Kola Peninsula

Kola Peninsula

Overview
The Kola Peninsula is a peninsula in the far northwest of Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

. Constituting the bulk of the territory of Murmansk Oblast
Murmansk Oblast
Murmansk Oblast is a federal subject of Russia , located in the northwestern part of Russia. Its administrative center is the city of Murmansk.-Geography:...

, it lies almost completely to the north of the Arctic Circle
Arctic Circle
The Arctic Circle is one of the five major circles of latitude that mark maps of the Earth. For Epoch 2011, it is the parallel of latitude that runs north of the Equator....

 and is washed by the Barents Sea
Barents Sea
The Barents Sea is a marginal sea of the Arctic Ocean, located north of Norway and Russia. Known in the Middle Ages as the Murman Sea, the sea takes its current name from the Dutch navigator Willem Barents...

 in the north and the White Sea
White Sea
The White Sea is a southern inlet of the Barents Sea located on the northwest coast of Russia. It is surrounded by Karelia to the west, the Kola Peninsula to the north, and the Kanin Peninsula to the northeast. The whole of the White Sea is under Russian sovereignty and considered to be part of...

 in the east and southeast. The city of Murmansk
Murmansk
Murmansk is a city and the administrative center of Murmansk Oblast, Russia. It serves as a seaport and is located in the extreme northwest part of Russia, on the Kola Bay, from the Barents Sea on the northern shore of the Kola Peninsula, not far from Russia's borders with Norway and Finland...

 is the most populous human settlement on the peninsula, with the population of over 300,000 as of the 2010 Census.

Despite its northerly location, closeness of the peninsula to the Gulf Stream
Gulf Stream
The Gulf Stream, together with its northern extension towards Europe, the North Atlantic Drift, is a powerful, warm, and swift Atlantic ocean current that originates at the tip of Florida, and follows the eastern coastlines of the United States and Newfoundland before crossing the Atlantic Ocean...

 leads to unusually high temperatures in winter, but also results in high winds due to the temperature variations between land and the Barents Sea.
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Encyclopedia
The Kola Peninsula is a peninsula in the far northwest of Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

. Constituting the bulk of the territory of Murmansk Oblast
Murmansk Oblast
Murmansk Oblast is a federal subject of Russia , located in the northwestern part of Russia. Its administrative center is the city of Murmansk.-Geography:...

, it lies almost completely to the north of the Arctic Circle
Arctic Circle
The Arctic Circle is one of the five major circles of latitude that mark maps of the Earth. For Epoch 2011, it is the parallel of latitude that runs north of the Equator....

 and is washed by the Barents Sea
Barents Sea
The Barents Sea is a marginal sea of the Arctic Ocean, located north of Norway and Russia. Known in the Middle Ages as the Murman Sea, the sea takes its current name from the Dutch navigator Willem Barents...

 in the north and the White Sea
White Sea
The White Sea is a southern inlet of the Barents Sea located on the northwest coast of Russia. It is surrounded by Karelia to the west, the Kola Peninsula to the north, and the Kanin Peninsula to the northeast. The whole of the White Sea is under Russian sovereignty and considered to be part of...

 in the east and southeast. The city of Murmansk
Murmansk
Murmansk is a city and the administrative center of Murmansk Oblast, Russia. It serves as a seaport and is located in the extreme northwest part of Russia, on the Kola Bay, from the Barents Sea on the northern shore of the Kola Peninsula, not far from Russia's borders with Norway and Finland...

 is the most populous human settlement on the peninsula, with the population of over 300,000 as of the 2010 Census.

Despite its northerly location, closeness of the peninsula to the Gulf Stream
Gulf Stream
The Gulf Stream, together with its northern extension towards Europe, the North Atlantic Drift, is a powerful, warm, and swift Atlantic ocean current that originates at the tip of Florida, and follows the eastern coastlines of the United States and Newfoundland before crossing the Atlantic Ocean...

 leads to unusually high temperatures in winter, but also results in high winds due to the temperature variations between land and the Barents Sea. Summers are rather chilly, with the average July temperature of only 11 °C (51.8 °F). The peninsula is covered by taiga
Taiga
Taiga , also known as the boreal forest, is a biome characterized by coniferous forests.Taiga is the world's largest terrestrial biome. In North America it covers most of inland Canada and Alaska as well as parts of the extreme northern continental United States and is known as the Northwoods...

 in the south and tundra
Tundra
In physical geography, tundra is a biome where the tree growth is hindered by low temperatures and short growing seasons. The term tundra comes through Russian тундра from the Kildin Sami word tūndâr "uplands," "treeless mountain tract." There are three types of tundra: Arctic tundra, alpine...

 in the north, where permafrost
Permafrost
In geology, permafrost, cryotic soil or permafrost soil is soil at or below the freezing point of water for two or more years. Ice is not always present, as may be in the case of nonporous bedrock, but it frequently occurs and it may be in amounts exceeding the potential hydraulic saturation of...

 limits the growth of the trees resulting in landscape dominated by shrubs and grasses. The peninsula supports a small variety of mammals, and its rivers are an important habitat for the Atlantic salmon
Atlantic salmon
The Atlantic salmon is a species of fish in the family Salmonidae, which is found in the northern Atlantic Ocean and in rivers that flow into the north Atlantic and the north Pacific....

. The Kandalaksha Nature Reserve, established to protect the population of Common Eider
Common Eider
The Common Eider, Somateria mollissima, is a large sea-duck that is distributed over the northern coasts of Europe, North America and eastern Siberia. It breeds in Arctic and some northern temperate regions, but winters somewhat farther south in temperate zones, when it can form large flocks on...

, is located in the Kandalaksha Gulf
Kandalaksha Gulf
The Kandalaksha Gulf is located in the Republic of Karelia, and Murmansk Oblast in northwestern Russia. Forming the north-western corner of the White Sea, it is one of four large bays and gulfs of this sea, the others being the Onega Bay , the Dvina Bay , and the Mezen Bay .The Kola Peninsula...

.

The peninsula was first settled during the 3rd millennium BCE by various peoples who arrived here from the south; however, by the 1st millennium CE only the Sami people
Sami people
The Sami people, also spelled Sámi, or Saami, are the arctic indigenous people inhabiting Sápmi, which today encompasses parts of far northern Sweden, Norway, Finland, the Kola Peninsula of Russia, and the border area between south and middle Sweden and Norway. The Sámi are Europe’s northernmost...

 remained. This changed in the 12th century, when Russian Pomors
Pomors
Pomors or Pomory are Russian settlers and their descendants on the White Sea coast. It is also term of self-identification for the descendants of Russian, primarily Novgorod, settlers of Pomorye , living on the White Sea coasts and the territory whose southern border lies on a watershed which...

 discovered the peninsula's game and fish riches. Soon after, the Pomors were followed by the tribute collectors from the Novgorod Republic
Novgorod Republic
The Novgorod Republic was a large medieval Russian state which stretched from the Baltic Sea to the Ural Mountains between the 12th and 15th centuries, centred on the city of Novgorod...

, and the peninsula gradually became a part of the Novgorodian lands. No permanents human settlements, however, were established by the Novgorodians until the 15th century.

The Novgorod Republic lost control of the peninsula to the Grand Duchy of Moscow
Grand Duchy of Moscow
The Grand Duchy of Moscow or Grand Principality of Moscow, also known in English simply as Muscovy , was a late medieval Rus' principality centered on Moscow, and the predecessor state of the early modern Tsardom of Russia....

 in 1471, but the Russian migration did not stop. Several new settlements were established during the 16th century, and the Sami and Pomor people were forced into serfdom
Serfdom
Serfdom is the status of peasants under feudalism, specifically relating to Manorialism. It was a condition of bondage or modified slavery which developed primarily during the High Middle Ages in Europe and lasted to the mid-19th century...

. In the second half of the 16th century, the peninsula became a subject of dispute between the Tsardom of Russia
Tsardom of Russia
The Tsardom of Russia was the name of the centralized Russian state from Ivan IV's assumption of the title of Tsar in 1547 till Peter the Great's foundation of the Russian Empire in 1721.From 1550 to 1700, Russia grew 35,000 km2 a year...

 and the Kingdom of Denmark–Norway
Denmark–Norway
Denmark–Norway is the historiographical name for a former political entity consisting of the kingdoms of Denmark and Norway, including the originally Norwegian dependencies of Iceland, Greenland and the Faroe Islands...

