Lapland Intro & History
It’s widely believed that Lapland was first inhabited after the Scandinavian ice caps began to melt around 7000 years ago. The Sami people were among the first natives of the region and rock carvings from thousands of years ago show age old practices like reindeer herding which continue today. Like many history lessons, wars and disputes have had massive impact on the land and its people. When it comes to actual historical sites, there isn’t too much to actually see – the events below will explain why.
With its natives making use of natural resources from fish to fur, Lapland began to fruitfully develop over the middle ages, catching the eye of the more powerful countries as it overlapped several borders. Already there were stirrings of rivalry between
Denmark-Norway and Sweden-Finland. In the 16th century, when trade and progress began to slow, Sweden tried to up its control over the northern areas. This, combined with further skirmishes with Denmark, resulted in the Knared peace agreement of 1613 where Sweden actually lost its control over Lapland.
Skip forward to 1808 when Sweden had political influence over Finland. Tsar Alexander I sent troops to challenge Swiss points in Finland, pushing them back. The Fredrikshamn was soon signed in 1809, giving Swedish control of Finland over to the Tsar and detailing a new border between Sweden and Finland that still stands today. The economic conditions continued to decline and the Sami people experienced quite a bit of collateral damage after this. As the Finns moved to more prosperous places, they started clearing large areas of forest, destroying the land the Sami used for their reindeer.