Ranua is a Finnish municipality located in the southern part of Lapland, on the upper and middle reaches of the Simojoki River, south of Rovaniemi. The municipality has a population of 3,743 and an area of 3,694.79 km2, of which 241.18 km2 are water bodies. The population density is 1.08 inhabitants / km2.

Ranua's neighboring municipalities are Ii in the southwest, Simo and Tervola in the west, Rovaniemi in the north, Posio in the east and Pudasjärvi in the south. Ranua is bordered on the south by the province of Northern Ostrobothnia.



The first people arrived in the Ranua region as early as the Stone Age. The first inhabitants of the area were the Sámi, who by the turn of the 17th century had to withdraw from the path of Finnish wilderness visitors from the south. The wilderness of the southern part of Ranua, in the Siuruanjoki watershed, was occupied by the Iilians, and the chemists and Simos ruled the Simojoki area. For a long time, the borders of the regions were the subject of central disputes among wilderness visitors.

The wilderness visit gave impetus to the emergence of permanent settlement. However, settlement progress was slow - in the 17th century, the only inhabited area of ​​Ranua was probably the Kuha village area east of Lake Ranuanjärvi. It was not until the 19th century that the population began to grow in earnest. In 1910, Ranua had a population of about 1,700. Until the beginning of the 20th century, the livelihoods of the area's inhabitants were based on agriculture and animal husbandry, as well as hunting and fishing.

The Ranua area was divided parishly into three municipalities: Pudasjärvi, Simo and Rovaniemi. Long church trips led residents to fully support the establishment of their own congregation. However, the project progressed smoothly, as there were ambiguities e.g. in determining the place of the church and the territorial extent of the parish. Ranua Parish was finally founded in 1899, Ranua Church was built in 1911–1914.

The municipality of Ranua was founded in 1917. Ranua was connected to the areas mostly from Lake Pudasjärvi, but also from Simo and Rovaniemi. In the years following the municipality's independence, deforestation and floating provided plenty of work, and the municipality's population grew rapidly. In 1920, the population was almost 2,900.

Due to the tight financial situation, the development of the school system was slow. The municipality of Simon founded the first primary school in Ranua in the village of Saukkojärvi in ​​1894. Two years later, the municipality of Pudasjärvi established its own school in the church village of Ranua. The first primary school founded by the municipality of Ranua started in the village of Ylimaa in 1930.

In the years 1944–1945, the Lapland War caused extensive damage in Ranua, when fierce battles were fought in the area between Finns and Germans. The population had to be evacuated. Following the devastation of the war, extensive reconstruction had to begin in Ranua.

After the war, Ranua's population grew steadily. By 1947, the population was already approaching 4,800; 20 years later, in 1967, the limit of 7,000 inhabitants was already exceeded. Thereafter, the population began to decline as urbanization caused by the change in the economic structure began.