Espoo (, Finnish: [ˈespoː]; Swedish: Esbo) is a city and municipality in the region of Uusimaa in the Republic of Finland. It is located on the northern shore of the Gulf of Finland, bordering the cities of Helsinki, Vantaa, Kirkkonummi, Vihti and Nurmijärvi while surrounding the enclaved town of Kauniainen. The city covers 528.03 square kilometres (203.9 sq mi) with a population of about 300,000 residents in 2022, making it the 2nd-most populous city in Finland. Espoo forms a major part of a substantially larger metropolitan area known as Greater Helsinki, home to over 1.5 million people in 2020.
Espoo was first settled in the Prehistoric Era, with the first signs of human settlements going back as far as 8,000 years, but the population effectively disappeared in the early stages of the Iron Age. In the Early Middle Ages, the area was resettled by Tavastians and Southwestern Finns. After the Northern Crusades, Swedish settlers started migrating to the coastal areas of present-day Finland, and Espoo was established as a self-governing Catholic parish in the 15th century. In the aftermath of the Finnish War, the establishment of Helsinki as the new capital of the Russian-controlled Grand Duchy of Finland in 1812 greatly benefited the development of the municipality. However, the area remained largely agrarian, until the 20th century. Espoo experienced rapid urbanization and major demographic changes in the decades following World War II, with Finnish superseding Swedish as the language of the majority around 1950. The municipality became a market town in 1963 and gained city status in 1972.
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