Monday, 2 February 2015

Episode 10: July 1361 - disaster strikes Gotland

On July 22nd 1361 Danish ships were seen approaching Gotland. Danish king Valdemar Atterdag with an army of mercernaries had arrived to conquer the island. The Gotlandic farmers tried to resist but were thoroughly beaten in a battle outside the walls of Visby on July 27. Around 1800 of them were hastily buried in massgraves outside the town, much to the delight of modern archaeologists and historians.

The loss of so many men, and the following plunder of the island was disastrous for the farming community. The town Visby, a prosperous member of the Hanseatic legue did not participate in the battle that took place outside the walls, and did not let the fleeing farmers in. Instead the town surrendered without a fight and had it's priviliges renewed by the Danes.

The cross was erected on the site of the graves in the 1380s. Below archaeology early 20th century style.