Kuopio was founded twice, first in 1653 by Peter Brahe and later, which is considered to be the official foundation date, in 1775 by King Gustav III to be the capital of Savo-Karjala region. Saimaa channel opened in 1856 and the first railway to Savo region was built in 1889. These two major infrastructures opened the fast economic development of Kuopio.
Kuopio has been the home of many historical Finnish artists and cultural reformists. It was said to be the arts and cultural centre of 19th century Finland.
The war caused large devastation in the city and after the war big residential developments were needed to refugees from Karjala and surroundings. In 1946 Kuopio had some 30 000 inhabitants.
Kuopion Maalaiskunta and Riistavesi areas were assimilated into Kuopio in 1969 and 1973 respectively, thus enlarging the city area and population remarkably.