Jaakkima – Lahdenpohja

Jaakkima arms

First inhabitants around the places known now as Jaakkima and Landenpohja arrived here in the II century BC. Rich fisheries in Ladoga Lake, forests full of game and fur and feather, fruitful lands, suitable for hack and burn land use lead to creation of firsts settlements. Such geographical names as Niva and Sieklahti come from the most ancient population of these places, saami tribes.

From the beginning of the first century AD lands around Jaakkima became one of the centers of the formation of Karelian tribe. Among the archeological monuments of that era are linnamäki (walled township) Osippala and Suur-Mikli township (dated IX-XIV centuries AD).

Early Karelian settlements were rather often raided by Vikings and Novgorod. Scandinavian sagas often tells about raids to Kirjalaland (Karelian land).

First written mention about lands near present Jaakkima is in the 1499-1500 census book of Vot fifth (region) of the great Novgorod. Most part of this land belonged to Sorola taxation region. Administrative and parish center of the region was the island village Sorola, that had a chapel and three burial grounds. Villages Rukola and Mikli were also part of this taxation region. First mentions of orthodox churches in Sorola (of St.George the Victor) and in Mikli (of St.Nicolas) were done in 1571.

According to Stolbovsky 1617 Peace Treaty all Korela uesd (region) territory became Swedish. About a quarter of orthodox Karelian population of the region moved to inner Russia. Abandoned yards were populated by migrants from western Karelia – Savo and Häme regions. Jaakkima lands at the time belonged to Kurkijoki, Sortavala and Uukunniemi districts.

It's modern name Jaakkima got after Jacob De la Gardie, also called Laiska-Jaakko (Lazy Jacob). In the beginning of XVII century he camped for six years at the hill, that in different times was called Pappilan (Priest's), Lippumäki (Flaghill) and Joackimvaara (Jacob's mounth).

First mentions about Sieklahti can be traced back to 1663.

The years of The Northern War (1700-1721) brought a devastation to the region. According to 1721 Uusikapunki Peace Treaty Sweden had to return to Russia Viborg and Ladoga Karelias. They formed a new Viborg Gubernia. At the same time the were first mentions of administrative and parish center Jaakkima.

In 1728 Russian Emperor Peter II presented Jaakkima to his bride Elisabeth, starting the period of so-called donated lands. In 1743 the owner of Jaakkima was Count M.Vorontsov. Only in 1783, following several riots the lands were returned to the crown. But in 1797 Count S.Vorontsov again got more than a half of Jaakkima lands, that were later sold by his daughter to Count A.Kushelev-Besborodko. Jaakkima volost (region) became divided into two parts – the landlord and the crown, with the separate local administrations. The former landlord part was occupying the territory that later (in 1923) became a separate volost Lumivaara.

In 1754 the well-known church builder Eskil Collenius erected a wooden church in Jaakkima. The interiors were done by Viborg master Mikko Stoffert.

There was big saw mill in Jaakkima on Ihalajoki River. It was one of the biggest suppliers of saw-timber in Viborg gubernia.

In 1757 Board Adviser Iohann Wilhelm Tavast proposed a project to connect Saima lake system with Ladoga Lake (near Lahdenpohja). The project plan was adopted in 1810, but newer fulfilled.

In 1776 there were some plans to give Jaakkima the statut of town.

Academician N. Ozeretskovsky in his book "Travelling by Ladoga and Onego lakes" published in 1788 wrought about Jaakkima: "There are eight townships belonging to Serdobol circuit with 15 851 able inhabitants, according to the last census. Of them: … Jakimvaara township – 3803. … Of this areas Serdobol, part of Ruskeala, Impilahti, Suojärvi and Jakimvaara township are crown lands, … The townships (kirheshpilles as they call them here) that are situated along Ladoga lake from Keksholm to Serdobol go in the following order: first cometh Hiitola, then Kronenburg (or Kurkijoki, the crane river) – they both belong to Keksholm circuit, the third is Jakimvaara, nearest to Serdobol and belonging to its circuit."

From 1797 Lahdenpohja country-seat went to the ownership of Alexander Nevsky Monastery and from 1798 – Valaam monastery.

In 1811 Jaakkima, as a part of Viborg gubernia was united to the rest of Finland, that became an Autonomous Grand Duchy of Finland within Russian Empire. During the following 100 years all donated lands were gradually bought out from their owners.

