The history of the Archipelago Sea starts around 4500 BAC when the first land-areas raised from the sea after the ice age. The coastline still raises 4-5 mm annually.

From the very beginning humans have been an inseparable part of the environment. In the pre-historic time the archipelago provided various food recourses and this gradually lead to permanent inhabitation of the coast areas.

A community evolves

The coexistence between man and nature has evidently formed the archipelago environment as man has settled new areas. The sea and good waterway connections made it possible for the farms in the archipelago to build up an economical system which was based on trade and a combination of different livelihoods (e.g. farming, animal husbandry, fishing, hunting). The population in the archipelago increased and peaked in the beginning of the 20th century.

A structural change of the archipelago community

The archipelago started to become desolated because professional fishing decreased and people moved to larger cities and Sweden for work. The fastest desolation occurred during the 1950-1970s.

Services and small scaled industry have replaced fishery and agriculture. Also the state has an important role as employer (piloting, coast guard, customs etc.) even if its importance has decreased during the last years.

The role of tourism is increasing and it is often practiced in addition to other sources of livelihood. One challenge will be to extend the tourism-season to cover also other seasons than summer.

The number of summer and seasonal inhabitants have increased and the populations is multiplied during summer. There are about 3000 summer houses in the biosphere reserve. As the holidays are increasing and working hours are more flexible people spend more time in the archipelago. This will have effects on population structure and activities in the archipelago.

Culture in the archipelago

The nature and marine environment have also influenced traditional archipelago culture such as boat building, art, literature, house building, music as well as hunting and fishing traditions. Visitors can be acquainted with these in the visitor centers and local museums in the area.