Welcome to Gotland!

Limestone field Langhammars Fårö

Important years in Gotland' s history


430 000 000 BC The continent of Baltic by the Equator is covered with coral reefs and tropical seas. The first of Gotland' s limestone are formed here. 

9 000 BC Gotland rises out of the ocean.

7 000 BC Gotland is populated, according to the Guta Saga, Tjelvar was the first man on Gotland. 

5 500 - 2 500 BC Tjelvars relatives has settled in small clusters along Gotlands contemporary coast line and on Stora Karlsö the large bird island west of Gotland.  

3rd century Somebody unknown carves a rune into a spear edge on Gotland, one of Sweden' s oldest runes. 

1029 Olav Haraldson lands at St Olofsholm (north-east on Gotland) (to christian the Gotlanders. 200 years later a chapel is built in his memory. Today the western part of the chapels wall is dating back to those days. 

12th century Gotlands intense era of constructing lime stone churches is strating. All together there was built almost one hundred of them. The churches (that still remains intact and in use!) were actually all built during a period of only 250 years, considering the amount it is a short time. In Visby there were 17 churches built, today there are 13 ruins left and the intact and well frequented Cathedral of St Mary. 

Around 1150 The Hanseatic league is established, some of the Hanseatic cities are: Visby in Gotland, Lübeck in Germany, Tallinn in Estonia and Bergen in Norway.

1164 The Cistencienser monastery in Romakloster in the middle of Gotland is inaugurated. The head monastery is located in Clairvaux in France and monks lived for nearly 400 years in the wealthy monastery Beatae Maria de Gutnalia on Gotland - today a scene for theatre, blacksmiths, herbal garden and art galleries). 

1288 Civil war between the country farmers and the merchants of the Hanseatic city of Visby. The impressive city wall was constructed during this period. 

1311 and 1314 Visby is on fire according to the books of the Franciscan monks.

1350 The plague strikes Gotland.

1361 King Valdemar Atterdag of Denmark conquers Visby.  1 800 farmers from the countryside were killed outside the city wall. The inhabitants of Visby did not participate to the defense - instead they paid a toll to the Danish king - in exchange they got merchant treaty in Denmark.  

1394-1398 The Vitalians who rules under the Mecklenburg fleet are running Gotland and practicing piracy in the Baltic Sea.  

1433 Erik of Pomerania (XIII) is runned aground outside the islands of Karlsö (west of Gotland) in a terrible storm where the ships got wrecked. 

1447-1449 Erik of Pommerania who became "lack land" rules over Gotland and practices piracy in the Baltic Sea. 

16th century Danish county governors rules over Gotland beyond control from the royal administration. They invent new taxes and tolls and practice piracy in the Baltic Sea.  

1525 Visby is stormed by the military administration of L?eck who got tired of Gotlanders behavior in the Baltic Sea - in the piece treaty between Denmark and Leeck, the Swedish king Gustav Vasa loses Gotland to Denmark. 

1530-1540 The reformation is accomplished by Christian III, the Catholic church is replaced with the Lutheranian, the monasteries and convents are closed and the churches fall into decay.  

1566 The Danish-Lübeck fleet is anchored outside Visby and vanished after a storm - 2 000 men are gone. 

1572 Gotland becomes its own diocese - the Bishop gets replaced by the Superintendent. 

End of the 16th century Grey sandstone quarried on Southern Gotland is becoming an export success. However, the Danes are monopolizing the quarries of Gotland. 

17th century Thomas Erasmus Walgenstein from Vallstena on Gotland is touring in Europe with his invention Laterna Magica - a predecessor to the film projector. 

1621 The Danes form "Det Gullandske Kompani" as merchant source to all commerce with the industries on Gotland. The Gotlanders are not pleased with the export arrangements. 

1645 The piece treaty of Brömsebro - Gotland becomes Swedish after 300 years of Danish ruling. 

Mid 17th century Lime processing is becoming a more and more important industry on Gotland. 

1652-1654 Charles X Gustav had Gotland as subordinated province - meaning all incomes from the region went to his treasury. For a while he had plans to make Slite on northern Gotland to its capital - in this plan an idea of tearing down the medieval city wall of Visby.  

1653 All farms on Gotland are made an inventory of - Charles X Gustav wants to have control over his tax incomes. This register has given today's historic researchers a wealth of important information. 

