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Related to Lapland: Sami people


(lăp`lănd'), Finn. Lappi, Nor. Lapland, Swed. Lappland, vast region of N Europe, largely within the Arctic Circle. It includes the Norwegian provinces of Finnmark and Troms and part of Nordland; the Swedish historic province of Lappland; N Finland; and the Kola Peninsula of Russia. Swedish Lappland is now included in Norrbotten and Västerbotten counties.

Lapland is mountainous in N Norway and Sweden, reaching its highest point (6,879 ft/2,097 m) in Kebnekaise (Sweden), and consists largely of tundra in the northeast. There are also extensive forests and many lakes and rivers. The climate is arctic and the vegetation is generally sparse, except in the forested southern zone. Lapland is very rich in mineral resources, particularly in high-grade iron ore at Gällivare and Kiruna (Sweden), in copper at Sulitjelma (Norway), and in nickel and apatite in Russia. Kirkenes and Narvik (both in Norway) are the chief maritime outlets for Scandinavian Lapland, and Murmansk is the port for Russian Lapland. The region abounds in sea and river fisheries and in aquatic and land fowl. Reindeer are essential to the economy; there is a growing tourist industry in the region.

The Sami, formerly known as Lapps or Laplanders, who constitute the indigenous population, number from about 80,000 to 100,000. The largest concentration of Sami are found in Norway (about 50,000), where formerly they were called Finns (hence the province name Finnmark). Sami institutions in Norway include a parliament (est. 1989) in Karasjok, which advises the federal parliament on Sami concerns, and the anthropological Nordic Sami Institute in Kautokeino. There are also Sami parliaments in Sweden and Finland, and the international Sami Council works to protect the rights of Sami throughout Lapland. The Sami speak a Finno-Ugric language, also called Sami and divided into three broad regional dialects, but only about 30,000 are Sami speakers. The Sami once led a largely nomadic life, but now only about a tenth raise and follow the reindeer herds, wintering in the lowlands and summering in the western mountains. Their movements today are more restricted than in former times. Other Sami are sea and river fishermen and hunters or work in other fields.

Little is known of their early history, and they have proved to have no genetic resemblance to any other peoples. It is believed that they came from central Asia and were pushed to the northern extremity of Europe by the migrations of the Finns, Goths, and Slavs. They may have assumed their Finnic language in the last millennium B.C. Though mainly conquered by Sweden and Norway in the Middle Ages, the Sami long resisted Christianization, which was completed only in the 18th cent. by Russian and Scandinavian missionaries, and elements of their traditional shamanism survived despite being banned.


See V. Stalder, Lapland (1971) and N.-A. Valkeapaa, Greetings from Lappland: The Sami—Europe's Forgotten People (1983).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a region in northern Norway, Sweden, and Finland and the western part of Murmansk Oblast, USSR, north of 64°-66° N lat. It is the basic area of settlement of the Saam or Lapps.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


northern region of Scandinavian peninsula, mostly within Arctic Circle. [Geography: Misc.]
Allusions—Cultural, Literary, Biblical, and Historical: A Thematic Dictionary. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


an extensive region of N Europe, mainly within the Arctic Circle: consists of the N parts of Norway, Sweden, Finland, and the Kola Peninsula of the extreme NW of Russia
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
It would have been easy to spend all my time in Lapland enjoying the natural attractions.
This year, they're really pulling the stops out and going to Lapland on a package tour that will take in huskies and reindeers, hopefully a sighting of the northern lights, and a definite trip to Santa's Grotto.
Call Esprit Santa's Lapland 01252 618300 or visit and quote 'Mirror Offer' for more details BEFORE 25 NOVEMBER
Price includes: - Return flight from Manchester to Rovaniemi & airport taxes - Hot buffet lunch, airport transfers and use of thermal clothing - The chance to meet Santa Claus - Participation in all activities offered including snowmobiles, toboggan rides, reindeer drawn sleigh rides, husky dog drives and walks in the snowy woods Please note: due to the cold temperatures in the Arctic Circle, travel to Lapland is not advised for any children under 3 years old.
Included in the price: n Return flights from Manchester to Rovaniemi n Coach travel in Lapland n Snowmobile and toboggan rides n A husky dog drive and forest scooter driving n Ride through the magical winter forest on a sleigh drawn by reindeer n Chance to meet Father Christmas n Use of Thermal clothing n Hot buffet lunch n Airport taxes and VAT n Please note due to the cold temperatures in the Arctic Circle, travel to Lapland is not advised for any children under 3 years.
Esprit Holidays offers holidays of 1 - 5 days duration to Rovaniemi and Saariselka in Finnish Lapland, from Manchester, Bristol, London and Birmingham, inclusive of a family snowmobile sleigh ride and private meeting with Santa, a husky dog ride, a reindeer sleigh ride and outdoor thermal wear.
Currently, 43% of Forest Lapland's forests are strictly protected.
Police called to deal with angry passengers after Santa day trip cancelled: Reindeer rage broke out at Cardiff International Airport yesterday as a day trip to Lapland was cancelled at the last minute.
In Lapland, they will be taken by reindeer-pulled sled to Father Christmas' secret hideaway.
Says Barbara Kurau at Cosmos: 'Bookings for our Finnish Lapland programme are 100 per cent up year on year with departures from Manchester out performing both Gatwick and Birmingham.
Lapland is a winter wonderland, with snow covered landscapes and breathtaking scenery.