The Early Stages A Town Is Born The Old Port Ykspihlaja Emerges Developing into a Major Port Home Ykspihlaja in old photographs To the web site of the port The history of the year by year suomeksi på svenska


The history of the Port is always also a tale the relationship between people and nature. At a time when man did not have an advanced technology at his disposal, nature considerably determined his movements at sea.

The pronounced uplift in the area of Kokkola has had an enormous impact on the development of the settlement in the area and the means of livelihood, and not least on shipping. As the water has withdrawn further away the people has been forced to follow suit. And this has meant that their port has moved, too.

About 1200 to 1620
Permanent settlement sprang up. Settlers from Sweden laid the foundations of the yeomen's trade navigation. In Stockholm the products from Ostrobothnia, such as fish and furs, were exchanged for grain an salt. The government tried to impose limitations on the yeomen's trade shipping. In spite of this an "illegal" port also sprang up in a sheltered bay in the neighbourhood of the church of Karleby.

About 1620 to 1730
As a consequence of the tar burning and ship building industries the economical importance of Ostrobothnia grew considerably and the Government founded new towns in order to the concentrate the trading activities. The harbour of Kirkonmäki being already too shallow, Kokkola was founded in 1620 on a small ridge at the mouth of the bay. The ships were loaded in the harbour located in the immediate vicinity of the market square. Kokkola became one of the most important tar ports of the realm.

About 1730 to 1885
The golden age of shipping in Kokkola began in 1765 when the town was granted shipping rights to foreign countries. As the town strait had grown shallower the harbour moved to the new location off Halkokari. The ships were loaded in the roads, and the goods were transported into town by barge. The area was also an important site for shipbuilding.
About 1760 to 1885
The sheltered bay of Ykspihlaja was already used as a winter port in the 18th century. As the old harbour grew shallower Ykspihlaja also became a loading and shipbuilding site. In the eighteen-sixties the first common quay was constructed, and the merchants started to build their villas. A telephone connection was established from Ykspihlaja to the town, but the far distance hampered the development of the harbour.
From 1885 onwards
The railway line was completed in 1885 and the Old Port was finally abandoned. The tar market was moved from the shore of Suntti to a site along the railway line to Ykspihlaja. Ykspihlaja developed in the nineteen-twenties into one of the largest Finnish timber ports. With the arrival of Kemira (in 1945) and Outokumpu (in 1962) it also turned into an important industrial port. The role of the port has changed: It is not any more the homeport to the fleet of the town but part of an international transport system.



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The Early Stages A Town Is Born The Old Port Ykspihlaja Emerges Developing into a Major Port
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