From the 8th to the 11th century a commercial route from India passed through Novgorod to the Baltic, and Arabian coins found in Sweden, and particularly in the island of Gotland, prove how closely the enterprise of the Northmen and of the Arabs intertwined.
The connecting link between the western and the eastern Baltic was the isle of Gotland, where German merchants from Lubeck had established a depot (the later Visby)_ The fur-trade with the Esthonians and Livonians proved so lucrative that a German colony was planted in Livonia itself at what was afterwards Riga, and in 1201 for its better security the colony was converted into a bishopric. A still firmer footing was gained by the Germans on Livonian soil when Abbot Theoderick of Riga founded the order of the Sword (a foundation confirmed by the pope in 1204), whose duty it was to convert the heathen Esths and Livs and appropriate as much of their land in the process as possible.
VISBY, or Wisby, the capital of the Swedish island and administrative district (lain) of Gotland, in the Baltic Sea.
Modern buildings include the Gotland museum of antiquities, and the high school, with a museum and library.
It is the headquarters of the army division of Gotland troops, and there are some modern forts.
See Gotland and SEA Laws.
From time immemorial the isle of Gotland had been the staple of the Baltic trade, and its capital, Visby, whose burgesses were more than half German, the commercial intermediary between east and west, was the wealthiest city in northern Europe.
The conquest of Gotland at once led to a war between Valdemar and Sweden allied with the Hanseatic towns; but in the spring of 1362 Valdemar repulsed from the fortress of Helsingborg a large Hanseatic fleet provided with "shooting engines" (cannon) and commanded by Johan Wittenburg, the burgomaster of Lubeck.
On the other hand, in Scandinavian countries it continued in use through the greater part of the middle ages - in Gotland till the 16th century; indeed, the knowledge of it seems never to have wholly died out.
Even so, by the peace of Bromsebro (February 8, 1645) Denmark surrendered the islands of Oesel and Gotland and the provinces of Jemteland and Herjedal (in Norway) definitively, and Halland for thirty years.
Frisian and Saxon merchants from Soest, Bardowiek and other localities in Lower Germany, who already navigated the Baltic and had their factory in Gotland, settled in the new town, where Wendish speech and customs never entered.
In connexion with the Germans at Visby, the capital of Gotland, and at Riga, where they had a house from 1231, the people of Lubeck with their armed vessels scoured the sea between the Trave and the Neva.
About i 1,000 pieces came from the island of Gotland, some dating from 901-924, but the majority are later.
Of the large islands in the Baltic and Cattegat, besides Oland, only Gotland is Swedish.
The island of Gotland consists entirely of this formation, which occurs also in some parts of the province of Kristianstad.
Athletic sports are in high favour, especially such winter sports as snow-shoeing (ski), and, among ball games, lawn-tennis, and to some extent football, together with the game of park, peculiar to Gotland, are played.
But the richest locality as regards ancient ecclesiastical architecture is the island of Gotland (q.v.).
Marstrand near Gothenburg is one of the most fashionable; Stromstad, Lysekil and Varberg on the same coast, Ronneby on the Baltic, with its chalybeate springs, Visby the capital of Gotland, and several villages in the neighbourhood of Stockholm may also be noted.
A legal parcelling (lager skifte) was introduced in 1827 and slowly carried out in the face of considerable local opposition; indeed, in the island of Gotland the system could not be enforced until 1870-1880.
The Gotland, an old native light yellow breed, survives in the island of Gotland.
The centre of the beetsugar industry is Skane, but it is also carried on in the island of Gotland; its great access of prosperity is chiefly owing to the existence of a protective duty on imported sugar.
There are six divisions, quartered at Helsingborg, Linkoping, Skofde, Stockholm (two), and Hernosand; in addition to the Gotland troops quartered at Visby.
In the case of the Goths a connexion with Gotland is not unlikely, since it is clear from archaeological evidence that this island had an extensive trade with the coasts about the mouth of the Vistula in early times.
The first, or Bornholm deep, lies east of the island of Bornholm, and is separated from the next, or Gotland deep, by the Middelbank.
Beyond the Middelbank the Danziger Tiefe, an isolated depression, lies to the south-east, while to the northeast the Gotland basin, the largest and deepest of all, extends north-eastwards to the Gulf of Finland.
Along the Swedish coast a deep channel runs northward from outside the island of Oland; this is entirely cut off to the south and east by a bank which sweeps eastward and northward from near Karlskrona, and on which the island of Gotland stands, but it communicates at its northern end with the Gotland deep, and near the junction opposite Landsort is the deepest hole in the Baltic (420 metres = 2 3 o fathoms).
The Gotland deep may be said to extend directly into the Gulf of Finland, an arm of the Baltic, running eastwards for about 250 m., and separating Finland from Esthonia.
Gotland she purchased from its actual possessors, Albert of Mecklenburg and the Livonian Order, and the greater part of Schleswig was regained in the same way.
Many species of Scalpellum from the Wenlock shale of Gotland were described in 1892 by C. W.