The earliest written source on this phenomenon dates from 1725, and describes a Russian ship buying fish in Tromsø. The Russian merchants normally traded directly with the fishermen, without a local “væreier” as intermediary, and without paying taxes to the Norwegian government. Their activity was initially banned, but it was later encouraged. The main reason for this was that the Russians came in summer, when flies made it impossible to dry fish, and the local “væreier” therefore did not buy fish. Trade with the Russians thus meant a welcome source of income for the fishermen. In exchange, they got rye, salt, peas and timber, but also luxury items like porcelain, sweets and woodcraft. Payment in cash also occurred, and the rubel actually worked as a local currency many places in northern Norway. The trade even lead to the development of a Pomor «language», which helped Russians and Norwegians understand each other. The Pomor trade dwindled after the outbreak of World War I, and the border was closed in 1917 with the Russian Revolution. According to tradition, a few Russian skippers nevertheless continued to visit their old partners in Norway well into the 1920s.