Reformation

History of Finland between 1527 - 1610

In 1521 the Kalmar Union collapsed and Gustav Vasa became the King of Sweden. During his rule, the Swedish church was reformed (1527). The state administration underwent extensive reforms and development too, giving it a much stronger grip on the life of local communities – and ability to collect higher taxes. Following the policies of the Reformation, in 1551 Mikael Agricola, bishop of Turku, published his translation of the New Testament into the Finnish language. In 1550 Helsinki was founded by Gustav Vasa under the name of Helsingfors, but remained little more than a fishing village for more than two centuries.

Gustav Vasa tomb
Gustav Vasa Tomb
in Uppsala Cathedral

King Gustav Vasa died in 1560 and his crown was passed to his three sons in separate turns. King Erik XIV started an era of expansion when the Swedish crown took the city of Tallinn in Estonia under its protection in 1561. The Livonian War was the beginning of a warlike era which lasted for 160 years. In the first phase, Sweden fought for the lordship of Estonia and Latvia against Denmark, Poland and Russia. The common people of Finland suffered because of drafts, high taxes, and abuse by military personnel. This resulted in the Cudgel War of 1596–97, a desperate peasant rebellion, which was suppressed brutally and bloodily. A peace treaty (the Treaty of Teusina) with Russia in 1595 moved the border of Finland further to the east and north, very roughly where the modern border lies.

An important part of the 16th century history of Finland was growth of the area settled by the farming population. The crown encouraged farmers from the province of Savonia to settle the vast wilderness regions in Middle Finland. This was done, and the original Sami population often had to leave. Some of the wilderness settled was traditional hunting and fishing territory of Karelian hunters. During the 1580s, this resulted in a bloody guerrilla warfare between the Finnish settlers and Karelians in some regions, especially in Ostrobothnia.

References: Wikipedia

Popular sites founded between 1527 and 1610 in Finland

Oulu Castle

Oulu castle ("Uleåborg") was built in 1590 for a stronghold to Swedish soldiers on their way to fight against Russian Karelia. The castle was mostly made of wood and earth walls. There probably was an earlier medieval castle on the same location. The Russian Sophia Chronicle has recorded that men from Novgorod tried to conquer a new castle in the Oulu River delta in 1377 but were unsuccessful. King of Sweden, Charle ...
Founded: 1590 | Location: Oulu, Finland

Kajaani Castle

The Kajaani Castle was built on the Ämmäkoski island of the Kajaani river in the 17th century. The castle functioned as a administrative centre, a prison, and a military strongpoint. The most famous prisoner in the castle was the historian Johannes Messenius, who was forced to live in the poor conditions of the castle from 1616 to 1635. Construction of the Kajaani castle began in 1604 and was completed in 1619. ...
Founded: 1604-1619 | Location: Kajaani, Finland

Närpiö Church

The church of Närpes was originally built around 1550-1555, but it has been expanded several times during the 17th and 18th centuries. The church itself, surrounding magazines and stables creates an unique historical milieu in Finland.
Founded: 1550-1555 | Location: Närpiö, Finland

Suitia Manor

The first record of Suitia (Svidja) is from the year 1420. First known owner was Björn Ragvaldsson, the judge in the Raasepori. After him Fleming family started to use Suitia as their secondary residence. The third owner, Erik Fleming was a remarkable Councilor of State of Sweden. He fought succesfully against Danish army and drove them away from Finland in 1523. After the war Erik Fleming lived in Suitia and extende ...
Founded: 1550 | Location: Siuntio, Finland

The Church of St. Michael

The eastern part of Tammela Church was build c. 1530-1550 (narrow part in the foreground), western part and the tower in 1780s (completed in 1785). Today the church is well preserved and historically remarkable sample of the post-medieval architecture. The hall is the second longest (54m) in Finnish churches. There are lot of old wooden sculptures inside the church sanctified to several Catholic saints and also an old s ...
Founded: 1530-1540 | Location: Tammela, Finland

