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Oulu History, Finland

The land that Oulu is located on was created in August of 3321 BC when the land popped up from underneath the sea.  During this Stone Age, the climate was much like what the climate of Paris is today.  About one thousand years later, the climate of the area began to settle around the temperatures that are associated with the north now.  Finno-Ugric were the first people to settle in the area and they also went further north to Lapland and came from the east.  From the south, other people came for collecting taxes, and trading from Oulu was done in the south as well.  Today, many people travel here, as Oulu has become a bridgehead for the north and a gateway to the Barents Region and Arctic Ocean.

The city was established by Sweden's King Karl IX on the 20th July, 1605 and located opposite the castle that was built on Linnansaari, an island.  Oulu sits at the mouth of the Oulujoki river, which was the main trading site in ancient times.  The name Oulu comes from a Sami word that means 'flood water', however, there other translations of this word as well.  This city has been the Oulu Province's capital since 1776.

In 1822, decades after the city was founded as the capital city, the city was nearly completely destroyed by a huge fire.  Carl Ludvig Engel, who was known mostly for his neoclassical style of building in the Helsinki Senate Square, was chosen to develop a plan that would rebuild Oulu.  This plan has remained the basis of the town center's layout in Oulu and has only had minor changes to it.  In 1832, the Oulu Cathedral was rebuilt with these same designs, as it was one of the buildings demolished in the fire, and its spire was completed in 1844.

In the past, this town was known for salmon and wood tar, but it has now evolved into a key competence center for high technology, specifically wellness and IT technology.  There are other prominent industries in the city now as well, which include steel, paper, and wood refining industries.  Located about 6 kilometers north of the center of the city is the University of Oulu.

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