, which resulted in the strengthening of the Russian position. By the end of the 19th century, the indigenous Sami population had been mostly forced north by the Russians and the Komi
Komi peoples
The Komi people is an ethnic group whose homeland is in the north-east of European Russia around the basins of the Vychegda, Pechora and Kama rivers. They mostly live in the Komi Republic, Perm Krai, Murmansk Oblast, Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Okrug, and Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug in the Russian...

 and Nenets people
Nenets people
The Nenets are an indigenous people in Russia. According to the latest census in 2002, there are 41,302 Nenets in the Russian Federation, most of them living in the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug and Nenets Autonomous Okrug...

 who migrated here to escape a rein deer disease epidemics in their home lands. In 1916, Romanov-na-Murmane (now Murmansk) was founded and quickly grew to become the largest city on the peninsula.

The Soviet
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 period saw a rapid increase of the population, although most of it remained confined to urbanized territories along the sea coast and the railroads. The Sami people were subject to forced collectivization
Collective farming
Collective farming and communal farming are types of agricultural production in which the holdings of several farmers are run as a joint enterprise...

, and overall the peninsula was heavily industrialized and militarized, largely due to the discovery of the vast apatite
Apatite
Apatite is a group of phosphate minerals, usually referring to hydroxylapatite, fluorapatite, chlorapatite and bromapatite, named for high concentrations of OH−, F−, Cl− or Br− ions, respectively, in the crystal...

 deposits in the 1920s and its strategic position. As a result, the ecology of the peninsula suffered major ecological damage, including contamination by military nuclear waste and nickel
Nickel
Nickel is a chemical element with the chemical symbol Ni and atomic number 28. It is a silvery-white lustrous metal with a slight golden tinge. Nickel belongs to the transition metals and is hard and ductile...

 smelting
Smelting
Smelting is a form of extractive metallurgy; its main use is to produce a metal from its ore. This includes iron extraction from iron ore, and copper extraction and other base metals from their ores...

.

After the dissolution of the Soviet Union
Dissolution of the Soviet Union
The dissolution of the Soviet Union was the disintegration of the federal political structures and central government of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , resulting in the independence of all fifteen republics of the Soviet Union between March 11, 1990 and December 25, 1991...

, the economy went into decline and the population quickly started to decrease. Between 1989 and 2002, Murmansk Oblast lost almost a quarter of its population; and almost 100,000 more between 2002 and 2010. Nevertheless, the peninsula remains the most industrially developed and urbanized region in northern Russia.

Location and overview


The peninsula is located in the far northwest of Russia, almost completely to the north of the Arctic Circle
Arctic Circle
The Arctic Circle is one of the five major circles of latitude that mark maps of the Earth. For Epoch 2011, it is the parallel of latitude that runs north of the Equator....

 and is washed by the Barents Sea
Barents Sea
The Barents Sea is a marginal sea of the Arctic Ocean, located north of Norway and Russia. Known in the Middle Ages as the Murman Sea, the sea takes its current name from the Dutch navigator Willem Barents...

 in the north and the White Sea
White Sea
The White Sea is a southern inlet of the Barents Sea located on the northwest coast of Russia. It is surrounded by Karelia to the west, the Kola Peninsula to the north, and the Kanin Peninsula to the northeast. The whole of the White Sea is under Russian sovereignty and considered to be part of...

 in the east and southeast. Geologically, the peninsula occupies the northeastern edge of the Baltic Shield
Baltic Shield
The Baltic Shield is located in Fennoscandia , northwest Russia and under the Baltic Sea. The Baltic Shield is defined as the exposed Precambrian northwest segment of the East European Craton...

. The western border of the peninsula stretches along the meridian from the Kola Gulf through the valley of the Kola River
Kola River
Kola is a river on the Kola Peninsula i Murmansk Oblast, Russia. It is 83 km long, with a drainage basin of 3,850 km². The river flows out of Lake Kolozero north into the Kola Bay of the Barents Sea, some 10 km south of Murmansk. The neighbouring Tuloma River has its mouth just one...

, Lake Imandra
Lake Imandra
Imandra is a lake in the south-western part of the Kola Peninsula in Murmansk Oblast, Russia, slightly beyond the Arctic circle. It is located 127 m above sea level; its area is about 876 km², maximum depth is 67 m. The shape of the shore line is complicated. There are a number of islands and the...

, and the Niva River
Niva River
Niva River is a river in the Murmansk Oblast in Russia. The length of the river is 36 km. The area of its basin is 12,800 km². The Niva River flows out of the Imandra Lake and into the Kandalaksha Gulf of the White Sea...

 to the Kandalaksha Gulf
Kandalaksha Gulf
The Kandalaksha Gulf is located in the Republic of Karelia, and Murmansk Oblast in northwestern Russia. Forming the north-western corner of the White Sea, it is one of four large bays and gulfs of this sea, the others being the Onega Bay , the Dvina Bay , and the Mezen Bay .The Kola Peninsula...

. The peninsula covers an area of about 100000 square kilometres (38,610.2 sq mi). The northern coast is steep and high, while the southern coast is flat. The western part of the peninsula is covered by two mountain ranges: the Khibiny Mountains and the Lovozero Massif,; the former contains the highest point of the peninsula—Mount Chasnachorr, the height of which is 1191 metres (3,907.5 ft). The Keyvy drainage divide lies in the central part. The mountainous reliefs of the Murman
Murman Coast
The Murman Coast is a coastal area in Murmansk Oblast in northwest Russia. It is located on the southern side of the Barents Sea, between the Norway–Russia border and Cape Svyatoy Nos...

 and Kandalaksha Coast
Kandalaksha Coast
The Kandalaksha Coast is a coastal area in Murmansk Oblast in northwest Russia. It is located on the northern side of the White Sea, between Kandalaksha and mouth of Varzuga River...

s stretch from southeast to northwest, mirroring the peninsula's main orographic
Orography
Orography is the study of the formation and relief of mountains, and can more broadly include hills, and any part of a region's elevated terrain...

 features.

Administratively
Administrative divisions of Murmansk Oblast
Murmansk Oblast is a federal subject of Russia, which is located in the northwestern part of the country, occupying mostly the Kola Peninsula. The oblast itself was established on May 28, 1938, but some kind of administrative organization of the territory existed here since at least the 13th...

, the territory of the peninsula comprises Lovozersky
Lovozersky District
Lovozersky District is an administrative and municipal district , one of the five in Murmansk Oblast, Russia. It is located in the central and northeastern parts of the Kola Peninsula. Its administrative center is the rural locality of Lovozero...

 Pechengsky
Pechengsky District
Pechengsky District is an administrative and municipal district , one of the five in Murmansk Oblast, Russia. It is located to the northwest of the Kola Peninsula on the coast of the Barents Sea and borders with Finland in the south and southwest and with Norway in the west, northwest, and north...

, and a small part of Kolsky District
Kolsky District
Kolsky District is an administrative and municipal district , one of the five in Murmansk Oblast, Russia. It is located in the northwestern part of the Kola Peninsula and borders with the Barents Sea in the north and Finland in the west. The area of the district is . Its administrative center is...

, as well as the territories subordinated to the cities and towns of Murmansk
Murmansk
Murmansk is a city and the administrative center of Murmansk Oblast, Russia. It serves as a seaport and is located in the extreme northwest part of Russia, on the Kola Bay, from the Barents Sea on the northern shore of the Kola Peninsula, not far from Russia's borders with Norway and Finland...

, Severomorsk
Severomorsk
Severomorsk is a closed town in Murmansk Oblast, Russia, located about north of Murmansk along the Kola Bay. Population: This is the main administrative base of the Russian Northern Fleet. Severomorsk has the largest drydock on the Kola Peninsula....

, Kirovsk
Kirovsk, Murmansk Oblast
Kirovsk , known as Khibinogorsk until 1934, is a town in Murmansk Oblast, Russia, located at the spurs of the Khibiny Massif on the shores of the Lake Bolshoy Vudyavr, south of Murmansk...

, and parts of the territories subordinated to Monchegorsk
Monchegorsk
Monchegorsk is a town in Murmansk Oblast, Russia, located on the Kola Peninsula, south of Murmansk, the administrative center of the oblast. Administratively, it is incorporated as Monchegorsk Town with Jurisdictional Territory—a unit of administrative division equal in status to that of a district...

, Apatity
Apatity
Apatity is a town in Murmansk Oblast, Russia, located along the Murmansk Railway between Lake Imandra and Khibiny Massif, west of Kirovsk and south of Murmansk, the administrative center of the oblast...

, and Kandalaksha
Kandalaksha
Kandalaksha is a town in Kandalakshsky District of Murmansk Oblast, Russia, located at the head of Kandalaksha Gulf on the White Sea, beyond the Arctic Circle. Population: 40,564 ; -History:The settlement has existed since the 11th century...

.

