Gotland ( / ɡ ɒ t l ə n d / ; Swedish pronunciation: [ɡɔtland] ( listen ) ,  older spellings include Gottland / ɡ ɒ t l ə n d / or Gothland / ɡ ɒ .theta the ə n d / ,  ), Gutland in the local dialect Gutnish , is a province , county , municipality , and diocese of Sweden . It is Sweden’s largest island .     The province includes the small islands of Fårö and Gotska Sandön to the north, Karlsö Islands ( Lilla and Stora ) to the west. The population is 58,003,  of which about 23,600 live in Visby , the main town.  The island of Gotland and the other areas of the province of Gotland make up one of Sweden’s total land area.
The island’s main sources of income are farming along with food processing, tourism, information technology services, design, and some heavy manufacturing such as production from locally mined limestone .  From a military viewpoint, it occupies a strategic location in the Baltic Sea .
The island is the home of the Gutes , and sites such as the Ajvide Settlement show that it has been occupied since prehistory .  A DNA study conducted on the 5,000-year-old skeletal remains of the Middle Neolithic seal hunters from Gotland, which was related to modern-day Finns, while a farmer from Gökhem parish in Västergötland on the mainland was found more closely related to modern-day Mediterraneans. This is about the spread of agricultural peoples from the Middle East at about that time. 
Early on, Gotland became a commercial center, with the town of Visby the most important Hanseatic city in the Baltic Sea.  In the late medieval times, the island had 20 short districts ( tings ), each represented by its elected judge at the island-ting, called landsting . New laws have been decided at the landsting, which also took decisions concerning the island as a whole. 
Gutasaga contains legends of how the island was settled by Þieluar and populated by his descendants. It is also known as a third of the population in Europe, a tradition associated with the migration of the Goths , whose name has the same origin as Gutes , the native name of the people of the island. It is more likely that the Gutes voluntarily submitted to the king of Sweden and asserts that the submission is based on mutual agreement, and notes the duties and obligations of the Swedish King and Bishop in relationship to Gotland.  According to some historians, it is therefore an effort not only to write down the history of Gotland, but also to assert Gotland’s independence from Sweden.
It gives Awair Strabain the mutually beneficial agreement with the king of Sweden; the event would have taken place before the end of the 9th century, when Wulfstan of Hedeby reported that the island was subject to the Swedes:
The Discovery of Muscovy –
- Blekingey , and Meore , and Eowland , and Gotland, part of the land of the Burgundians , which is subject to the Sweons ; and Weonodland was all the way on our right, as far as Weissel -mouth. 
The city of Visby and the rest of the island were driven by the German market in Visby and the peasants they traded with in the countryside had to be put down by King Magnus III of Sweden in 1288. [ 18] In 1361, Valdemar Atterdag of Denmark invaded the island.  The Victual Brothers occupied the island in 1394 to set up a stronghold in their headquarters in Visby. At last, Gotland became a fief of the Teutonic Knights , awarded to them on the condition that they expel the piratical Victual Brothers from their fortified sanctuary. An invading army of Teutonic Knights conquered the island in 1398, destroying Visby and driving the Victual Brothers from Gotland. In 1409, Grand Master Ulrich von Jungingen of the Teutonic Knights guaranteed peace with the Kalmar Union of Scandinavia by selling the island of Gotland to Queen Margaret of Denmark, Norway and Sweden . 
The number of Arab dirhams on the island of Gotland alone is astoundingly high. In the various hoards located around the island, there are more than one place in Western Eurasia . The total sum is as great as it has been unearthed in the entire Muslim world.  These corners Moved north through trade entre Rus merchants and the Abbasid Caliphate , along the Silver-Fur Road , and the money made by Scandinavian merchants Would help northern Europe, Especially Viking Scandinavia and the Carolingian Empire, as major commercial centers for the next several centuries. 
The Berezan ‘Runestone , discovered in 1905 in Ukraine, was made by a Varangian ( Viking ) trader named Grani in memory of his business partnerKarl. It is assumed that they were from Gotland. 
