Lapland (native Sameanda), a territory in the northernmost part of Europe, is bounded on the north by the Arctic Ocean, on the south by Finland and the Swedish province of Norrland, on the east by the White Sea, and on the west by Norway. The winter is very long and severe; the summer lasts only nine weeks, but is, in consequence of the very long days, almost as hot as in Italy, and, owing to the innumerable mosquitoes, most oppressive for both man and beast. Only in the southern part of Swedish Lapland is the soil capable of cultivation; the corn is sown towards the close of May, and reaped in the middle of August, but is frequently spoiled by night-frosts. The territory is but very thinly settled, and only a part of it is now occupied by the people to which it owes its name, the southern and better portions having been gradually encroached upon by Norwegians, Swedes, and Finlanders, till the Laplanders proper have in a great measure been cooped up within the Arctic Circle. The territory is politically divided into three parts:
1. Norwegian Lapland or Finnmark, containing 27,315.70 square miles and 13,668 inhabitants, all Laplanders, or, as they are here called, Finnar.
2. Swedish Lapland, containing 49,035.17 square miles, with a population of 27,443 inhabitants, of whom only 5685 are Laplanders, and all the remainder Swedish colonists, whose number has steadily increased since 1760, when the first two Swedish families settled in the country.
3. Russian Lapland, which partly belongs to Finland and partly to the government of Archangel, and embraces Eastern Lapland, with the peninsula of Kola, also called the Lapland peninsula. The number of Laplanders in Russian Lapland had in 1852 been reduced to 2290. The native inhabitants, Laplanders or Laps, call themselves Sami or Samelads, and consider Lapland and Laplanders as terms of abuse. They are either Fjell Lappar-Finner, mountain Laplanders, who lead a nomadic life, and pasture large reindeer herds; or SkogsLappar, forest Laplanders, chiefly occupied with hunting and fishing, leaving their herds of reindeer in charge of the preceding class; or Soe-Finner, sea or shore Laplanders. who, too poor to possess such herds, have been obliged to fix their residence upon the coast, and subsist chiefly by fishing; or Sockne Lappar, parish Lappars, who hire themselves out as servants, chiefly for tending the reindeer. They are good-natured, honest, superstitious, and patriotic, and, with the exception of an inclination to drunkenness, they show neither great vices nor great virtues. The origin of the Laplanders is not yet fully cleared up, as their physical characteristics point partly to the Mongolian and partly to the Caucasian race. The prevailing opinion, however, is, that they are only a variety of Tchude or Finns. The Christianization of the Laplanders did not begin until, in 1275, a part of their territory was annexed to Sweden. For several centuries, however, no results were obtained except the introduction of Christian baptism and Christian marriage. The Norwegian part of Lapland belonged to the archbishopric of Nidaros (Drontheim); the Swedish to the archbishopric of Upsala. Gustavus I, of Sweden, in the first half of the 16th century, established the first Lappish school in the town of Pikea. Charles IX and Christina made great efforts for bringing them over to the Lutheran Church, while in Norwegian Finnark king Christian IV, of Denmark (about 1600), extirpated the remnants of paganism by force. The Christianization of this part of Lapland was completed by the zeal of bishop Eric Bredahl, of Drontheim (1643 to 1672), and his successors. At the beginning of the 18th century, Isaac Olsen, a poor man, during fourteen years, labored among the Laplanders for their Christianization, and king Frederick IV, of Denmark, in 1715 and 1717, for the same purpose, established theological seminaries in Copenhagen and Drontheim. In 1730 king Christian VI issued an order that every Laplander, before the nineteenth year of his age, must receive confirmation, from which time the parents began to bestow greater care upon the education of their children. The government appointed traveling teachers, and also several resident clergymen, who at first found their progress greatly delayed by the difficulty of mastering the Lappish language. The kings of Sweden since Frederick I (1748) worked with great zeal, but little success, for the entire conversion of the Laplanders. In the treaty of Friedrichshaven Sweden had to cede its Lappish territory to Russia, but in 1814, in the treaty of Kiel, it received another portion from Norway. The most zealous missionary who has labored among the Laplanders was pastor Stockfleth (born in 1787), who joined them in their nomadic life, and preached to them in their own language, which it cost him great efforts to learn. At present divine service is held in the Lappish, Swedish, and Finnish languages. During the summer months the Laplanders, who during this time are moving with their reindeer further into the mountains, are visited by clergymen of Southern Lapland. The Laplanders show great docility for the reception of the Christian doctrine, but their Christianity is still mixed up with many superstitious views and pagan customs. The Roman Catholic Church established in 1855 the Prefecture Apostolic of the North Pole, which embraces Lapland, the Faroe Islands, Greenland, and the northernmost part of America. The apostolic prefect resides at Tromsoe, the capital of Finnmark; another Laplandish station has been established at Altengard. See Wiggers. Kirchl. Statistik, 2:421 sq.; Neher, Kirchl. Statistik, 2:406 sq. (A.J.S.)