Natural resources


Because the last ice age
Ice age
An ice age or, more precisely, glacial age, is a generic geological period of long-term reduction in the temperature of the Earth's surface and atmosphere, resulting in the presence or expansion of continental ice sheets, polar ice sheets and alpine glaciers...

 removed the top sediment
Sediment
Sediment is naturally occurring material that is broken down by processes of weathering and erosion, and is subsequently transported by the action of fluids such as wind, water, or ice, and/or by the force of gravity acting on the particle itself....

 layer of the soil, the Kola Peninsula is on the surface extremely rich in various ores and minerals, including apatite
Apatite
Apatite is a group of phosphate minerals, usually referring to hydroxylapatite, fluorapatite, chlorapatite and bromapatite, named for high concentrations of OH−, F−, Cl− or Br− ions, respectively, in the crystal...

s and nepheline
Nepheline
Nepheline, also called nephelite , is a feldspathoid: a silica-undersaturated aluminosilicate, Na3KAl4Si4O16, that occurs in intrusive and volcanic rocks with low silica, and in their associated pegmatites...

s; copper
Copper
Copper is a chemical element with the symbol Cu and atomic number 29. It is a ductile metal with very high thermal and electrical conductivity. Pure copper is soft and malleable; an exposed surface has a reddish-orange tarnish...

, nickel
Nickel
Nickel is a chemical element with the chemical symbol Ni and atomic number 28. It is a silvery-white lustrous metal with a slight golden tinge. Nickel belongs to the transition metals and is hard and ductile...

, and iron ores; mica
Mica
The mica group of sheet silicate minerals includes several closely related materials having highly perfect basal cleavage. All are monoclinic, with a tendency towards pseudohexagonal crystals, and are similar in chemical composition...

; kyanite
Kyanite
Kyanite, whose name derives from the Greek word kuanos sometimes referred to as "kyanos", meaning deep blue, is a typically blue silicate mineral, commonly found in aluminium-rich metamorphic pegmatites and/or sedimentary rock. Kyanite in metamorphic rocks generally indicates pressures higher than...

s; ceramic materials
Ceramic materials
Ceramic materials are inorganic, non-metallic materials and things made from them. They may be crystalline or partly crystalline. They are formed by the action of heat and subsequent cooling...

, as well as rare earth element
Rare earth element
As defined by IUPAC, rare earth elements or rare earth metals are a set of seventeen chemical elements in the periodic table, specifically the fifteen lanthanides plus scandium and yttrium...

s and non-ferrous
Ferrous
Ferrous , in chemistry, indicates a divalent iron compound , as opposed to ferric, which indicates a trivalent iron compound ....

 ores. Deposits of construction materials such as granite
Granite
Granite is a common and widely occurring type of intrusive, felsic, igneous rock. Granite usually has a medium- to coarse-grained texture. Occasionally some individual crystals are larger than the groundmass, in which case the texture is known as porphyritic. A granitic rock with a porphyritic...

, quartzite
Quartzite
Quartzite is a hard metamorphic rock which was originally sandstone. Sandstone is converted into quartzite through heating and pressure usually related to tectonic compression within orogenic belts. Pure quartzite is usually white to gray, though quartzites often occur in various shades of pink...

, and limestone
Limestone
Limestone is a sedimentary rock composed largely of the minerals calcite and aragonite, which are different crystal forms of calcium carbonate . Many limestones are composed from skeletal fragments of marine organisms such as coral or foraminifera....

 are also abundant. Diatomaceous earth
Diatomaceous earth
Diatomaceous earth also known as diatomite or kieselgur/kieselguhr, is a naturally occurring, soft, siliceous sedimentary rock that is easily crumbled into a fine white to off-white powder. It has a particle size ranging from less than 1 micrometre to more than 1 millimetre, but typically 10 to...

 deposits are common near the lakes and are used to produce insulation
Building insulation
building insulation refers broadly to any object in a building used as insulation for any purpose. While the majority of insulation in buildings is for thermal purposes, the term also applies to acoustic insulation, fire insulation, and impact insulation...

.

Climate


Closeness of the peninsula to the Gulf Stream
Gulf Stream
The Gulf Stream, together with its northern extension towards Europe, the North Atlantic Drift, is a powerful, warm, and swift Atlantic ocean current that originates at the tip of Florida, and follows the eastern coastlines of the United States and Newfoundland before crossing the Atlantic Ocean...

 leads to unusually high temperatures in winter, resulting in significant temperature variations between land and the Barents Sea and in fluctuating temperatures during high winds. Cyclone
Cyclone
In meteorology, a cyclone is an area of closed, circular fluid motion rotating in the same direction as the Earth. This is usually characterized by inward spiraling winds that rotate anticlockwise in the Northern Hemisphere and clockwise in the Southern Hemisphere of the Earth. Most large-scale...

s are typical during the cold seasons, while the warm seasons are characterized by anticyclone
Anticyclone
An anticyclone is a weather phenomenon defined by the United States' National Weather Service's glossary as "[a] large-scale circulation of winds around a central region of high atmospheric pressure, clockwise in the Northern Hemisphere, counterclockwise in the Southern Hemisphere"...

s. Monsoon
Monsoon
Monsoon is traditionally defined as a seasonal reversing wind accompanied by corresponding changes in precipitation, but is now used to describe seasonal changes in atmospheric circulation and precipitation associated with the asymmetric heating of land and sea...

 winds are common in most areas, with southern and southwestern winds typical in winter months and with somewhat more pronounced eastern winds in summer. Strong storm
Storm
A storm is any disturbed state of an astronomical body's atmosphere, especially affecting its surface, and strongly implying severe weather...

 winds blow for 80–120 days a year.

Precipitation
Precipitation (meteorology)
In meteorology, precipitation In meteorology, precipitation In meteorology, precipitation (also known as one of the classes of hydrometeors, which are atmospheric water phenomena is any product of the condensation of atmospheric water vapor that falls under gravity. The main forms of precipitation...

 levels on the peninsula are rather high: 1000 millimetres (39.4 in) in the mountains, 600 millimetre on the Murman Coast, and 500 millimetre in other areas. The wettest months are August through October, while March and April are the driest.

The average temperature in January is about -10 C, with more cold temperatures typical in the central parts of the peninsula. The average temperature in July is about 11 °C (51.8 °F). Record lows reach -50 C in the central parts and -35 C on the coasts. Record highs exceed 30 °C (86 °F) almost on all the territory of the peninsula. First frosts can strike as early as August and may last through May and even June.

Flora and fauna



The peninsula is covered by taiga
Taiga
Taiga , also known as the boreal forest, is a biome characterized by coniferous forests.Taiga is the world's largest terrestrial biome. In North America it covers most of inland Canada and Alaska as well as parts of the extreme northern continental United States and is known as the Northwoods...

 in the south and tundra
Tundra
In physical geography, tundra is a biome where the tree growth is hindered by low temperatures and short growing seasons. The term tundra comes through Russian тундра from the Kildin Sami word tūndâr "uplands," "treeless mountain tract." There are three types of tundra: Arctic tundra, alpine...

 in the north. In tundra, the cold and windy conditions and permafrost
Permafrost
In geology, permafrost, cryotic soil or permafrost soil is soil at or below the freezing point of water for two or more years. Ice is not always present, as may be in the case of nonporous bedrock, but it frequently occurs and it may be in amounts exceeding the potential hydraulic saturation of...

 limit the growth of the trees, resulting in landscape dominated by grasses, wildflowers, and shrubs such as dwarf birch and cloudberry. In northern coastal areas, stony and shrub lichen
Lichen
Lichens are composite organisms consisting of a symbiotic organism composed of a fungus with a photosynthetic partner , usually either a green alga or cyanobacterium...

s are common. The taiga in the southern areas is composed mostly of pine trees
Pine
Pines are trees in the genus Pinus ,in the family Pinaceae. They make up the monotypic subfamily Pinoideae. There are about 115 species of pine, although different authorities accept between 105 and 125 species.-Etymology:...

 and fir
Fir
Firs are a genus of 48–55 species of evergreen conifers in the family Pinaceae. They are found through much of North and Central America, Europe, Asia, and North Africa, occurring in mountains over most of the range...

s.