The Mästermyr chest , an important artifact from the Viking Age , was found in Gotland.  
The authority of the landsting was successively erected after the island was occupied by the Teutonic Order, then sold to Eric of Pomerania and after 1449 ruled by Danish governors.  In late medieval times, the ting of twelve representatives for the farmers, free-holders or tenants. Since the Treaty of Brömsebro in 1645, the island has remained under Swedish rule.  
On September 19, 1806, the Swedish government issued sovereignty of the Gotland to the Order of St. John of Jerusalem , which had been expelled from Malta in 1798, but the Order rejected it. The Order never resumed its territory, and eventually it reestablished itself in Rome as the Sovereign Military Order of Malta . 
On 22 April 1808, during the Finnish War between Sweden and Russia, a Russian army landed on the southeastern shores of Gotland near Grötlingbo . Under command of Nikolaus Andrejevich Bodisco 1,800 Russians took the city of Visby without any engagement, and occupied the island. A Swedish naval force rescue ship was sent from Karlskrona under the command of Admiral Rudolf Cederström with 2,000 men; the island was liberated and the Russians capitulated. Russian forces left the island on 18 May 1808.
On July 16 , 1999, the world’s largest Viking silver treasure, the Spillings Hoard , was found in a field at the Spillings farm northwest of Slite . [ 67 ] The weight of a total of 67 kg (148 lb.) (27 kg (60 lb) and 40 kg (88 lb)), and about 14,000, from foreign countries, mostly Islamic.  It also contained about 20 kg (44 lb) of bronze objects along with numerous everyday objects such as nails, glass beads, parts of tools, pottery, iron bands and clasps. The treasure was found by a metal detector, and the finders fee, given to the farmer who owned the land, was over 2 million crowns (about US $ 308,000). The treasure was found almost by accident while filming a news report for TV4 about illegal treasure hunting on Gotland. 
The traditional provinces of Sweden serve as administrative and political purposes, but are historical and cultural entities. In the case of Gotland, however, due to its insular position, the administrative county ( län ), Gotland County , and the municipality ( kommun ), Gotland Municipality , both cover the same territory as the province. Moreover, the diocese of Visby is also congruent with the province.   
Gotland is traditionally divided into 92 sockens . 
Gotland Was Granted icts arms in about 1560.  The coat of arms is a ducal coronet Represented with. Blazon: “Azure has a ruler with a golden army.” Or holding on a cross-staff of the same “Gules bordered and with five tails of the third.” The county was granted the same coat of arms in 1936. The municipality, created in 1971, uses the same picture, but with other tinctures .
The Gotlandic flag displays the Gotlandic coat of arms, known on the 13th century in the shape of the seal of the Gutnish Republic with the proud ram. It reads: “Gutenses signo xpistus signatur in agno”.
Gotland is Sweden’s largest island, and it is the largest island fully encompassed by the Baltic Sea (with Denmark’s Zealand at the Baltic’s edge).     With its total area of 3,183.7 km 2(1.229.2 sq mi) The island of Gotland and the other areas of the province of Gotland make up 0.8% of Sweden’s total land area.  The province includes the small islands of Fårö and Gotska Sandön to the north, and the Karlsö Islands, (Lilla and Stora) to the west, which are even smaller. The island of Gotland has 2,994 km 2 (1.156 sq mi), while the province has 3,183.7 km 2 (1,229.2 sq mi) [3,151 km2 (1,217 sq mi) of land excluding the lakes and rivers.  The population is 57,221,  of which about 23,600 live in Visby, the seat of the municipality and the capital of the county.  About two-fifths of the island’s population live in Visby.
Gotland is located about 90 km (56 mi) from the Baltic states , Latvia being the nearest. Gotland is the name of the island, but the following is considered part of Gotland and the Gotlandic culture:
- Gotska Sandön , a National park of Sweden
- The Karlsö Islands ( Karlsö Stora and Lilla Karlsö )
- Laus holmar
There are several shallow lakes located near the shores of the island. The biggest is Lake Bästeträsk , located near Fleringe in the northern part of Gotland.
