Finnish folklorist, linguist and physician. Circuit doctor in Kajaani (1833-1853), professor of Finnish language at Helsinki (1853-1862). Born 1802, died 1894.
On the basis of folk poetry, collected on his extensive treks across Finland, Lönnrot created the Finnish national epic, Kalevala (1835/1849) and the collection of poems titled Kanteletar (1840-1841). From 1867 to 1880, he produced the monumental Finsk-svensk ordbok (Finnish-Swedish Dictionary).
With his seminal contributions, Lönnrot provided considerable impetus to the formation of a true Finnish national identity and laid the groundwork for the grammar and orthography of the modern Finnish language.
Along with Johan Vilhelm Snellman, Johan Ludvig Runeberg and Zacharias Topelius, Elias Lönnrot may reasonably be considered one of the authors of the modern Finnish nation.