Jakobstad (Finnish: Pietarsaari) is a town and municipality in Ostrobothnia, Finland. The town has a population of 19,394 (31 August 2017) and covers a land area of 88.31 square kilometres (34.10 sq mi). The population density is 219.61 inhabitants per square kilometre (568.8/sq mi). Neighbour municipalities are Larsmo, Pedersöre, and Nykarleby.
The Swedish name literally means Jacob's City or Jacob's Town, in reference to Jacob De la Gardie. The town was founded at the old harbour of the parish Pedersöre and this name lives on in the Finnish name of the municipality, Pietarsaari, literally Peter's Island.
The town was founded in 1652 by Ebba Brahe, the widow of the military commander Jacob De la Gardie, and was granted city privileges by Queen Christina of Sweden. The town was founded at the old harbour of the parish Pedersöre. Pedersöre remains an independent municipality neighbouring Jakobstad.
The city grew slowly at first, with the authorities scarcely promoting any growth. In 1680 the inhabitants were ordered to relocate to the cities of Karleby (Kokkola), Uleåborg (Oulu) and Nykarleby, but the order was rescinded. Wars also contributed to the slow growth, and the city was invaded by Russian troops twice during the Greater Wrath, and large parts of the town were burnt to the ground. A majority of the inhabitants fled the city. While those with means moved across the sea to the Swedish side, others took shelter in the forest or in the archipelago. Many were captured or killed. During the 1720s, some of the previous inhabitants returned, while newcomers also added to the population. The subsequent decades were finally marked by a period of growth, and the current church was built in 1731.
The economic foundation was laid in the mid 18th century, with tar manufacturing and tobacco packaging at its centre. Trade started to develop rapidly in Jakobstad as of 1765, when the cities along the Finnish shore of the Gulf of Bothnia were granted privileges by the Swedish crown to trade directly with foreign countries. This also led to shipbuilding becoming a major activity in Jakobstad. The first ships to sail with goods to foreign countries were the galeas Jacobstads Wapen and the brig Enigheten. Trade and shipbuilding made Jakobstad a wealthy city, and a notable businessman of that time was the merchant and shipbuilder Adolf Lindskog, who also became one of the richest men in Finland.
The early 19th century was a time of upheaval, which saw the 1808–1809 war between Sweden and Russia, as well as a devastating fire in 1835 that destroyed approximately half of the city. Despite this, the economic progress continued, and a brewery, a matchstick factory and several banks were founded after 1850. In 1859, the merchant and shipowner Peter Malm started a steam powered sawmill, which was only the second such installation in Finland. The Crimean War was a major setback to shipping industry, as the British navy puts up an effective blockade and the shipping fleet in Jakobstad was reduced from 26 ships to 9.
Notable businessmen in the 19th century were Otto Malm and Wilhelm Schauman, the latter founding a chicory (coffee substitute) factory in Jakobstad in 1883. This moment in time is usually considered as the start of industrialization in Jakobstad. In 1900, the Strengberg tobacco factory was the largest employer in Jakobstad.
An artillery school was located in Jakobstad during the Finnish civil war. During World War II, the city was bombed once by Soviet bomber planes, causing a few casualties. Up until the 1960s, the town was overwhelmingly Swedish speaking, but as a consequence of industrial expansion in the 1960s and 1970s, the need for additional work force caused a large influx of Finnish speakers. The town remains bilingual with 56% being Swedish and 40% Finnish speakers.
Results of the Finnish parliamentary election, 2011 in Jakobstad:
At the end of November a chamber music festival called Rusk is held annually in Pietarsaari/Jakobstad. At the heart of this festival embracing superb chamber music and various other genres of the arts is the Schauman Hall in the centre of town, but the events also spread out into the surrounding urban environment.
population by languagewas invoked but never defined (see the help page).
Media related to Jakobstad at Wikimedia Commons