The Cape of Porkkala has throughout history been a central place with regard to the navigation in the Gulf of Finland. As early as in the Middle Ages the Danish King Waldemar II Sejr mentioned a place named Purkal in his descriptions. The Gulf of Finland was crossed at the narrowest point near Porkkala. During the 17th century a pilot station was built on Rönnskär island in front of the Cape of Porkkala and a lighthouse was erected on the same island in the year 1800.

The narrowest part of the Gulf of Finland has been a point of military interest over the years. During the first world war permanent fortifications were built on the cape and in front of it when Russia aimed at building the so-called "sea fortification of Peter the Great" as a protection for their capital St. Petersburg. The construction was interrupted by the Revolution and the fortifications in front of Porkkala were handed over to Finland when the country was declared independent.

Later on also the naval base of the Soviet Union was named after this strategic place.