1654-1667 The Queen Kristina got Gotland back as subordinated province when she abdicated in 1654, in 1667 she let Gotland out to the Dutch merchant Jacob Momma-Renstierna, who also built ship yards in Slite.  During the 1670:s there were ships built on Gotland in the same size as the Vasa. 

1680 The castle of Visborg was blown away - almost as a farewell salute from the Danes after their occupation of Gotland between 1676-1679. The Swedes, who could not afford a reconstruction, transported the remaining blocks of limestone to the capital of the Swedish mainland, Stockholm to build what today is the Royal Castle. During this period the King of Sweden decides that Swedish should be spoken on Gotland. 

1715-1720 Russian raids of plunder is taking place on the east coast of Gotland - Sweden's days of glory are diminishing.  

1741 The scientist Carl von Linné visits Gotland to document all its botanic treasures.

1750:s Gotland has approx 18 000 inhabitants of whom 90% lives on the countryside. 

1808 Gotland is invaded by Russians for 23 days in connection to the Finnish war (1808-1809), the landing spot was Sles near Grötlingbo on eastern Gotland.

1850:s The Krim war consequences led to expansion and large commerce in Fåröund (Straights of Fårö in northern Gotland - the little town was opened by the Swedish government for the English-French fleet. However, an epidemic of cholera breaks out  and a grave yard is established in the location of Ryssnäs on the southern part of Fårö (north of Gotland). The place can still be seen and there is a stone risen in memory of the dead. 

1855 The Botanic Garden of Visby is constructed.  

1859 A cable is connecting Gotland to the Swedish mainland with telegraph support.  

1850-1900 Agriculture is being developed - alternated growth and ditching are some improvement areas. A sugar plant is built and many farmers strats growing sugar beets.   

1866 The Steamship Company on Gotlands first passenger ferry makes her maiden voyage to the Swedish mainland. 

1878 The railway between Visby and Hemse in the middle of Gotland, is inaugurated by the King Oskar II.

1883 A person in Slite in northern Gotland could talk by telephone to somebody living in Visby. 

1896 The Tourist Association of Gotland is established.

1915 The German war vessel Albatross is fired at by Russian marines outside the islet of Östergarn on the east coast of Gotland. 30 German soldiers are buried here, at the Church of Östergarn. 

1918 Spanish flu is raging on Gotland.

1942 Gotland first commercial airport is constructed in Visby.

1944 A Russian submarine is torpedoing the passenger ship Hansa from Gotlalnd and 84 people are killed. 

1954 Electric power is connected through a pipeline cable to the Swedish mainland - the first in the world. 

1950:s Scheduled flights between Stockholm and Danzig (in Germany) stopped in Slite on northern Gotland. 

1961 Ingmar Bergman the famous film director starts shooting motion pictures on Gotland - "Persona", "Hour of the wolf", "The shame" and "scenes from a marriage are some. He also gets his own residence on Fårö. 

1971 Gotland becomes one municipality instead of 13.

1995 The Hanseatic city of Visby surrounded by the medieval city wall is listed on the World Heritage list of UNESCO. 

1996 Visby Summit - European meeting for head of governments. 

1996 Gotland is participating in the Swedish governments test with regional self government (due to 2005).

1998 The 18th modern Hanseatic Days take place in Visby with commerce, seminars and cultural events from over 20 Hanseatic cities in Europe. 

1999 The Olympics of the Islands - Island Games - with over 2000 participants from 14 countries are celebrating this sports event on Gotland. This is also the year when the world´s largest silver treasure dating Viking Age is found on northern Gotland.

2000 The high speed ferry HSC Gotland traffics Nynäshamn (south of Stockholm) and Visby all year around (except from January) - a lot thanks to lobby efforts from Gotland' s governor - Mrs. Lillemor Arvidsson. (The ride takes 2.45 hrs with fast ferry and 6 hrs with ordinary ferry.) 

2001 - Spring During the official 6-month period that Sweden is host for the EU chairmanship, Visby has 7 meetings and conferences. Visby is second leading after Stockholm in frequency of hosting meetings - the conclusion made is that Visby and Gotland is a very popular destination for official meetings.

2003 - December: Gotland turns a historic page in its chronicle by having three fast ferries operating the passenger- and cargo transports between Gotland and the Swedish mainland. At its most the route takes 3 hrs from the ports of Nynäshamn or Oskarshamn. The vessels are two SF1500 and one SF700, they provide Gotland with one of the world's most modern sea operating system.

2006 - Congratulations Carl von Linné on your 300th birthday.