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The area along the Tornionjoki has been inhabited since medieval times, when it was the centre for Pirkka tax collectors (who worked for the king of Sweden). The town of Tornio was founded in 1621, and the entire Tornionjoki valley was administered by Sweden until 1809, when it was incorporated into Finland, under Russian suzerainty. In 1821, Haparanda was founded as a Swedish trading town to replace the loss of Tornio to Russia.