Reindeer
Reindeer
The reindeer , also known as the caribou in North America, is a deer from the Arctic and Subarctic, including both resident and migratory populations. While overall widespread and numerous, some of its subspecies are rare and one has already gone extinct.Reindeer vary considerably in color and size...

 herds visit the grasslands in summer. Other animals include polar bear
Polar Bear
The polar bear is a bear native largely within the Arctic Circle encompassing the Arctic Ocean, its surrounding seas and surrounding land masses. It is the world's largest land carnivore and also the largest bear, together with the omnivorous Kodiak Bear, which is approximately the same size...

s, red
Red Fox
The red fox is the largest of the true foxes, as well as being the most geographically spread member of the Carnivora, being distributed across the entire northern hemisphere from the Arctic Circle to North Africa, Central America, and the steppes of Asia...

 and Arctic fox
Arctic fox
The arctic fox , also known as the white fox, polar fox or snow fox, is a small fox native to Arctic regions of the Northern Hemisphere and is common throughout the Arctic tundra biome. The Greek word alopex, means a fox and Vulpes is the Latin version...

es, wolverine
Wolverine
The wolverine, pronounced , Gulo gulo , also referred to as glutton, carcajou, skunk bear, or quickhatch, is the largest land-dwelling species of the family Mustelidae . It is a stocky and muscular carnivore, more closely resembling a small bear than other mustelids...

s, moose
Moose
The moose or Eurasian elk is the largest extant species in the deer family. Moose are distinguished by the palmate antlers of the males; other members of the family have antlers with a dendritic configuration...

, otter
Otter
The Otters are twelve species of semi-aquatic mammals which feed on fish and shellfish, and also other invertebrates, amphibians, birds and small mammals....

s, and lynx
Lynx
A lynx is any of the four Lynx genus species of medium-sized wildcats. The name "lynx" originated in Middle English via Latin from Greek word "λύγξ", derived from the Indo-European root "*leuk-", meaning "light, brightness", in reference to the luminescence of its reflective eyes...

 in the southern areas. American mink
American Mink
The American mink is a semi-aquatic species of Mustelid native to North America, though human intervention has expanded its range to many parts of Europe and South America. Because of this, it is classed as Least Concern by the IUCN. Since the extinction of the sea mink, the American mink is the...

s, which were released near the Olenitsa River in 1935–1936, are now common throughout the peninsula and are commercially hunted. Beaver
Beaver
The beaver is a primarily nocturnal, large, semi-aquatic rodent. Castor includes two extant species, North American Beaver and Eurasian Beaver . Beavers are known for building dams, canals, and lodges . They are the second-largest rodent in the world...

s, which became endangered by 1880, were re-introduced in 1934–1957. All in all, thirty-two species of mammal
Mammal
Mammals are members of a class of air-breathing vertebrate animals characterised by the possession of endothermy, hair, three middle ear bones, and mammary glands functional in mothers with young...

s and up to two hundred bird species inhabit the peninsula.

Twenty-nine species of fresh water fish are recognized on the territory of peninsula, including trout
Trout
Trout is the name for a number of species of freshwater and saltwater fish belonging to the Salmoninae subfamily of the family Salmonidae. Salmon belong to the same family as trout. Most salmon species spend almost all their lives in salt water...

, stickleback
Stickleback
The Gasterosteidae are a family of fish including the sticklebacks. FishBase currently recognises sixteen species in the family, grouped in five genera. However several of the species have a number of recognised subspecies, and the taxonomy of the family is thought to be in need of revision...

, Northern pike
Northern Pike
The northern pike , is a species of carnivorous fish of the genus Esox...

, and European perch
European perch
The European perch, Perca fluviatilis, is a predatory species of perch found in Europe and Asia. In some areas it is known as the redfin perch or English perch, and it is often known simply as perch. The species is a popular quarry for anglers and has been widely introduced beyond its native area,...

. The rivers are an important habitat for the Atlantic salmon
Atlantic salmon
The Atlantic salmon is a species of fish in the family Salmonidae, which is found in the northern Atlantic Ocean and in rivers that flow into the north Atlantic and the north Pacific....

, which return from Greenland
Greenland
Greenland is an autonomous country within the Kingdom of Denmark, located between the Arctic and Atlantic Oceans, east of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. Though physiographically a part of the continent of North America, Greenland has been politically and culturally associated with Europe for...

 and the Faroe Islands
Faroe Islands
The Faroe Islands are an island group situated between the Norwegian Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, approximately halfway between Scotland and Iceland. The Faroe Islands are a self-governing territory within the Kingdom of Denmark, along with Denmark proper and Greenland...

 to spawn in fresh water. As a result of this a recreational fishery has been developed, with a number of remote lodges and camps available to host sport-fishermen. The Kandalaksha Nature Reserve, established in 1932 to protect the population of Common Eider
Common Eider
The Common Eider, Somateria mollissima, is a large sea-duck that is distributed over the northern coasts of Europe, North America and eastern Siberia. It breeds in Arctic and some northern temperate regions, but winters somewhat farther south in temperate zones, when it can form large flocks on...

, is located in the Kandalaksha Gulf of the Kola Peninsula.

Hydrology


The Kola Peninsula has many small but fast-moving rivers with rapids. The most important of them are the Ponoy
Ponoy River
Ponoy River is a river on the Kola Peninsula in Russia. It is 426 km in length. The area of its basin is 15,500 km².-Geography:...

, Varzuga
Varzuga River
Varzuga River is a river in the south of the Kola Peninsula in Murmansk Oblast, Russia. It is 254 km in length. The area of its basin is 9,840 km². The Varzuga River flows into the White Sea. It freezes up in October and stays under the ice until May.This is the most prolific atlantic...

, Umba
Umba River (Russia)
Umba is a 123 km long river on the Kola Peninsula, Murmansk Oblast, Russia.-Geography:The river's source is Lake Umbozero, 100 km northeast of Kandalaksha, located between the mountains of the Khibiny Massif and the Lovozero Tundras on the Kola Peninsula. From there it flows south,...

, Teriberka
Teriberka River
Teriberka River is a river in the north of the Kola Peninsula in Murmansk Oblast, Russia. It is 127 km in length, and flows into the Barents Sea about 50 km east of Murmansk. The area of its drainage basin is 2,227 km²....

, Voronya
Voronya River
Voronya River is a river on the Kola Peninsula in Murmansk Oblast, Russia. It is 155 km in length. The area of its drainage basin is 9,940 km². The Voronya River flows out of Lake Lovozero and into the Barents Sea....

, and the Yokanga. Most rivers originate from lakes and swamps and collect their waters from melting snow. The rivers become icebound during the winter, although the areas with strong rapids freeze later or not at all.

Major lakes include Imandra
Lake Imandra
Imandra is a lake in the south-western part of the Kola Peninsula in Murmansk Oblast, Russia, slightly beyond the Arctic circle. It is located 127 m above sea level; its area is about 876 km², maximum depth is 67 m. The shape of the shore line is complicated. There are a number of islands and the...

, Umbozero, and Lovozero. There are no lakes with an area smaller than 0.01 square kilometre (0.00386102158592535 sq mi).

Ecology


The Kola Peninsula as a whole suffered major ecological damage, mostly as a result of pollution from the military (particularly naval) production, industrial mining of apatite
Apatite
Apatite is a group of phosphate minerals, usually referring to hydroxylapatite, fluorapatite, chlorapatite and bromapatite, named for high concentrations of OH−, F−, Cl− or Br− ions, respectively, in the crystal...

, and military nuclear waste. About 137 active and 140 decommissioned or idle naval nuclear reactors, produced by the Soviet military, remain on the peninsula. For thirty years, nuclear waste had been dumped into the sea by the Northern Fleet and Murmansk Shipping Company. There is also evidence of contamination from the 1986 Chernobyl disaster
Chernobyl disaster
The Chernobyl disaster was a nuclear accident that occurred on 26 April 1986 at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in Ukraine , which was under the direct jurisdiction of the central authorities in Moscow...

, with contaminants being found in the flesh of reindeer and other animals. Additionally, several nuclear weapons test ranges and radioactive waste
Radioactive waste
Radioactive wastes are wastes that contain radioactive material. Radioactive wastes are usually by-products of nuclear power generation and other applications of nuclear fission or nuclear technology, such as research and medicine...

 storage facilities exist on the peninsula.

The main industrial pollution sources are Pechenganikel in Zapolyarny
Zapolyarny, Murmansk Oblast
Zapolyarny is a town in Pechengsky District of Murmansk Oblast, Russia, located on the Kola Peninsula, south of the Kola Superdeep Borehole project. Population: The area where the town is located belonged to Finland in 1920–1944...

 and MMC Norilsk Nickel
MMC Norilsk Nickel
MMC Norilsk Nickel is a nickel and palladium mining and smelting company. Its largest operations are located in the Norilsk–Talnakh area, in northern Russia. MMC stands for "Mining and Metallurgical Company"....

 in Monchegorsk
Monchegorsk
Monchegorsk is a town in Murmansk Oblast, Russia, located on the Kola Peninsula, south of Murmansk, the administrative center of the oblast. Administratively, it is incorporated as Monchegorsk Town with Jurisdictional Territory—a unit of administrative division equal in status to that of a district...

