Kuusamo with it's 16.177 inhabitants is the center of northeastern Finland. It was founded in the 16th century by the Sami people. The name "Kuusamo" is widely believed to derive from a Sami word meaning "spruce forest". Reindeer husbandry, fishing, hunting and fur trading formed the cornerstone of the economy for decades. During the Second World War many battles were fought in Kuusamo and neighbouring regions. Kuusamo even lost parts of it's area to the Soviet Union. In the final months of the war, the city center of Kuusamo was burned down by the retreating enemy troops. The locals however managed to rebuild the city.