Gustav II Adolf founded the city of Tornio in 1621. At that time Tornio was the northernmost city of the world. After the War of Finland in 1809 Sweden lost Finland to Russia and the new border was drawn to River Tornio. The village of Haparanda became a part of Sweden and Tornio a part of Russia. Haparanda benefitted from the closeness of Tornio and the newly founded customs.
Into the early twentieth century Haparanda enjoyed commercial and political significance out of proportion to its size because of its position at the mouth of the Torne river at the head of the Gulf of Bothnia. Timber and furs from across northern Scandinavia and Russia arrived by water for shipping on to the rest of the world via the Baltic.
Thomas Cook, one of the first tour operators, has defined a globetrotter in 1800s. According to him, a globetrotter has visited Timbuktu, Samarkand and Haparanda.