Helsinki was founded by Swedish King Gustav in 1550 to compete with the then, fast-growing, trading city of Reval (now Tallinn, Estonia). The king ordered dwellers to transfer to Helsinki from the neighbouring towns to maximize productivity and start-up the city.
In 1809, Russia took control of Helsinki from the Swedish ruler. Due to its proximity to St. Petersburg, the then, already quite established Finnish capital Turku, lost its title to Helsinki. With a closer location to Russia for watch and control, and the defensive island of Sveaborg (now Suomenlinna), Helsinki was in the perfect position for their new planned cosmopolitan city.
In the 19th till early 20th century, Helsinki progressed in all economical aspects. Transit, construction and industrial developments emerged. More and more settlers migrated to the city fueling its rapid improvement.
Helsinki claimed global popularity when it hosted the 1952 Olympics. The city has also presented many international events from Economic conventions to the World Dog Show. It was named the 'European Capital of Culture' in the year 2000.