—the large smelters
Smelting
Smelting is a form of extractive metallurgy; its main use is to produce a metal from its ore. This includes iron extraction from iron ore, and copper extraction and other base metals from their ores...

 responsible for over 80% of the sulfur dioxide
Sulfur dioxide
Sulfur dioxide is the chemical compound with the formula . It is released by volcanoes and in various industrial processes. Since coal and petroleum often contain sulfur compounds, their combustion generates sulfur dioxide unless the sulfur compounds are removed before burning the fuel...

 emissions and for nearly all nickel
Nickel
Nickel is a chemical element with the chemical symbol Ni and atomic number 28. It is a silvery-white lustrous metal with a slight golden tinge. Nickel belongs to the transition metals and is hard and ductile...

 and copper
Copper
Copper is a chemical element with the symbol Cu and atomic number 29. It is a ductile metal with very high thermal and electrical conductivity. Pure copper is soft and malleable; an exposed surface has a reddish-orange tarnish...

 emissions.

Early history


In the 3rd millennium B.C.E., the peninsula was settled by the peoples who arrived here from the south (the territory of modern Karelia
Karelia
Karelia , the land of the Karelian peoples, is an area in Northern Europe of historical significance for Finland, Russia, and Sweden...

). By the end of the 1st millennium C.E.
1st millennium
File:1st millennium montage.png|From left, clockwise: Depiction of Jesus, the central figure in Christianity; The Colosseum, a landmark of the once Roman Empire; Gunpowder is invented during the latter part of the millennium, in China; Chess, a new board game, takes on popularity across the globe;...

, the peninsula was settled only by the Sami people
Sami people
The Sami people, also spelled Sámi, or Saami, are the arctic indigenous people inhabiting Sápmi, which today encompasses parts of far northern Sweden, Norway, Finland, the Kola Peninsula of Russia, and the border area between south and middle Sweden and Norway. The Sámi are Europe’s northernmost...

, who did not have their own state, lived in clan
Clan
A clan is a group of people united by actual or perceived kinship and descent. Even if lineage details are unknown, clan members may be organized around a founding member or apical ancestor. The kinship-based bonds may be symbolical, whereby the clan shares a "stipulated" common ancestor that is a...

s ruled by elders
Elder (administrative title)
The term Elder is used in several different countries and organizations to indicate a position of authority...

, and were engaged mostly in deer herding and fishing. In the 12th century, Russian Pomors
Pomors
Pomors or Pomory are Russian settlers and their descendants on the White Sea coast. It is also term of self-identification for the descendants of Russian, primarily Novgorod, settlers of Pomorye , living on the White Sea coasts and the territory whose southern border lies on a watershed which...

 from the shores of Onega Bay
Onega Bay
The Onega Bay is located in [the Republic of Karelia and Arkhangelsk Oblast in Northwestern Russia, west of the city of Arkhangelsk. It is the southernmost of four large bays and gulfs of the White Sea, the others being the Dvina Bay, the Mezen Bay, and the Kandalaksha Gulf. The area of the bay is...

 and in the lower reaches of the Northern Dvina River discovered the peninsula and its game
Game (food)
Game is any animal hunted for food or not normally domesticated. Game animals are also hunted for sport.The type and range of animals hunted for food varies in different parts of the world. This will be influenced by climate, animal diversity, local taste and locally accepted view about what can or...

 and fish
Fish
Fish are a paraphyletic group of organisms that consist of all gill-bearing aquatic vertebrate animals that lack limbs with digits. Included in this definition are the living hagfish, lampreys, and cartilaginous and bony fish, as well as various extinct related groups...

 riches. The Pomors organized regular hunting and fishing visits and started barter trade
Barter
Barter is a method of exchange by which goods or services are directly exchanged for other goods or services without using a medium of exchange, such as money. It is usually bilateral, but may be multilateral, and usually exists parallel to monetary systems in most developed countries, though to a...

 with the Sami. They also called the White Sea
White Sea
The White Sea is a southern inlet of the Barents Sea located on the northwest coast of Russia. It is surrounded by Karelia to the west, the Kola Peninsula to the north, and the Kanin Peninsula to the northeast. The whole of the White Sea is under Russian sovereignty and considered to be part of...

 coast of the peninsula Tersky Coast
Tersky Coast
The Tersky Coast is a coastal area in Murmansk Oblast in northwest Russia. It is located on the northern side of the White Sea, between mouth of Varzuga River and Cape Svyatoy Nos...

, or Terskaya Land .

By the end of the 12th century, the Pomors explored all northern coast of the peninsula and reached Finnmark
Finnmark
or Finnmárku is a county in the extreme northeast of Norway. By land it borders Troms county to the west, Finland to the south and Russia to the east, and by water, the Norwegian Sea to the northwest, and the Barents Sea to the north and northeast.The county was formerly known as Finmarkens...

 (area in the north of Norway), necessitating the Norwegians to support a naval guard in that area. The name Pomors gave to the northern coast was "Murman"—a distorted form of "Norman
Normans
The Normans were the people who gave their name to Normandy, a region in northern France. They were descended from Norse Viking conquerors of the territory and the native population of Frankish and Gallo-Roman stock...

".

Novgorodians


Pomors were soon followed by the tribute
Tribute
A tribute is wealth, often in kind, that one party gives to another as a sign of respect or, as was often the case in historical contexts, of submission or allegiance. Various ancient states, which could be called suzerains, exacted tribute from areas they had conquered or threatened to conquer...

 collectors from the Novgorod Republic
Novgorod Republic
The Novgorod Republic was a large medieval Russian state which stretched from the Baltic Sea to the Ural Mountains between the 12th and 15th centuries, centred on the city of Novgorod...

, and the Kola Peninsula gradually became a part of the Novgorodian lands. A 1265 treaty of Yaroslav Yaroslavich with Novgorod mentions Tre Volost
Tre Volost
Tre Volost was a territorial division of the Novgorod Republic.It was first mentioned in a 1265 treaty of Yaroslav Yaroslavich with Novgorod, and was later also mentioned in other documents dated as late as 1471....

 , which is later also mentioned in other documents dated as late as 1471.

In addition to Tre, the Novgorodian documents of the 13th–15th centuries also mention Kolo Volost
Kolo Volost
Kolo Volost was a territorial division of the Novgorod Republic.It was first mentioned in the 13th century. The last documentary mention of the volost was in the 15th century....

, which bordered Tre approximately along the line between Kildin Island
Kildin Island
Kildin is a small Russian island in the Barents Sea, off the Russian shore and about 120 km from Norway. Administratively, Kildin belongs to the Murmansk Oblast of the Russian Federation....

 and Turiy Headland
Headland
A headland is a point of land, usually high and often with a sheer drop, that extends out into a body of water.Headland can also refer to:*Headlands and bays*headLand, an Australian television series...

 of the Turiy Peninsula
Turiy Peninsula
Turiy Peninsula is peninsula located in Murmansk Oblast, Russia. It is the biggest peninsula on the south of Kola Peninsula. It protrudes into the White Sea, with Sosnovaya Bay to the west, and Karzh Bay to the ost.- Sources :*...

. Kolo Volost laid to the west of that line, while Tre was situated to the east of it.

By the 13th century, the need for a formal border between the Novgorod Republic and the Scandinavian countries became evident. The Novgorodians, along with the Karelians
Karelians
The Karelians are a Baltic-Finnic ethnic group living mostly in the Republic of Karelia and in other north-western parts of the Russian Federation. The historic homeland of Karelians includes also parts of present-day Eastern Finland and the formerly Finnish territory of Ladoga Karelia...

 who came from the south, reached the coast of what is now Pechengsky District
Pechengsky District
Pechengsky District is an administrative and municipal district , one of the five in Murmansk Oblast, Russia. It is located to the northwest of the Kola Peninsula on the coast of the Barents Sea and borders with Finland in the south and southwest and with Norway in the west, northwest, and north...

 and the portion of the coast of Varangerfjord
Varangerfjord
The Varangerfjord in the county of Finnmark, is the easternmost fjord in Norway. It is approximately long. In a strict sense, it is a false fjord, as it does not have the hallmarks of a fjord carved by glaciers....

 near the Voryema River
Jakobselva (Sør-Varanger)
The Jakobselva is a river on the border of Sør-Varanger municipality in Finnmark, Norway, and Murmansk Oblast in Russia.The river is also known as the Grense Jakobselv River...

