The powerful history of the city of Tornio

Since the last Ice Age, the Tornio River Valley has been inhabited in a continuum. As the population migrated to live by the three main rivers in the region, the Europeans found the North and its desirable products of nature as well; the salmon, the hides, and furs of reindeer and other animals in Lapland, which, eventually were brought to the Tsar of Russia as well.

The city of Tornio, founded on the orders of King Gustav II Adolf of Sweden in 1621, became the northernmost city in the whole world at the time. After the Finnish war in 1808, when Finland became the true autonomous Duchy of the Russian Empire, the center of Tornio was to be part of Russia as well, and the Swedes, thus, established the township of Haparanda (nowadays the town of Haparanda) on the western side of the border.

The golden years of log floating

Since the 1890’s log floating has strongly characterized the life in the Sea Lapland region. Timber was transported from Lapland along the rivers to the sawmills in Kemi and Tornio. Workers to the logging sites and to the log floating in Lapland arrived from all over Finland.

Work on the logging sites was done in the winter, from November to March. As the spring floods arrived, the logs were floated along the Kemi- and Tornio Rivers through, in all and all, the over 7000 km long log-floating lanes. Log floating came to its end in 1991; a historical monument erected in the honor of the golden days and several buildings related to the business, are still to be seen in the area.

Steel and paper

Kemi Oy (Ltd), the very first paper mill in North of Finland was established in 1893, helping the region to quickly turn into one of the most important centres of wood processing industry in all of Finland. The second paper mill Veitsiluoto Oy (Ltd) was established in 1932. Nowadays the mills are known as the Metsä Group Oyj (Corp) and the Stora Enso Oyj (Corp).

The ferrochrome factory in Tornio and the chrome mine in Kemi were established for the refinement of stainless steel in 1960. Nowadays the factory is known as the Outokumpu Chrome Oyj (Corp).

The industry, developed and refined from the natural resources of Lapland, alongside with the many-sided cultural history in the region, is the basis for the wealth and well-being of the people in Sea Lapland.