Salla (until 1936 Kuolajärvi) is a Finnish municipality located
in the eastern part of Lapland. The municipality is home to 3,403
people and covers an area of 5,872.68 km2, of which 142.76 km2 are
water bodies. The population density is 0.59 inhabitants / km2.
The neighboring municipalities of Salla are Kemijärvi, Kuusamo, Pelkosenniemi, Posio and Savukoski.
Lake Kuolajärvi was a fur area. There were 19
settlements there in 1555. After the Great Northern War, the new
settlement expanded. Kuolajärvi belonged to Kemijärvi from 1776,
although it had previously belonged to Kuusamo. Due to difficult and
long connections, the people of Kola Lake built their own chapel in
1828 and applied for the right to a chapel congregation under
Kemijärvi in 1824, which was confirmed in 1857. This beginning of
the independent parish is considered to be the year the municipality
The forest industry and the support industry brought the idea of socialism to Lake Kuolajärvi, and there were 1906 log workers' strikes in the locality. The Muurmanni railway improved Russia's north-south connections, which made Lake Kuolajärvi a route for transporting munitions to Russia. In 1922, a so-called fat rebellion organized by the Finnish communists who moved to the Soviet Union took place in Lake Kuolajärvi.
The name of the municipality was changed to Salla in 1936. The population increased so that in 1860 the population of 1,479 increased almost tenfold in a hundred years: in 1964 the population was 10,389.
During the 1930s, so-called "car smelters" were made in Salla, because there were large and good quality forests on the east side of the watershed. From Savoto, logs were driven by trucks along the streams belonging to the Kemijoki watershed, from where they were still floated.
In the peace of Moscow that ended the Winter War in 1940, the majority of the former Salla area remained in Finland, but the large eastern part (Old Salla) moved to the areas ceded to the Soviet Union. Some of the people from Salawa who were left homeless were settled in the area of the municipality that continued its activities, where the village of Märkäjärvi became a new municipal center and a church village. Kursu, which had not been burned by the Germans, but Märkäjärvi is located in the middle of the municipality, was also considered a center.
The municipality experienced a strong period of growth until the end of the 1960s, until which time the population grew and the birth rate was in a class of its own. After that, a major migration began, mostly to Sweden. In 1966, more than 11,000 people lived in the municipality. During the years of the most intense migration, many villages lost up to half of their inhabitants and the population of the municipality fell sharply, almost halving within a few years. In many villages, the population halved in a few years. The population of the municipality has declined year after year since then. The second wave of great migration came in the 1990s, when the population also continued its sharp decline. It is noteworthy that, for example, the population of Kemijärvi has been on the rise in some years since the time of the great migration.