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History

The banks of Kymijoki River, shores of lakes and the Salpausselkä ridge with its environs provided dwelling sites already in the Stone Age. The most significant archaeological findings are the dwelling sites in Keitaa and the rock painting presenting a galloping elk in Haukkavuori at Konnivesi. The name Iitti has originally, as far as is known, appeared in a form "Ithimaa" and "Ii" was equivalent to "water spirit".

Iitti started developing on the borders of Häme and Karelia Provinces. Between 1743 and 1812, the border of Russia ran along the Kymijoki river on the east side of Iitti. In 1949, the administration of the Municipality was transferred from Uusimaa to Kymi Region, which had been formed of the remaining parts of Vyborg Region after the Second World War. Even though the people of Iitti have grown accustomed to their current connections, a strong awareness of their roots in Häme has remained. The dialect of Iitti belongs to the group of dialects of Häme, it contains, however, strong features of dialects of Eastern Finland.

The parish of Iitti was created in 1539 by the rescript of the Swedish King Gustav Vasa. Iitti was the mother parish of the southeastern corner of Häme and established its current boundaries in 1920 after some smaller parishes, f.ex Valkeala, Jaala and Kuusankoski were separated from it. With Kuusankoski, Iitti lost most of its industry, only medium-sized sawmills, watermills, carpentry workshops and the spool factory of Kaukas remained. The mighty rapids of Mankala were harnessed for production of electric power in the 1940s and the rapids of Vuolenkoski in the 1950s.

Farming and forestry have always been significant employers in Iitti, though nowadays only about 10 % of the population works in those sectors. The nearby towns draw more and more people, which lead to population decline. The situation changed in the 1940s when about 2 000 evacuees from Karelia were settled in Iitti. The migration continued again in the 1950s despite the development of new industry in the area. The most significant enterprises were Kiitokori Oy (production of speciality car bodies), Joka Oy (production of trailers), shirt factory of Pallo-Paita Oy and Halton Oy with its production of indoor climate solutions. The population increased again in the 1980s only to decrease again due to recession.

The most significant period in the history of Iitti is the building of the Helsinki - St. Petersburg railway during 1876 - 1879, when about 100 000 people took part in the construction work. With the new railway line, the Church Village was left aside as the centre of the Municipality and the new centre was formed in Kausala. The legend of Tiltu of Iitti was born during that time and still lives on in the song of the Finnish-American songwriter Hiski Salomaa. Nationally, some internationally, known figures have lived in Iitti. Anders Johan Sjögren was an important linguist and a member of the Academy of St. Petersburg. Hella Wuolijoki, writer and politician, was the mistress of the Marlebäck Manor in the 1920s and 1930s. The municipal administration of Iitti was established in 1870.



Contacts

Municipality of Iitti
PL 32
47401 Kausala
Finland
Tel. 020 615 9600
Fax 020 615 9617
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