Kokkola (Swedish: Karleby formerly Gamlakarleby) is a city in Finland and the regional center of Central Ostrobothnia, located on the coast of the Gulf of Bothnia in the province of Central Ostrobothnia. Kokkola is located about 120 kilometers north of Vaasa and about 200 kilometers south of Oulu. 400 years will have passed since the establishment of Kokkola in 2020.

The neighboring municipalities of Kokkola are Halsua, Kalajoki, Kannus, Kaustinen, Kruunupyy, Lestijärvi, Luoto and Toholampi. Pietarsaari is located 37 kilometers southwest of Kokkola.

The city is home to 47,792 people (June 30, 2020), of whom 49.1 percent are men and 50.9 percent are women. The municipality is bilingual: 84.2 per cent of the inhabitants speak Finnish as their mother tongue, 13.5 per cent speak Swedish and 2.3 per cent speak other languages. Kokkola is the northernmost bilingual municipality in Finland.


Origin of the name
In the oldest Swedish-language sources, Kokkola is mentioned as Karlaby, which has been inferred to mean a village of men, peasants. Kokkola probably got its Finnish name from the narrow bay near the city, Kokkolahti, on the shore stones of which the cocoons, or sea eagles, are said to have sat. According to another theory, the name comes from a guard fire, a size that was burned when hostilities threatened.



In the case of the city of Kokkola, the sea was still flowing around the beginning of time. The present Kirkonmäki rose from the sea in the 8th century, and your small back, which later formed the village of Ristiranta and the town of Kokkola, did not separate from the Gulf of Bothnia until the 12th century. The uprising in the area still continues, and is about 88 centimeters in the century.

Already in the 14th century, the area of ​​present-day Kirkonmäki (Kaarlela) had a harbor, a market place and a wooden church. The Kokkola Chapel Parish probably originated in 1467. Kokkola resigned from Pedersöre Parish Church as an independent parishioner no later than 1489. Today, the stone church called Kaarlela Church was built in the late 15th century - probably at the same time as the Kokkola parish was founded.

Establishment of the city
Kokkola is the regional center of Central Ostrobothnia and the center of the Kokkola region. The city of Kokkola was founded by Gustav II Adolf on September 7, 1620, on the site of the village of Ristiranta on the west side of Kaarlela church hill, mainly on the lands of Sund Manor. Due to the uplift, the water connection from Kirkonmäki to the sea had already deteriorated and seemed to continue to deteriorate. The town was named Gamlakarleby at the time, and a three-flame, overturned tar barrel burned on its coat of arms. In the same year, Uusikaarlepyy (Nykarleby) was also established, which also has a three-flame but upright tar barrel on its coat of arms.

In 1664, a large fire destroyed the city, after which J. Gedda drew up a grid layout for the city. The grid layout drawn up at that time has largely survived in the area of ​​the old town to this day.

The period of great hatred associated with the Great Northern War in the first half of the 18th century caused considerable losses and losses in Kokkola, as elsewhere in Ostrobothnia. Although part of the population was able to flee to Sweden, a large part of the city’s population was killed and taken prisoner by Russian troops. At the end of the Great Fury, Kokkola, ravaged by war and plague, had only 78 inhabitants, but the city recovered rapidly, and by the turn of the 1750s, the population was already nearly a thousand.

Kokkola acquired the right to stand in 1765, which guaranteed the city the opportunity to do business directly with foreign trading houses. In practice, this meant that the Kokkola ships sailed farther and farther in the world's seas and the ship sizes grew at the same pace.

The end of the 18th century and the beginning of the 19th century were a time of prosperity in Kokkola. The city's export items included, above all, tar and shipbuilding. Ships from Kokkola were sold to Stockholm, Copenhagen and London, among others, as well as other European port cities. Tar, on the other hand, was Finland's first real world trade commodity, and in the era of sailing ships, Finland was one of the most important tar producers in the world. The Kokkola region accounted for as much as a third of Finland's total tar production.

