Introduction of Visby
City, port, and capital of Gotland county, on the W coast of Gotland Island . The site of a Stone Age settlement and a religious center, it was an important trading center by the end of the Stone Age. From the 10th to the 14th centuries a.d. it was a major commercial center of northern Europe and a member of the Hanseatic League. It declined after falling to the Swedes in 1280. Several times under different rulers, it finally became part of Sweden in 1645. It did not regain its commercial importance until the 19th century.