As the continental glacier melted in Finland around 8400 B.C., the first inhabitants arrived in Central Finland. During the Stone Age people would live in family villages consisting of a few dozen inhabitants, gaining a livelihood from fishing, hunting and gathering. The population of Central Finland was about 500. During the early Metal Age 1500 B.C.-300 A.D. cattle breeding and the cultivation of forest areas cleared through burning off were adopted alongside old means of livelihood and religion and the structure of society changed. During the Iron Age (600-700 A.D.) the cultivation of forest areas cleared through burning increased and trading became livelier. The Lapps who lived in Central Finland at that time had specialised in hunting animals for their furs.

Settlers arrived in the wilds of Central Finland from Häme with cultivation in fields as their source of livelihood (800-1025 A.D.) Towards the end of the Iron Age, fixed settlement in villages was established on the south shores of Lake Päijänne. In 1300 there were about 1000 inhabitants in Central Finland. During the crusades people would furnish steep natural hills with ancient strongholds as their protection, e.g. in Kuhmoinen, Jämsä and Jämsänkoski. During the crusades Sweden won for the battle for Finland.