Gotland contains many popular beaches, such as Tofta Strand, and Hundfria strand. The Hoburg Shoal bird reserve is situated on the southern tip of the island. 
The highest point of the island Lojsta Hed which stalls 82 m (269 ft) above sea level.
Gotland has a semi-continental variety of a marine climate . This results in a larger size than normal in the Baltic Sea for large distances in all directions. This is due to strong continental winds tracking the sea from surrounding great landmasses.
|[ hide ]Climate data for Visby, temperature 2002-2015, precipitation 1961-1990 (sunshine 2002-2014)
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Gotland is made of a sequence of sedimentary rocks of a Silurian age, dipping to the south-east. The main Silurian succession of limestones and shales included thirteen units spanning 200 to 500 m (660 to 1,640 ft) of stratigraphic thickness, being thick in the south, and overlies to 75 to 125 m (246 to 410 ft) thick Ordovician sequence. 
It was deposited in a shallow, hot and salty sea, on the edge of an equatorial continent.  The water depth never exceeded 175 to 200 m (574 to 656 ft),  and shallowed over time as bioherm detritus, and terrestrial sediments, filled the basin. Reef growth started in the Llandovery , when the sea was 50 to 100 m (160 to 330 ft), and reefs continued to dominate the sedimentary record.  Some sandstones are present in the rocks to the south of the island, which represent sand bars deposited close to the shore line. 
The lime rocks have been weathered into characteristic karstic rock formations known as rauks . Fossils, mainly rugose corals and brachiopods , are abundant throughout the island; palæo- sea-stacks are preserved in places. 
The island’s main sources of income are farming along with food processing, tourism, IT solutions, design and some heavy manufacturing such as production from locally mined limestone . Most of Gotland’s economy is based on small scale production.  In 2012, there were over 7,500 registered companies on Gotland.  1,500 of these had more than one employee. Gotland has the world’s largest vineyard and winery, located in Hablingbo .  
|[ show ]Gotlands largest employers in 2015 
Main article: Military on Gotland
World War II era Kulsprutebunker(Machine gun bunker) located near Brucebo, Gotland County
Gotland occupies a strategic location in the Baltic sea from a defense viewpoint. The Swedish government decided in March 2015 to begin a permanent military presence on Gotland, starting with an initial 150 troop garrison,  primarily of elements of the Swedish Army . It has been reported that the bulk of this initial warfare will have a new motorized rifle battalion, alternatively referred to as a “modular-structured rapid response army response”. A later report has been submitted to an advanced stage for a squadron helicopter supportand an Air Force “fast response Gripen squadron jet” to also be based on the island to support the new garrison and further reinforce the defenses.  Prior to the disbandment of the original garrison, there had been a continuous Swedish presence on Gotland in one form or another, for nearly 200 years. 
A 2005 photo of 4 IFVs ( Stridsfordon 90 ) during an exercise at Tofta skjutfält
After the standing down of the original garrison, a battalion of the Swedish Home Guard is based on Gotland for emergencies as part of the Eastern Military Region ( MR E ). The unit, 32: Gotlandsbataljonen (the 32nd Gotland Battalion), acts as a reserve component of the Swedish Amphibious Corps .  Among the residual war reserve stocks were reported in Gotland in March 2015, were 14 tanks  ( Stridsvagn 122s ) at the Tofta skjutfält (Tofta firing range),   but without any crews or dedicated personal maintenance assigned to them.
Gotland currently has no local air defense capability.  Despite its importance as a naval base in the past,  as of 2004 , there are no naval units based on Gotland.  Swedish military experts have criticized the defense of Gotland as not being adequate to defend the island. 
