The Swedish post road from Norway, through Sweden, used the Åland archipelago to pass into Sweden, and this is easily found (evidence of) in the south of Finland to the present day. When (and where) was the first overland route constructed overland from Sweden into (Swedish) Finland?

The only (poor) evidence I have for roads existing in the north is by the War of 1808–9 where Russian forces were planning to advance overland into Sweden (along with an army group advancing across the Gulf of Bothnia). One of the WP article's references does say "In addition, several new good roads had been built into Finland greatly reducing the earlier dependency on naval support for any large operation in Finland." but it doesn't specify where these roads were.

I looked through all articles on Swedish and Finnish road networks on the English Wikipedia, and the most I found was a reference to a 'Finnmark path' which was meant to have gone from Finnish Lapland to Finnmark in the 16th century. The Finnish WP article for the same page does not mention the Finnmark path at all, and I couldn't find anything else on a road of that name.

I understand—from the comments—that the term "road" can be meaningless without further definition for a period much longer than a few centuries ago. For clarity, I'm defining road as purpose-built (or purpose-developed) and used regionally for that purpose, such as the post road mentioned above. This would mean hunting tracks that slowly developed don't count, while a merchant-led endeavour to expand (and maintain) the tracks between two townships would.

  • 1
    Torneå was founded in the early 17th c. I assume there were roads to it from both east and west.
    – Tomas By
    Dec 21, 2020 at 12:41
  • @PieterGeerkens history of roads in Sweden: "The national law of Magnus Eriksson (1350) decrees that each landholder is responsible for a section of road, a bridge, an ice road, or a ferry.".
    – Tomas By
    Dec 21, 2020 at 14:58
  • @TomasBy: Read the next sentence, these are local roads only: "... stipulate that the land-owning farmers are responsible for each road lot, bridge, ice road or ferry. The length of the road lot depends on the size of the agricultural property." It would be insanity to require small isolated villages otherwise quite content to build and maintain long-haul access rods they don't themselves use or need. Dec 21, 2020 at 15:03
  • 1
    No. It was a national road net (for low values of "road"). There is a map from 1742, but I cannot access it here. Whatever. There were "roads" a long time ago, between 1809 and 1917 it was a hostile border, and then after Finland became independent they opened a railroad.
    – Tomas By
    Dec 21, 2020 at 15:10
  • 2
    Carl Linnaeus's 1732 trip to Lapland was recorded in a fascinating book. Of course he was not interested in the speediest or easiest route, so much as the most interesting, but it does give first-hand detailed account of his travels & travel conditions. Wikipedia summary: "Linnaeus travelled clockwise around the coast of the Gulf of Bothnia, making major inland incursions from Umeå, Luleå and Tornio. He returned from his six-month-long, over 2,000 kilometres (1,200 mi) expedition in October, having gathered and observed many plants, birds and rocks". Dec 21, 2020 at 23:59


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