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Kokkola is located in Central Ostrobothnia, on the coast of the Gulf of Bothnia.
The city of Kokkola was founded in 1620 with the name Gamlakarleby. Later, Kokkola was established as the Finnish name of the city.
One of the most extensive historic wooden house entities in Finland is located close to the business centre of Kokkola. The city plan dates back to the 1650s. It covers 12 blocks that consist of hundreds of wooden houses and outbuildings. The oldest houses date back to the 17th century.
Kokkola is a city of culture that offers a lot to see and experience.
The distance from Kokkola to Helsinki is 483 kilometres, Jyväskylä 242, Oulu 198, Pietarsaari 36, Seinäjoki 141, Tampere 302, and Vaasa 121 kilometres.
The city port is located in the district of Ykspihlaja, and it is one of the busiest cargo ports in Finland.
Business life in Kokkola is based on international large-scale industry. Chemical industry and applied industries are in a central position. Kokkola is also a significant commercial city.
Kokkola has been the location of a port, a shipyard and a centre of trade since the Middle Ages. The rising of the land has been a key factor in the history of Kokkola. It has shaped the environment significantly and affected the development of the port and commerce, for example. Trading took place along the coast of the Gulf of Bothnia, and farming, hunting, fishing and seal hunting were also important sources of livelihood.
The tar export business, later to become crucial to the history of Kokkola, began as early as in the 16th century.
On 7th September 1620, the Swedish king Gustav Adolf II signed a document transforming the small Ristiranta village, known for fishing and farming, into a town. At the time, the current Kaupunginsalmi narrow was a slender bay that extended as far as the Kirkonmäki hill.
Little by little, Kokkola developed into an important location for shipping and ship building. There were shipyards in Kaustarinlahti, Mustakari and Soldatskär, for example. At first, ship routes only covered Turku and Stockholm, since, as a so-called 'inland town', Kokkola was not allowed to engage in foreign trade.
Largely owing to its active vicar and deputy Anders Chydenius, in 1765, Kokkola was awarded a staple right, or the right to conduct foreign trade freely. Kokkola prospered quickly at the beginning of the 19th century thanks to the tar trade and shipping businesses. Members of the town's bourgeoisie purchased tar from the peasants, exporting it to foreign lands, often to the ports of the Mediterranean and England.
At times, the merchant navy of Kokkola was the largest in Finland. The rapid economic development stopped in the middle of the 19th century, only to bloom again in the late 1800s, spurred on by industrialisation. Kokkola evolved into an important industrial city, thanks in no small part to its leather and metal industry.