FARAVID 31/2007


Matti Leiviskä, The village place names in the old Salo parish

The old parish of Salo was located on the northern coast of the Gulf of Bothnia. It originally included the area of Siikajoki, Pyhäjoki and Kalajoki river valleys. In my research, I have studied the names of the villages, which were settled in this area before the Peace of Täyssinä in 1595. My intention is not to determine the origins of permanent settlement in the Salo parish. Instead, I have tried to determine, which old cultures had an influence on this area and if some cultures had different impacts in some areas than in others.

A place name can tell you many different things about the history of that place. For example it can tell something about the culture during the time when the name was given and even reveal what kind of people gave the name. Also, the village names in the area of the old parish of Salo reveal many things about the past. Most of the names are based on names of nearby natural features. Many layers of names can be found; some are originally given by Sami, others by Karelians or people from Häme and Satakunta. The oldest, but mainly disappeared layer, is of Sami origin. These place-names remained best in remote areas, which were far away from Finnish settlements and hunting routes. The oldest Finnish place-names are the names given by travellers from the district of Häme. They gave names to the great natural features, e.g., rivers, lakes and hills, which later became the names of nearby villages. These names can be found in every part of the Salo parish, which also proves the age of these names. After the people of Häme came the Karelians who influenced the region from the 11th century onwards. Karelian influence on village names is strongest in the northern parts of Salo, although the layer is very thin. The pressure from expanding western-origin settlements on the coast of the Bothnian bay forced the Karelians, little by little, away from the area during the 15th and 16th centuries. These people, who where mainly from the district of Satakunta, named places based on the southern parts on the coast of Salo.


Faravid 31/2007