, which is now a part of Norway. The Sami population was forced to pay tribute. The Norwegians, however, were also attempting to take control of these lands, which often resulted in armed conflicts. In 1251, a conflict between the Karelians, Novgorodians, and the servants of the king of Norway lead to the establishment of a Novgorodian mission in Norway. Also in 1251, the first treaty with Norway was signed in Novgorod
Veliky Novgorod
Veliky Novgorod is one of Russia's most historic cities and the administrative center of Novgorod Oblast. It is situated on the M10 federal highway connecting Moscow and St. Petersburg. The city lies along the Volkhov River just below its outflow from Lake Ilmen...

 regarding the Sami lands and the system of tribute collections, making the Sami people pay tribute to both Novgorod and Norway. By the terms of the treaty, the Novgorodians could collect tribute from the Sami as far as Lyngen
Lyngen
Lyngen is a municipality and a fjord in Troms county, Norway. The administrative centre of the municipality is the village of Lyngseidet.- General information :...

fjord in the west, while Norwegians could collect tribute on the territory of the whole Kola Peninsula except for the eastern part of Tersky Coast. No state borders were established by the 1251 treaty.

The treaty lead to a short period of peace, but the armed conflicts resumed soon thereafter. Chronicles document attacks by the Novgorodians and the Karelians on Finnmark and northern Norway as early as 1271, and continuing well into the 14th century.

The official border between the Novgorod lands and the lands of Sweden
Sweden
Sweden , officially the Kingdom of Sweden , is a Nordic country on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe. Sweden borders with Norway and Finland and is connected to Denmark by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund....

 and Norway was established by the Treaty of Nöteborg
Treaty of Nöteborg
Treaty of Nöteborg, also known as Treaty of Oreshek , is a conventional name for the peace treaty that was signed at Orekhovets on August 12, 1323. It was the first settlement between Sweden and Novgorod Republic regulating their border...

 on August 12, 1323. The treaty primarily focused on the Karelian Isthmus
Karelian Isthmus
The Karelian Isthmus is the approximately 45–110 km wide stretch of land, situated between the Gulf of Finland and Lake Ladoga in northwestern Russia, to the north of the River Neva . Its northwestern boundary is the relatively narrow area between the Bay of Vyborg and Lake Ladoga...

 border and the border north of Lake Ladoga
Lake Ladoga
Lake Ladoga is a freshwater lake located in the Republic of Karelia and Leningrad Oblast in northwestern Russia, not far from Saint Petersburg. It is the largest lake in Europe, and the 14th largest lake by area in the world.-Geography:...

.

Another treaty dealing the matters of the northern borders was the Treaty of Novgorod signed with Norway in 1326, which ended the decades of the Norwegian-Novgorodian border skirmishes in Finnmark. Per the terms of the treaty, Norway relinquished all claims to the Kola Peninsula. However, the treaty did not address the situation with the Sami people paying tribute to both Norway and Novgorod, and the practice continued until 1602.

While the 1326 treaty did not define the border in detail, it confirmed the 1323 border demarcation, which remained more or less unchanged for the next six hundred years, until 1920.

In the 15th century, Novgorodians started to establish permanent settlements on the peninsula. Umba
Umba, Russia
Umba is an urban locality in Tersky District of Murmansk Oblast, Russia, located on the Kola Peninsula at the point where the Umba River flows into the Kandalaksha Gulf. Population:...

 and Varzuga
Varzuga (rural locality)
-External links:*Official website of the Government of Murmansk Oblast. , map and information * *...

, the first documented permanent settlements of the Novgorodians, date back to 1466. Over time, all coastal areas to the west of the Pyalitsa River had been settled, creating a territory where the population was mostly Novgorodian. Administratively, this territory was divided into Varzuzhskaya
Varzuzhskaya Volost
Varzuzhskaya Volost was an administrative division of the Novgorod Republic and later of the Grand Duchy of Moscow, Tsardom of Russia, and the Russian Empire. Its seat was in Varzuga....

 and Umbskaya Volost
Umbskaya Volost
Umbskaya Volost was an administrative division of the Novgorod Republic and later of the Grand Duchy of Moscow, Tsardom of Russia, the Russian Empire, and the Russian SFSR. Its seat was in Umba....

s, which were governed by a posadnik
Posadnik
Posadnik was the mayor in some East Slavic cities or towns. Most notably, the posadnik was the mayor of Novgorod and Pskov...

 from the area of the Northern Dvina.

The Novgorod Republic lost control of both of these volosts to the Grand Duchy of Moscow
Grand Duchy of Moscow
The Grand Duchy of Moscow or Grand Principality of Moscow, also known in English simply as Muscovy , was a late medieval Rus' principality centered on Moscow, and the predecessor state of the early modern Tsardom of Russia....

 after the Battle of Shelon
Battle of Shelon
The Battle of Shelon was a decisive battle between the forces of the Grand Duchy of Moscow under Ivan III and the army of the Novgorod Republic, which took place on the Shelon River on July 14, 1471. Novgorod suffered a major defeat and ended with the de facto unconditional surrender of the city...

 in 1471, and the republic itself ceased to exist in 1478 when Ivan III
Ivan III of Russia
Ivan III Vasilyevich , also known as Ivan the Great, was a Grand Prince of Moscow and "Grand Prince of all Rus"...

 took the city of Novgorod. All Novgorod territories, including those on the Kola Peninsula, became a part of the Grand Duchy of Moscow.

Russian settlement


The Russian migration to the peninsula continued into the 16th century, when new settlements such as Kandalaksha
Kandalaksha
Kandalaksha is a town in Kandalakshsky District of Murmansk Oblast, Russia, located at the head of Kandalaksha Gulf on the White Sea, beyond the Arctic Circle. Population: 40,564 ; -History:The settlement has existed since the 11th century...

, Kovda, Knyazhaya Guba
Knyazhaya Guba
Knyazhaya Guba is the rural locality in Kandalakshskiy District of Murmansk Oblast, Russia. The village is located beyond the Arctic circle, on the Kola Peninsula. Located at a height of 53 m above sea level....

, and Porya-Guba were established. Pechenga Monastery
Pechenga Monastery
The Pechenga Monastery was for many centuries the northernmost monastery in the world. It was founded in 1533 at the influx of the Pechenga River into the Barents Sea, 135 km west of modern Murmansk, by St...

 was established in 1533, and Kola
Kola (town)
Kola is a town and the administrative center of Kolsky District of Murmansk Oblast, Russia, located at the confluence of the Kola and Tuloma Rivers, south of Murmansk and southwest of Severomorsk. It is the oldest town of the Kola Peninsula. Population: 11,060 ; -History:The district of Kolo...

 was first mentioned in 1565.

In the end of the 15th century, the Pomors and the Sami people were forced into serfdom
Serfdom
Serfdom is the status of peasants under feudalism, specifically relating to Manorialism. It was a condition of bondage or modified slavery which developed primarily during the High Middle Ages in Europe and lasted to the mid-19th century...

, mostly by the monasteries. Monastery votchina
Votchina
Votchina or otchina was an East Slavic land estate that could be inherited. The term "votchina" was also used to describe the lands of a knyaz.The term originated in the law of Kievan Rus...

s
greatly expanded during the 17th century, but were abolished in 1764, when all of the Kola Peninsula peasants became state peasants.

In the second half of the 16th century, King Frederick II
Frederick II of Denmark
Frederick II was King of Denmark and Norway and duke of Schleswig from 1559 until his death.-King of Denmark:Frederick II was the son of King Christian III of Denmark and Norway and Dorothea of Saxe-Lauenburg. Frederick II stands as the typical renaissance ruler of Denmark. Unlike his father, he...

 of Denmark–Norway
Denmark–Norway
Denmark–Norway is the historiographical name for a former political entity consisting of the kingdoms of Denmark and Norway, including the originally Norwegian dependencies of Iceland, Greenland and the Faroe Islands...

 demanded the Tsardom of Russia
Tsardom of Russia
The Tsardom of Russia was the name of the centralized Russian state from Ivan IV's assumption of the title of Tsar in 1547 till Peter the Great's foundation of the Russian Empire in 1721.From 1550 to 1700, Russia grew 35,000 km2 a year...

 to cede the peninsula. Russia declined, and in order to organize adequate defenses established the position of a voyevoda. The voyevoda sat in Kola, which became an administrative center of the region. Prior to that, the administrative duties were performed by the tax collectors from Kandalaksha. Newly established Kolsky Uyezd
Kolsky Uyezd
Kolsky Uyezd was an administrative division of the Tsardom of Russia and later of the Russian Empire.-16th–17th centuries:Russian expansion to the Kola Peninsula can be traced to the early 16th century when the Russian monk Trifon founded an Orthodox monastery at Pechenga...

 covered most of the territory of the peninsula (with the exception of Varzuzhskaya and Umbskaya Volosts, which were a part of Dvinsky Uyezd), as well as the northern part of Karelia all the way to Lendery.

