Tree-ring data have been used to reconstruct the mean summer (April-August) temperature of northern Fennoscandia for each year from AD 500 to the present. Summer temperatures have fluctuated markedly on annual, decadal and century timescales. There is little evidence for the existence of a Medieval Warm Epoch, and the Little Ice Age seems to be confined to the relatively short period between 1570 and 1650. This challenges the popular idea that these events were the major climate excursions of the first millennium, occurring synchronously throughout Europe in all seasons. An analysis of past warming trends suggests that any summer warming induced by greenhouse gases may not be detectable in this region until after 2030.