The Imperiia Project: a spatial history of the Russian Empire

Decode Finland

The Quest:

In the Grand Duchy of Finland, towns tended to be located along the coasts of the Gulf of Finland and the Gulf of Bothnia.

If we add in the main post roads, the coastal dimension becomes even more clear.

Access to the coasts certainly helps explain the Grand Duchy's urban geography. But does it explain the general pattern of settlement? In other words, what if we pay attention to smaller settlements - to both towns and villages? Can you identify the geographical feature that best explains the pattern of settlement in the Grand Duchy of Finland? 

The Instructions:

Open the map (it will open in a new window).

Study the map. Pan, zoom, toggle layers on and off until you know what you are looking at and are familiar with the territory.

Answer these questions:
1. Villages with churches, villages without churches, and Protestant parishes are distributed across the Grand Duchy. Describe the differences in their distribution patterns.
2. Can you explain any of those patterns?
3. Can you explain why the patterns differ?
4. Carriage roads play a very particular role in Finland. What is it?

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