Despite the economic activity, permanent settlement of the peninsula did not intensify until the 1860s and even then it remained sporadic until 1917. 1887 saw an influx of Komi
Komi peoples
The Komi people is an ethnic group whose homeland is in the north-east of European Russia around the basins of the Vychegda, Pechora and Kama rivers. They mostly live in the Komi Republic, Perm Krai, Murmansk Oblast, Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Okrug, and Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug in the Russian...

 and Nenets people
Nenets people
The Nenets are an indigenous people in Russia. According to the latest census in 2002, there are 41,302 Nenets in the Russian Federation, most of them living in the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug and Nenets Autonomous Okrug...

 who were migrating to the peninsula to escape a reindeer disease epidemic in their home lands and bringing their large deer herds with them, resulting in increased competition for the grazing lands, a conflict between the Komi and the Sami, and in the marginalization of the local Sami population. By the end of the 19th century, the Sami population had mostly been forced north, with ethnic Russians settling in the south of the peninsula. The village of Lovozero became the cultural center of the Sami people.

In 1896, Alexandrovsk was founded, which grew in size so quickly that it was granted town status in 1899 and Kolsky Uyezd was renamed Alexandrovsky
Alexandrovsky Uyezd
Alexandrovsky Uyezd was an administrative division of Arkhangelsk Governorate of the Russian Empire and later of the Russian SFSR.The origins of Alexandrovsky Uyezd trace back to Kolsky Uyezd, which existed on this territory since the early 16th century until , 1858, when Tsar Alexander II...

 on that occasion. In 1916, Romanov-na-Murmane (modern Murmansk
Murmansk
Murmansk is a city and the administrative center of Murmansk Oblast, Russia. It serves as a seaport and is located in the extreme northwest part of Russia, on the Kola Bay, from the Barents Sea on the northern shore of the Kola Peninsula, not far from Russia's borders with Norway and Finland...

) was founded,; it quickly grew to become the largest city on the peninsula.

Soviet and modern periods


Soviet power was established on the territory of the peninsula on , 1917, but the territory was occupied by the Triple Entente
Triple Entente
The Triple Entente was the name given to the alliance among Britain, France and Russia after the signing of the Anglo-Russian Entente in 1907....

 forces in March 1918–March 1920. Alexandrovsky Uyezd was transformed into Murmansk Governorate
Murmansk Governorate
Murmansk Governorate was an administrative division of the early Russian SFSR which existed in 1921–1927. The governorate was established on the territory of former Alexandrovsky Uyezd of Arkhangelsk Governorate by the All-Russian Central Executive Committee Decree issued on June 13, 1921...

 by the Soviet government in June 1921. On August 1, 1927, the All-Russian Central Executive Committee
All-Russian Central Executive Committee
All-Russian Central Executive Committee , was the highest legislative, administrative, and revising body of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic. Although the All-Russian Congress of Soviets had supreme authority, in periods between its sessions its powers were passed to VTsIK...

 (VTsIK) issued two Resolutions: "On the Establishment of Leningrad Oblast" and "On the Borders and Composition of the Okrugs of Leningrad Oblast", according to which Murmansk Governorate was transformed into Murmansk Okrug
Murmansk Okrug
Murmansk Okrug was an administrative division of the Russian SFSR, Soviet Union, which existed in 1927–1938.-Creation:The okrug was established on August 1, 1927, when the All-Russian Central Executive Committee issued two Resolutions: "On the Establishment of Leningrad Oblast" and "On the...

 (which was divided into six districts) and included into Leningrad Oblast
Leningrad Oblast
Leningrad Oblast is a federal subject of Russia . It was established on August 1, 1927, although it was not until 1946 that the oblast's borders had been mostly settled in their present position...

. This arrangement existed until May 28, 1938, when the okrug
Okrug
Okrug is an administrative division of some Slavic states. The word "okrug" is a loanword in English, but it is nevertheless often translated as "area", "district", or "region"....

 was separated from Leningrad Oblast, merged with Kandalakshsky District of the Karelian ASSR
Karelian ASSR
The Karelian ASSR was an autonomous republic of the Russian SFSR, Soviet Union, with the capital in Petrozavodsk.The Karelian ASSR was formed as a part of the Russian SFSR by the Resolution of the Presidium of the All-Russian Central Executive Committee of June 27, 1923 and by the Decree of...

, and transformed into Murmansk Oblast
Murmansk Oblast
Murmansk Oblast is a federal subject of Russia , located in the northwestern part of Russia. Its administrative center is the city of Murmansk.-Geography:...

.

All in all, the Soviet period saw a significant increase in population (799,000 in 1970 vs. 15,000 in 1913), although most of the population remained concentrated in the urban localities along the railroads and the sea coast. Most of the sparsely populated territories outside the urbanized areas are used for deer herding. In 1920–1940, two new towns (Kirovsk
Kirovsk, Murmansk Oblast
Kirovsk , known as Khibinogorsk until 1934, is a town in Murmansk Oblast, Russia, located at the spurs of the Khibiny Massif on the shores of the Lake Bolshoy Vudyavr, south of Murmansk...

 and Monchegorsk
Monchegorsk
Monchegorsk is a town in Murmansk Oblast, Russia, located on the Kola Peninsula, south of Murmansk, the administrative center of the oblast. Administratively, it is incorporated as Monchegorsk Town with Jurisdictional Territory—a unit of administrative division equal in status to that of a district...

) and twelve work settlements
Urban-type settlement
Urban-type settlement ; , selyshche mis'koho typu ) is an official designation for a type of locality used in some of the countries of the former Soviet Union...

 were established on the peninsula.

The Sami people
Sami people
The Sami people, also spelled Sámi, or Saami, are the arctic indigenous people inhabiting Sápmi, which today encompasses parts of far northern Sweden, Norway, Finland, the Kola Peninsula of Russia, and the border area between south and middle Sweden and Norway. The Sámi are Europe’s northernmost...

s were subject to forced collectivization
Collective farming
Collective farming and communal farming are types of agricultural production in which the holdings of several farmers are run as a joint enterprise...

, and in 1928–1930 more than half of their reindeer herds were collectivized. In addition, the traditional Sami herding practices were phased out in favor of the more economically profitable Komi approach, which emphasized permanent settlements over free herding. Since the Sami culture is strongly tied to the herding practices, this resulted in the Sami people gradually losing their language and traditional herding knowledge. Most Sami were forced to settle in the village of Lovozero; those resisting the collectivization were subject to forced labor or death. Various forms of repression against the Sami continued until Stalin
Joseph Stalin
Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin was the Premier of the Soviet Union from 6 May 1941 to 5 March 1953. He was among the Bolshevik revolutionaries who brought about the October Revolution and had held the position of first General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union's Central Committee...

's death in 1953. In the 1990s, 40% of the Sami lived in urbanized areas, although some herd reindeer across much of the region.

The Sami were not the only people subject to repressions. Thousands of people were sent to Kola in the 1930s–1950s, and in 2007 over two thousand people—descendants of those forcibly sent here—still live on the peninsula.

Population


Historically, due to its northern location, the peninsula's population had been sparse: in 1913, for example, only about 13,000–15,000 people lived there; mostly along the shores. However, the discovery of the vast natural resources deposits and industrialization efforts led to an explosive population growth during the Soviet times. In 1930, for example, a single Sami family lived in the area of modern Monchegorsk, but by 1938 the population grew to 34,000. By 1970, the population of the peninsula was around 799,000. The trend reverted in the 1990s, after the dissolution of the Soviet Union
Dissolution of the Soviet Union
The dissolution of the Soviet Union was the disintegration of the federal political structures and central government of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , resulting in the independence of all fifteen republics of the Soviet Union between March 11, 1990 and December 25, 1991...

. The population of the whole Murmansk Oblast went down from to

As per the 2002 Census results, the majority of the population was Russians
Russians
The Russian people are an East Slavic ethnic group native to Russia, speaking the Russian language and primarily living in Russia and neighboring countries....

 (85.2%), Ukrainians
Ukrainians
Ukrainians are an East Slavic ethnic group native to Ukraine, which is the sixth-largest nation in Europe. The Constitution of Ukraine applies the term 'Ukrainians' to all its citizens...

 (6.4%), and Belarusians
Belarusians
Belarusians ; are an East Slavic ethnic group who populate the majority of the Republic of Belarus. Introduced to the world as a new state in the early 1990s, the Republic of Belarus brought with it the notion of a re-emerging Belarusian ethnicity, drawn upon the lines of the Old Belarusian...

