It was the trade with the East that originally gave importance to the city of Visby in Gotland.
VISBY, or Wisby, the capital of the Swedish island and administrative district (lain) of Gotland, in the Baltic Sea.
The name Visby is derived from the old Norse y e (sanctuary) and by (town).
The Germans first penetrated into Livonia in the 11th century, and in 1158 several Lubeck and Visby merchants landed at the mouth of the Dvina.
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.
In July 1361 Valdemar set sail from Denmark at the head of a great fleet, defeated a peasant army before Visby, and a few days later the burgesses of Visby made a breach in their walls through which the Danish monarch passed in triumph.
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.
Before the close of the century the statutes of Lubeck were adopted by most Baltic towns having a German population, and Visby protested in vain against the city on the Trave having become the court of appeal for nearly all these cities, and even for the German settlement in Russian Novgorod.
Though the great federal armament against Waldemar IV., the destroyer of Visby, was decreed by the city representatives assembled at Cologne in 1367, Lubeck was the leading spirit in the war which ended with the surrender of Copenhagen and the peace concluded at Stralsund on the 24th of May 1370.
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.
Between Stockholm and Visby navigation usually ceases at the end of December and begins again about the 10th of April.