The Swedish people belong to the Scandinavian branch, but the population includes in the north about 20,000 Finns and 7000 Lapps.
The Ehsts, who resemble the Finns of Tavastland, have maintained their ethnic features, their customs, national traditions, songs and poetry, and their harmonious language.
The earliest data which may be regarded as established belong to the 1st century, when the Finns migrated from the N.
The bulk of the population are Finns (2,352,990 in 1904) and Swedes (349,733).
It is used at present in two senses: (a) Quite loosely to designate any of the Ural-Altaic tribes, except perhaps Osmanlis, Finns and Magyars, to whom it is not generally applied.
The Finns are morally upright, hospitable, faithful and submissive, with a keen sense of personal freedom and independence, but also somewhat stolid, revengeful and indolent.
According to Diiben the name first occurs in the 13th century - in the Fundinn Noregr, composed about 1200, in Saxo Grammaticus, and in a papal bull of date 1230; but the people are probably to be identified with those Finns of Tacitus whom he describes as wild hunters with skins for clothing and rude huts as only means of shelter, and certainly with the Skrithiphinoi of Procopius (Goth.
The Finns consist principally of Mordvinians (18,500), Ostiaks (20,000) and Voguls (5000).
Like Persephone when carried to Hades, or WainamoInen in the Hades of the Finns (Manala), a living human being must not eat in fairyland; if he does, he dwells there for ever.
The Esths, Ehsts or Esthonians, who call themselves Tallopoeg and Maamees, are known to the Russians as Chukhni or Chukhontsi, to the Letts as Iggauni, and to the Finns as Virolaiset.