The Hanseatic League
Was established during the 12th century, from the beginning an agreement among commercial families. This was later extended to other countries. The League used its position and forced non members to pay custom duties.
The farmers of Gotland objected of course as toll was charged to any seller or buyer outside of Visby - and all commerce took place in the harbour of Visby.
Visby dissolved the agreement with what became a farmer republic and created a new union with the Swedish King which gave the city his protection.
The famous City Wall was built as a protection from the angry farmers and a civil war started on Gotland in 1288.
The island was now divided in two parts, the farmer republic and the Hanseatic town on the other hand which was very influenced by German commerce.
During the Hanseatic period Visby was more important than Stockholm as a commerce and transit harbour.
After the Reformation
The 18 th century is very calm and the regents of Sweden seemed to lose interest for Gotland. During this period many roads were built and the infrastructure developed. The man in charge was Carl Otto von Swegerbaden. You will still find his initials on many milestones located all over Gotland: CovS.
A new century - 1900
Gotland was in the beginning of the 20th century a famous and well known place to visit, known for its clean air, health cures and the special light which attracted many artists. Ljugarn and Slite became two places to visit during this period. Nonconformist churches were established, the labour and union movement made a distinct entrance and the former domination of farming got competition in peoples choices of engagement.
After world war II
After the Second World War the request for limestone declined. As its most there were 20 limestone quarries. The production got a concentration in the north of the island, at the quarry of Storungs in Lärbro, where limestone still is being mined and loaded on Europe's longest transportation line - to be shipped to a final destination somewhere in the world.
During the 20th century several cement industries are established. Visby, Valleviken och Slite, where one of Europe's today largest cement factories is located.