The time of Russian rule
The transition to Russian rule knew economic growth in Kokkola. Timber, tar, butter and cheese, as well as potash, were exported. The city prospered at a rapid pace, and the Upper City, Oppistan, began to rise with handsome two-story homes for the bourgeoisie. In 1842, the Town Hall, designed by Carl Ludvig Engel, was completed on the edge of the market square, now Mannerheiminaukio. Opposite the town hall, the former Libeck Hospital was completed in 1810. The workers lived in Alakaupunki, Neristan, also known as the Old Town of Kokkola.

The heyday of shipbuilding in Kokkola dates back to the 1820s and 1830s. At that time, as many as three of the country's eight privileged ship sculptures were located in Kokkola, on the shores of Kaustarinlahti.

In the middle of the 19th century, the Crimean War broke out, also known as the "terrible" Ooland War. Kokkola's participation in that war did not remain completely modest, for in 1854 a battle was fought in Kokkola known as the Halkokari skirmish. In the skirmish, the Kokkola people repelled the English invaders, which attracted widespread attention throughout the country, all the way to Emperor Nicholas I.


1800s after the mid Kokkola's economic growth came to a halt a little. The reasons for this were e.g. new types of ships that no longer needed tar to protect. As steam engines became more common, iron-hulled ships also began to become more common. However, there was no possibility to manufacture iron-hulled ships in Kokkola, and so shipbuilding also ceased. The Saimaa Canal, which was completed at the same time, also weakened Kokkola's position as a commercial port, when the keepers of Inner Finland and Savo began sending their products along the new shipping route to the centers of the Gulf of Finland. As a result of the economic downturn, more and more Kokkola residents applied to America. The peak of migration was around the turn of the century.

The railway was brought to Kokkola in 1885. Looking at the map, it is easy to see that the Ostrobothnian Railway makes quite a bend at Kokkola. In Kokkola, it is known that when designing the railway network, Russian Emperor Alexander II remembered the Halkokari brawl and the brave Kokkola residents and rewarded them by ordering the railway to be towed through Kokkola.

Kokkola in the 20th century
The most significant event during the Finnish Civil War in Kokkola was the disarmament of the Russian garrison. White troops from neighboring municipalities also took part in the conquest of Kokkola. The Kokkola residents, who joined the Red Guard, were imprisoned at an early stage without having had time to fight. After the end of the war, business began to recover in Kokkola.

1900s most essential changes in the first half of Kokkola in Finland at the sitting of the population. Kokkola the northern and eastern side of the Finnish-speaking population of rural municipalities filed for Kokkola, who offered the newcomers work in the factories, the port and the service sectors. Language disputes were not avoided either.

The municipality of Kaarlela (Swedish: Karleby), known until 1927 as the countryside of Kokkola, was annexed to Kokkola in early 1977. Kaarlela had previously been connected to the municipality of Öja, which belonged as part of Kruunupyy until 1932, when it became an independent municipality. In connection with the association of Kokkola and Kaarlela municipalities, the Swedish name of Kokkola became Karleby. In connection with the municipal association, the population of Kokkola increased by about 50 per cent and the area by about 1,100 per cent. With the union of municipalities, a kind of circle closed: the village of Kaarlela's Ristiranta originated the city of Kokkola, to which Kaarlela was annexed more than 300 years later.

Municipal associations
The municipality of Kaarlela was annexed to Kokkola in 1977.

On 3 December 2007, the councils of Lohtaja, Kälviä and Ullava decided on a municipal association with Kokkola. The union came into force on January 1, 2009, when they formed a new city of more than 45,000 inhabitants. The name of the new city became Kokkola and the coat of arms was the current coat of arms of Kokkola. As Lohtaja, Kälviä and Ullava were all monolingual Finnish-speaking municipalities and Kokkola was bilingual (Finnish as the majority language), the percentage of Swedish-speaking residents of Kokkola decreased somewhat, but the municipality remained bilingual.