finland, the autonomy is a completely demilitarized territory.
The only official language of autonomy is Swedish, despite the fact that Finnish-Swedish bilingualism is legally enshrined throughout the rest of Finland.