The Tofta firing range itself (also known as the Tofta Tank firing range) is 8 km (5.0 mi) south of Visby. Another less common name for the range is the Toftasjön firing range. Tracing its origins back to 1898, as of 2008 the range extended over 2,700 acres (11 km 2 ). It was a major training and storage facility for the Gotland garrison during its existence, and was still occasionally used for training by the armed forces since the garrison was shut down in 2005. However, from the second half of 2014 onwards, there has been a marked increase, especially by armored units (mostly company sized), in Northeastern Europe have escalated. At least one of the buildings on the range, the former tank repair shop , is currently owned by a private company ( Peab ), with the military renting back the top floor for its own use. 
When held by the military, one of the most notable being the Gotland Grand National , the world’s largest enduro race. 
The first modern day tourists came to Gotland during the 19th century and were known as “bathers”.  Gotland became very popular with socialites at the time through Princess Eugenie who lived in Västerhejde , in the west part of the island from the 1860s.  
When camping was a popular pastime among the Swedes, and in 1955, Gotland was visited by 80,000 people.  In the 1970s mostly young people were attracted to Gotland. Since 2010 the island has become a more versatile spot visited by people from all over the world, in all manner of ways. 
Gotland is one of Sweden’s most noted tourist destinations. In 2001 it was the fifth largest tourist destination in Sweden based on the total number of guest nights.  Gotland is usually the part of Sweden which receives the most hours of sunlight during a year with Visby statistically the location with the most sunshine in Sweden.  In 2007 approximately 750,000 people visited Gotland. 
In 1996, ferries between Gotland and mainland Sweden carried more than 1 million passengers in a year. In 2007, the number of passengers exceeded 1.5 million.  In 2012, the ferries had 1,590,271 passengers and the airlines 327,255 passengers. 
|[ show ]Number of tourists from top five countries in 2012 
Cruise ship and new pier
The port of call on Gotland is Visby. The city is visited by a number of cruise ships every year.   About Baltic Sea with Visby as one of their destinations.  In 2005, 147 ships docked at Visby, in 2010 the number was 69.  In 2014, 62 ships are scheduled to visit Visby.  Visby harbor is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world.  Ships must anchor a fair distance from shore, which is not possible during bad weather. In 2007, the first proposal for a new pier at Visby harbor, was made.  In 2011, the topic of the new pier was discussed in the Riksdag  and in 2012 research and planning for the pier began.  In January 2014 a letter of intent for a new arrival in Copenhagen was signed by Gotland Region and Copenhagen Malmö Port (CMP). The estimated cost is 250 million crowns (about US $ 38.52 million).  
A number of stones with grooves exist on Gotland. Archaeologists interpret these grooves as traces of an industrial process in the High Middle Ages . There are approximately 3,700 grinding grooves, of which about 750 occur in the solid limestone outcrop and the rest in other rock formations. The latter often consists of granite or gneiss, but also soft rocks such as sandstone occur.  Grinding grooves are also found in Skåne, Southern Sweden and Finland. Astronomer Göran Henriksson dates from these grinding grooves to the Stone Age, from c. 3300 BCE to c. 2000 BCE, based on astronomical alignments,  ALTHOUGH His methodology has-been Heavily Criticized. 
The Medieval town of Visby has been designated as a site of the UNESCO World heritage program. An impressive feature of Visby is the fortress that surrounds the old city, dating from the 13th century. 
The inhabitants of Gotland traditionally spoke their own language, known as Gutnish . Today however, they have adapted to a dialect of Swedish that is known as “Gotländska”. 
In the 13th century, a work containing the laws of the island, called “Gotlandic law” (Gutalagen), was published in the ancient Gutnish language. 
Gotland is Noted for ict 94 medieval churches ,  MOST of qui are restored and in active use. These churches exhibit two major styles of architecture: Romanesque and Gothic . The older churches were constructed in the Romanesque style from 1150-1250. The newer churches were constructed in the Gothic architectural style that prevailed from about 1250-1400. The oldest painting on one of the churches on Gotland stretches as far back in time as the 12th century. 
Traditional games of skill like Kubb , Pärk , and Varpa are played on Gotland. They are part of what is called “Gutniska Lekar”, and are performed on the Midsummer’s Eve celebration on the island, but throughout the summer months. The games have widespread renown; Some of them are played by the United States. 
