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

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 exception ...
Founded: ca. 1560 | 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

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

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

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

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

Porta Nigra

The Porta Nigra (Latin for black gate) is the largest Roman city gate north of the Alps. It is designated as part of the Roman Monuments, Cathedral of St. Peter and Church of Our Lady in Trier UNESCO World Heritage Site. The name Porta Nigra originated in the Middle Ages due to the darkened colour of its stone; the original Roman name has not been preserved. Locals commonly refer to the Porta Nigra simply as Porta.

The Porta Nigra was built in grey sandstone between 186 and 200 AD. The original gate consisted of two four-storied towers, projecting as near semicircles on the outer side. A narrow courtyard separated the two gate openings on either side. For unknown reasons, however, the construction of the gate remained unfinished. For example, the stones at the northern (outer) side of the gate were never abraded, and the protruding stones would have made it impossible to install movable gates. Nonetheless, the gate was used for several centuries until the end of the Roman era in Trier.

In Roman times, the Porta Nigra was part of a system of four city gates, one of which stood at each side of the roughly rectangular Roman city. The Porta Nigra guarded the northern entry to the Roman city, while the Porta Alba (White Gate) was built in the east, the Porta Media (Middle Gate) in the south, and the Porta Inclyta (Famous Gate) in the west, next to the Roman bridge across the Moselle. The gates stood at the ends of the two main streets of the Roman Trier, one of which led north-south and the other east-west. Of these gates, only the Porta Nigra still exists today.

In the early Middle Ages the Roman city gates were no longer used for their original function and their stones were taken and reused for other buildings. Also iron and lead braces were broken out of the walls of the Porta Nigra for reuse. Traces of this destruction are still clearly visible on the north side of the gate.

After 1028, the Greek monk Simeon lived as a hermit in the ruins of the Porta Nigra. After his death (1035) and sanctification, the Simeonstift monastery was built next to the Porta Nigra to honor him. Saving it from further destruction, the Porta Nigra was transformed into a church: The inner court of the gate was roofed and intermediate ceilings were inserted. The two middle storeys of the former gate were converted into church naves: the upper storey being for the monks and the lower storey for the general public. The ground floor with the large gates was sealed, and a large outside staircase was constructed alongside the south side (the town side) of the gate, up to the lower storey of the church. A small staircase led further up to the upper storey. The church rooms were accessible through former windows of the western tower of the Porta Nigra that were enlarged to become entrance doors (still visible today). The top floor of the western tower was used as church tower, the eastern tower was leveled, and an apse added at its east side. An additional gate - the much smaller Simeon Gate - was built adjacent to the East side of the Porta Nigra and served as a city gate in medieval times.

In 1802 Napoleon Bonaparte dissolved the church in the Porta Nigra and the monastery beside it, along with the vast majority of Trier"s numerous churches and monasteries. On his visit to Trier in 1804, Napoleon ordered that the Porta Nigra be converted back to its Roman form. Only the apse was kept; but the eastern tower was not rebuilt to its original height. Local legend has it that Napoleon originally wanted to completely tear down the church, but locals convinced him that the church had actually been a Gaulish festival hall before being turned into a church. Another version of the story is that they told him about its Roman origins, persuading him to convert the gate back to its original form.

In 1986 the Porta Nigra was designated a World Heritage Site, along with other Roman monuments in Trier and its surroundings. The modern appearance of the Porta Nigra goes back almost unchanged to the reconstruction ordered by Napoleon. At the south side of the Porta Nigra, remains of Roman columns line the last 100 m of the street leading to the gate. Positioned where they had stood in Roman times, they give a slight impression of the aspect of the original Roman street that was lined with colonnades. The Porta Nigra, including the upper floors, is open to visitors.