Pierre Louis Moreau de Maupertuis made an expedition to the Tornionlaakso Valley in 1736 1737. His aim was by measuring a degree of latitude along a line of longitude to investigate whether the earth was flattened at its poles. King Louis XV of France financed the expedition that carried out the measurements during one year, an amazing achievement considering the instruments and methods of the time.
The expedition drew attention to Northern Scandinavia in Central Europe.
The journals and research literature offered the contemporaries access
to the life in the Tornionlaakso Valley. For later generations up to
the present times these works have supplied detailed information of
the life, housing, customs and people of the 18th century. Inspired
by the works of de Maupertuis and Outhier many travellers have set out
for the Tornionlaakso Valley. In the vicinity of Tornio Church and on
the top of the Kittisvaara fell in Pello monuments have been erected
to commemorate the expedition led by de Maupertuis. The motif of the
coat of arms of Pello municipality has been inspired by the expedition.