Orivirran Saarto

Orivirran saarto is a ruin of the 16th century fortress. It was built probably in 1540's, because in 1546 Russians complained about Swedish cutting forest and gathering stones in Orivirta. There were probably a main castle, outer fortication, watchtower and dock. During 16th century it was garrisoned by 400-600 men and 5-10 cannons.In 1592 Russian cossacks destroyed the fortress. In a fight over 200 men were died and ...
Founded: 1540 | Location: Savonlinna, Finland

Sjundby Manor

The history of the Sjundby manor castle dates back to year 1417. The present main building was built in the 1560’s by Jakob Henriksson. It was made of grey stone and had also a defensive purpose. Sjundby has been a residence for several noble families. The most well-known owner was Sigfrid Wasa, the daugher of the king Eric XIV. After her Adlercreutz family had owned Sjundby over 300 years to the present. Only excep ...
Founded: ca. 1560 | Location: Siuntio, Finland

Kankainen Manor

Earliest record of the manor in Kankainen dates back to 1346, when there were at least two buildings in the village. First manor was built in the 15th century by Klaus Lydekesson Diekn, the commander of Turku castle. Next owners were the famous noble family Horn, who built the present stone manor castle in the mid-16th century.The third floor was removed during the renovation in 1762-1763 and rebuilt again in 1935. In the ...
Founded: ca. 1550 | Location: Masku, Finland

Järppilä Manor

Järppilä manor was first mentioned in the 1480s. Bertil Ivarsson Grön acquired Järppilä in 1567 and since him the chain of manor owners is uninterrupted. The manor has been owned by famous Horn and Fleming noble families. The original main building was a three-storey manor-castle built in the 1570s. It was destroyed in the was between Duke Charles and King of Sweden Sigismund (1597–1599). T ...
Founded: 1570s | Location: Taivassalo, Finland

Kurjenpolvi Cemetery

The Kurjenpolvi cemetery served as burial ground, at least in the 1600s and 1700s. Both Sámi people and people of southern origin were laid to rest here, by the banks of the mighty River Ounasjoki. The ancient burial structures made of timber are still visible as depressions, reminding us of previous generations stretching back into the past.
Founded: 17th century | Location: Kittilä, Finland

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Eketorp Fort

Eketorp is an Iron Age fort in southeastern Öland, which was extensively reconstructed and enlarged in the Middle Ages. Throughout the ages the fortification has served a variety of somewhat differing uses: from defensive ringfort, to medieval safe haven and thence a cavalry garrison. In the 20th century it was further reconstructed to become a heavily visited tourist site and a location for re-enactment of medieval battles. Eketorp is the only one of the 19 known prehistoric fortifications on Öland that has been completely excavated, yielding a total of over 24,000 individual artifacts. The entirety of southern Öland has been designated as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. The Eketorp fortification is often referred to as Eketorp Castle.

The indigenous peoples of the Iron Age constructed the original fortification about 400 AD, a period known to have engendered contact between Öland natives with Romans and other Europeans. The ringfort in that era is thought to have been a gathering place for religious ceremonies and also a place of refuge for the local agricultural community when an outside enemy appeared. The circular design was believed to be chosen because the terrain is so level that attack from any side was equally likely. The original diameter of this circular stone fortification was about 57 metres. In the next century the stone was moved outward to construct a new circular structure of about 80 metres in diameter. At this juncture there were known to be about fifty individual cells or small structures within the fort as a whole. Some of these cells were in the center of the fortified ring, and some were actually built into the wall itself.

In the late 600s AD the ringfort was mysteriously abandoned, and it remained unused until the early 11th century. This 11th century work generally built upon the earlier fort, except that stone interior cells were replaced with timber structures, and a second outer defensive wall was erected.

Presently the fort is used as a tourist site for visitors to Öland to experience a medieval fortification for this region. A museum within the castle walls displays a few of the large number of artefacts retrieved by the National Heritage Board during the major decade long excavation ending in 1974. Inside the fort visitors are greeted by actors in medieval costumes who assume the roles of period artisans and merchants who might have lived there nine centuries earlier. There are also re-enactment scenes of skirmishes and other dramatic events of daily life from the Middle Ages.

Eketorp lies a few kilometers west of Route 136. There is an ample unpaved parking area situated approximately two kilometers west of the paved Öland perimeter highway. There is also a gift shop on site. During peak summer visitation, there are guided tours available. Visitors are assessed an admission charge.