The Aland Islands were inhabited as early as 4200 BCE. By 900 CE, the islands became more populated and traded with far away cultures such as the Arabs. The Vikings resided on the Aland Islands. Later, the nations of Denmark, Sweden, and Russia fought for control of them. In 1809, Russia gained control of the islands and built a fortress at Bomarsund. After the Crimean War, the islands were demilitarised.
During the Finnish Civil War, Swedish soldiers came to the island as a peacekeeping force. Some historians believed this was an excuse to occupy and claim the islands. Either way, the Swedes were kicked out by the Germans, who supported the conservative Finns during the Finnish Civil War.
By 1917, a majority of the residents of the Aland Islands wished to join Sweden. The Finnish government was against it and tensions rose with Sweden. Finland was already dealing with problems with the neighboring USSR and submitted the dispute to the League of Nations. The treaty declared Finland could still control the islands, but they would be granted autonomy and be demilitarized.
The residents of the island came to accept Finnish rule since they felt their motherland, Sweden, wasn't helping them fully. The Aland Islands enjoyed neutrality in World War II and helped both the Axis and Allies.
Since the demitilarization in 1921, the islands have been very peaceful and the islanders have been described as kind and friendly to visitors.