Kiruna

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Kiruna (Northern Sami: Giron, Finnish: Kiiruna) is the northernmost city in Sweden, situated in Lapland province, with 18,154 inhabitants in 2005.[1] It is the seat of Kiruna Municipality (pop. 23,099 in 2008[2]) in Norrbotten County.

Contents

History

Origins

Archeological findings have shown that the region around Kiruna has been inhabited for at least 6,000 years. Centuries before Kiruna was founded in 1900, the presence of iron ore at Kiirunavaara and Luossavaara had been known by the local Sami population. In 1696, Samuel Mört, a bookkeeper of the Kengis works, wrote on the presence of iron in the two hills. Anders Hacksell mapped the area in 1736 and named the mountains Fredriks berg (Kiirunavaara) and Berget Ulrika Eleonora (Luossavaara), after king Fredrik I and his wife Ulrika Eleonora. Despite the findings of large amounts of ore, no mining was initiated because of the remote location and the harsh climate. Some ore was extracted in the 19th century by extracting it in summer and transporting it in winter, using sleds drawn by reindeer and horses. However, the costs were high and the quality of the phosphorous ore poor, until, in 1878, the Gilchrist-Thomas process, invented by Sidney Gilchrist Thomas and Percy Gilchrist, allowed for the separation of phosphor from the ore.[3][4]

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