In 1844 there opened a public granary in Jaakkima, that later allowed to survive the bad harvest years of 1860's.

In 1845 Erkki Kuorikoski had started the erection of the new church by the project of the outstanding Finnish architect Carl Ludvig Engel. The interiors of the church were done by Sebastian Gripenberg. In 1850 the old wooden church was dismantled and in 1851 the new church was consecrated. In 1871 the first public library was opened and in 1877 – first public school.

Karelian railroad came to Jaakkima in 1893, when the building of Antrea-Sortavala railroad, connecting Jaakkima with Viborg and Helsinki, was finished.

In the last decade of XIX century there was established a regular ferry lines between Lahdenpohja port and islands villages.

In 1911 new two-storey building of Rauhala country-seat.

In 1912 the railway was prolonged to Lahdenpohja port that was counted the best on Ladoga Lake with two capes – Linnankannanniemi and Papinsaari – creating the natural protection from the elements.

In 1920 Jakkima volost population was 14400.

In 1923 on the part of Jakkima lands was created a new volost – Lumivaara.

In 1924 a plywood factory was build and the villages Sieklahti and Lahdenpohja were taken off Jakkima township to create a new Lahdenpohja township. The Lahdenpohja city plan was created by the architect Otto Meurman.

In 1928-29 there were 15 puplic schools in Jakkima volost, including 5-year joint education school in Jakkima. In 1929 a Christian college (Jaakkiman kristillinen opisto) was opened in Jakkima.

There were 16 settlements in Jakkima volost. In 1930 the population was 9921 inhabitant. the main activities were agriculture, fishing and forestry. The tourism also began to be active. In the 1930's 4-5 ships compete for clients, going to Vaalam with the help of local travel agency. A regular bus line to Sortavala was opened.

In 1939 65% of the total 10500 volost population admitted that their main income comes from agriculture. Lutheran church was the main religion. Small Orthodox community existed in Mikli. There were 16 public schools, real school and Christian college. the main agricultural producer was Rauhala country-seat. Several mills and saw-mills were scattered on the rivers, including big sawmill of Annalan Saha Oy and plywood factory of Laatokan Puu Oy in Lahdenpohja. Lahdenpohja population reached 1960.

A military garrison resided in Huuhanmäki (population 1900, two public schools and secondary school). There were headquarters of Viborg regiment (Viipurin rykmentti) and in Rauhala the third infantry regiment was residing. Lahdenpohja port was the main base of Finnish fleet on Ladoga Lake.

After the Winter War, according to 1940 Peace Threaty Jakkima lands, together with other finnish territories became part of the USSR. The popukation was evacuated during the night on 12th of March.

Devastated Jakkima houses were populated by migrants from different parts of the USSR. In the July 9th 1940 the Kurkijoki rayon with the center in Kurkijoki township was created. Former Jakkima volost became a part of it.

During Continuation War Finnish troops came to Ladoga Lake near Lahdenpohja in August 8th 1941 and by August 10th took back Jakkima and Lahdenpohja. As the front moved to the East, some inhabitants could return to their homes by the Christmas. In the next year almost 70% of the volost population returned back.

Lahdenpohja port became the mane base of Ladoga flotilla. A flying field was situated near Kokonniemi. In the beginning of 1942 there were plans to move Finnish General headquarters to Lahdenpohja-Huuhanmäki, But the idea was not realized. A military training center was opened in Huuhanmäki.

On June 22nd 1942 4 Italian torpedo boats came to Lahdenpohja by railroad. On July 15th 1942 15 German attacking-landing vessels were delivered (later their number was increased to 30). All these vessels became a part of Ladoga flotilla.

The second evacuation of Jakkima took part on September 19 1944, after signing the Moscow Peace treaty. The territory of the volost again returned to Soviet Union.

In the January 20th 1945 the administrative center of the Kurkijoki rayon was moved to Lahdenpohja, that got the statut of the town.

In 1946 the Lutheran church in Lahdenpohja was transformed to warehouse and was badly damaged in the fire in 1977.

In August 12nd 1958 Kurkijoki rayon was liquidated and became a part of Sortavala rayon.

In December 10th 1970 Lahdenpohja rayon was created with the center in Lahdenpohja.

The military site at Huuhanmäki was used for army needs till 2001.

In 1990 the railway station building was reconstracted with the help of finnish experts.

See also War on Lake Ladoga.