Karelia (Karelian, Finnish and Estonian: Karjala; Russian: Карелия, Kareliya; Swedish: Karelen), the land of the Karelian peoples, is an area in Northern Europe of historical significance for Finland, Russia, and Sweden. It is currently divided among the Russian Republic of Karelia, the Russian Leningrad Oblast, and Finland (the regions of South Karelia and North Karelia).
Various subdivisions may be called Karelia. Finnish Karelia was an historical province of Finland, and is now divided between Finland and Russia, often called just Karjala in Finnish. The eastern part of this chiefly Lutheran area was ceded to Russia after the Winter War of 1939–40.
The Republic of Karelia is a Russian federal subject, including the so-called East Karelia with a chiefly Russian Orthodox population.
Within present-day Finland, Karjala refers to the regions of South and North Karelia, although parts of historical Karelia also lies within the region of Kymenlaakso (Miehikkälä and Virolahti), Northern Savonia (Kaavi, Rautavaara and Säyneinen) and Southern Savonia (Mäntyharju).
Karelia stretches from the White Sea coast to the Gulf of Finland. It contains the two largest lakes in Europe, Lake Ladoga and Lake Onega. The Karelian Isthmus is located between the Gulf of Finland and Lake Ladoga.