The knotwork design subsequently named the ” Valknut ” has The Most attested historic instances we picture stones in Gotland, qui include being white on Both the Stora Hammars I and the Tängelgårda stones .  Gotland also has a rich heritage of folklore, including myths about the bysen , Di sma undar jordi , Hoburgsgubben and the Martebo lights .  
Gotland gives its name to the traditional farmhouse ale Gotlandsdricka , a turbid beer with much in common with Finnish sahti , and related beers from the Baltic states . 
Ingmar Bergman & Sven Nykvist
Princess Leonore, Duchess of Gotland, 2014.
- Christopher Polhem , father of Swedish mechanical physics
- Ingmar Bergman , film director
- Håkan Loob , form NHL player
- Lennart Eriksson , punk rock musician
- Susanne Alfvengren , singer
- Serious , death metal band
- Thomas Löfkvist , cyclist
- Theresa Andersson , singer, composer, musician
- Hjördis Petterson , actress
- Tove Edfeldt , actress
- Einar Englund , compose
- Babben Larsson , comedian
- Håkan Nesser , author
- Jonas Jonasson , journalist, writer
Dukes and Duchesses of Gotland
Main article: Duke of Gotland
- Prince Oscar 1859-1888 (lost title)
- Princess Leonore 2014-
- Gotland competes in the biennial Island Games , which it hosted in 1999 .  They will host the games for a second time in 2017 . 
- Round Gotland Race -Sailing Event (“ÅF Offshore Race”) starting at Stockholm, around the island of Gotland and back. 
- Grand National Gotland (GGN) is an annual enduro race on Gotland. GGN is a part of the Swedish enduroklassikern (enduro classics, Ränneslättsloppet, Stångebroslaget and Gotland Grand National). GNN is the world’s largest enduro race.  
- Stånga Games are annual games for Gotlandic sports. The games are held in Stånga . The games are unofficially called “the Gotland Olympic Games”. Some of the sports at the Stånga Games are pärk , varpa and caber toss . 
In 2012, there were 171 registered sports organizations on Gotland. 
Gotland has two senior women’s sports teams playing in the first third: basketball team Visby Ladies Basketball Club (in Basketligan dam ) and floorball team Endre IF (in the Swedish Super League).   Visby Ladies won the Swedish Championship in 2005. 
Football in the province is managed by Gotlands Fotbollförbund . The leading football club is FC Gute , playing in the fourth-tier league Division 2 as of 2014 . 
In popular culture
The Long Ships , or Red Orm (original title: Röde Orm ), has best-selling Swedish novel written by Frans G. Bengtsson , contains a vivid description of Gotland in the Viking Age. A section of the book is devoted to a Viking ship setting out to Russia, stopping on its way to Gotland and engaging a pilot from the island who plays an important part in their journey. Gotlanders of the Viking era are depicted as a city, and more sophisticated and cosmopolitan than other Scandinavians of their time, and proud of their knowledge and skills.
Naomi Mitchison , in his autobiographical book ” You may well ask “, relates to an experience during a walking tour in Sweden: “Over in Gotland I walked again, more than I would have had the milestones been in old Swedish miles , so that my disappointing three-mile walk along the seabed under the strange ancient fortifications was really fifteen minutes “. 
The crime novels of Mari Jungstedt , featuring Detective Superintendent Anders Knutas, are set on Gotland.
In the Battlefield Vietnam video game modification Gotland Invasion , the Soviet Union invades Gotland in 1977.
For the 1989 Studio Ghibli movie, Kiki’s Delivery Service , by Hayao Miyazaki, he and other illustrators in Gotland in preparation for animation.
A number of asteroids in the main-belt are named after places on Gotland or Gotlanders, such as 10795 Babben , 3250 Martebo and 7545 Smaklösa . Most of them have been named by Swedish astronomer Claes-Ingvar Lagerkvist , a summer resident on Gotland. All the Gotlandic names are vividly described in NASA’s JPL Small-Body Database in connection with each asteroid.