 (2.3%). Other groups of notice include Karelians
Karelians
The Karelians are a Baltic-Finnic ethnic group living mostly in the Republic of Karelia and in other north-western parts of the Russian Federation. The historic homeland of Karelians includes also parts of present-day Eastern Finland and the formerly Finnish territory of Ladoga Karelia...

 (~2,200 inhabitants), Komi
Komi peoples
The Komi people is an ethnic group whose homeland is in the north-east of European Russia around the basins of the Vychegda, Pechora and Kama rivers. They mostly live in the Komi Republic, Perm Krai, Murmansk Oblast, Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Okrug, and Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug in the Russian...

 (~2,200), and Sami (~1,800).

Historical background


During the 15th–16th centuries, the main occupations of the Tersky coast population were Atlantic salmon
Atlantic salmon
The Atlantic salmon is a species of fish in the family Salmonidae, which is found in the northern Atlantic Ocean and in rivers that flow into the north Atlantic and the north Pacific....

 fishing, seal
Pinniped
Pinnipeds or fin-footed mammals are a widely distributed and diverse group of semiaquatic marine mammals comprising the families Odobenidae , Otariidae , and Phocidae .-Overview: Pinnipeds are typically sleek-bodied and barrel-shaped...

 hunting, and the extraction of salt from the sea water. The salt extraction in Kandalaksha and Kola was mostly carried out by the monasteries in Pechenga and Solovki
Solovetsky Monastery
Solovetsky Monastery was the greatest citadel of Christianity in the Russian North before being turned into a special Soviet prison and labor camp , which served as a prototype for the GULag system. Situated on the Solovetsky Islands in the White Sea, the monastery braved many changes of fortune...

, and for a long time remained the only "industry" on the peninsula.

By the mid-16th century, Atlantic cod
Atlantic cod
The Atlantic cod, Gadus morhua, is a well-known demersal food fish belonging to the family Gadidae. It is also commercially known as cod, codling or haberdine....

 fishing developed on the Murman coast in the north. The 1560s saw rapid growth of international trade, with the Russian merchants from different regions of the country arriving to the peninsula to trade with the merchants from the Western Europe. In 1585, however, the trade was moved to Archangel
Arkhangelsk
Arkhangelsk , formerly known as Archangel in English, is a city and the administrative center of Arkhangelsk Oblast, Russia. It lies on both banks of the Northern Dvina River near its exit into the White Sea in the north of European Russia. The city spreads for over along the banks of the river...

, although the settlement of Kola was still permitted to trade locally produced goods.

During the 17th century, the salt extraction activities gradually went into decline as the locally produced salt was uncompetitive with cheap salt produced in the Kama River
Kama River
Kama is a major river in Russia, the longest left tributary of the Volga and the largest one in discharge; in fact, it is larger than the Volga before junction....

 regions. Extensive poaching also lead to the significantly reduced outputs from pearl hunting
Pearl hunting
Pearl hunting or pearl diving refers to a largely obsolete method of retrieving pearls from pearl oysters, freshwater pearl mussels and, on rare occasions, other nacre-producing molluscs, such as abalone.-History:...

. However, commercial deer herding became more popular, although its share in the economy remained negligible until the 19th century. By the end of the 17th century, the practice of seasonal fishing and hunting settlements in the north of the peninsula became very common.

In 1732, large deposits of silver
Silver
Silver is a metallic chemical element with the chemical symbol Ag and atomic number 47. A soft, white, lustrous transition metal, it has the highest electrical conductivity of any element and the highest thermal conductivity of any metal...

 in native form were discovered on Medvezhy Island in the Kandalaksha Gulf and copper, silver, and gold
Gold
Gold is a chemical element with the symbol Au and an atomic number of 79. Gold is a dense, soft, shiny, malleable and ductile metal. Pure gold has a bright yellow color and luster traditionally considered attractive, which it maintains without oxidizing in air or water. Chemically, gold is a...

 deposits were found in the lower reaches of the Ponoy River. However, despite the efforts ongoing for the next two centuries, there was no commercial success.

At the end of the 18th century, the local population learned the practice of peat
Peat
Peat is an accumulation of partially decayed vegetation matter or histosol. Peat forms in wetland bogs, moors, muskegs, pocosins, mires, and peat swamp forests. Peat is harvested as an important source of fuel in certain parts of the world...

 production from the Norwegians
Norwegians
Norwegians constitute both a nation and an ethnic group native to Norway. They share a common culture and speak the Norwegian language. Norwegian people and their descendants are found in migrant communities worldwide, notably in United States, Canada and Brazil.-History:Towards the end of the 3rd...

 and started using peat for heating. Timber cutting industry developed in the region at the end of the 19th century; mostly in Kovda and Umba.

The Soviet era saw drastic industrialization and militarization of the peninsula. In 1925–1926, significant deposits of apatite
Apatite
Apatite is a group of phosphate minerals, usually referring to hydroxylapatite, fluorapatite, chlorapatite and bromapatite, named for high concentrations of OH−, F−, Cl− or Br− ions, respectively, in the crystal...

 were discovered in the Khibiny Massif, and only a few years later, in 1929, the first apatite batch was shipped. In 1930, sulfide deposits were discovered in the Moncha area
Monchegorsk
Monchegorsk is a town in Murmansk Oblast, Russia, located on the Kola Peninsula, south of Murmansk, the administrative center of the oblast. Administratively, it is incorporated as Monchegorsk Town with Jurisdictional Territory—a unit of administrative division equal in status to that of a district...

; in 1932–1933 iron ore deposits were found near the upper streams of the Iona River; and in 1935, significant deposits of titanium
Titanium
Titanium is a chemical element with the symbol Ti and atomic number 22. It has a low density and is a strong, lustrous, corrosion-resistant transition metal with a silver color....

 ores were discovered in the area of modern Afrikanda
Afrikanda (rural locality)
Afrikanda is the rural locality in Polyarnye Zori municipality of Murmansk Oblast, Russia. The village is located beyond the Arctic circle, on the Kola Peninsula...

.

The collectivization efforts in the 1930s lead to the concentration of the reindeer herds in kolkhoz
Kolkhoz
A kolkhoz , plural kolkhozy, was a form of collective farming in the Soviet Union that existed along with state farms . The word is a contraction of коллекти́вное хозя́йство, or "collective farm", while sovkhoz is a contraction of советское хозяйство...

es, which, in turn, were further consolidated into a few large-scale state farms in the late 1950s–early 1970s. By the mid-1970s, the state farms were further consolidated into just two, based in Lovozero and Krasnoshchelye
Krasnoshchelye
Krasnoshchelye is the rural locality in Lovozersky District of Murmansk Oblast, Russia. The village is located beyond the Arctic circle, on the Kola Peninsula. Located at a height of 157 m above sea level....

. The consolidations were justified by the necessity to isolate the herders from the military installation and the need to flood some territories to construct hydroelectric plants
Hydroelectricity
Hydroelectricity is the term referring to electricity generated by hydropower; the production of electrical power through the use of the gravitational force of falling or flowing water. It is the most widely used form of renewable energy...

.

Modern economy


Today the Kola Peninsula is the most industrially developed and urbanized region in northern Russia. The major port of the peninsula is Murmansk
Murmansk
Murmansk is a city and the administrative center of Murmansk Oblast, Russia. It serves as a seaport and is located in the extreme northwest part of Russia, on the Kola Bay, from the Barents Sea on the northern shore of the Kola Peninsula, not far from Russia's borders with Norway and Finland...

, which serves as the administrative center of Murmansk Oblast
Murmansk Oblast
Murmansk Oblast is a federal subject of Russia , located in the northwestern part of Russia. Its administrative center is the city of Murmansk.-Geography:...

 and does not freeze in winter. During the Soviet period, Murmansk was a significant submarine production center, and remains home to the Russian Northern Fleet
Northern Fleet
The Red Banner Northern Fleet is a unit of the Russian Navy that has access to the Barents and Norwegian Seas, the Arctic and Atlantic Oceans, and is responsible for the defense of northwestern Russia. It was established in 1937 as part of the Soviet Navy...

.

The peninsula has the highest concentration of nuclear weapons, reactors, and facilities in Russia, with the number of nuclear reactors alone exceeding any other region of the world.

The Kola Mining and Metallurgical Company, a division of MMC Norilsk Nickel
MMC Norilsk Nickel
MMC Norilsk Nickel is a nickel and palladium mining and smelting company. Its largest operations are located in the Norilsk–Talnakh area, in northern Russia. MMC stands for "Mining and Metallurgical Company"....

, conducts mining operations on the peninsula.

Sources