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Wisby(wĭz`bē), city (1990 pop. 20,990), capital of Gotland co., SE Sweden, on Gotland Island and on the Baltic Sea. It is an industrial center and a popular resort and has a modern ice-free port. Manufactures include cement and refined sugar. The city is a Lutheran episcopal see. Visby was a pagan religious center. In the 11th cent. it became a prominent international trade center of the Hanseatic LeagueHanseatic League
, mercantile league of medieval German towns. It was amorphous in character; its origin cannot be dated exactly. Originally a Hansa was a company of merchants trading with foreign lands.
..... Click the link for more information. . An independent republic, the city was the commercial center of N Europe, minting its own coins and developing an influential international maritime code. The ruins of 10 fine churches and the restored Cathedral of St. Mary, all from the 12th and 13th cent., testify to its former greatness. Visby's decline began in 1280, when Sweden conquered Gotland while the city was suffering civil strife. It was sacked (1361) and captured (1362) by the Danes, who returned (1370) it to the Hanseatic League. Pirates made it their stronghold for the next two centuries, and its trade was taken over by Lübeck. Visby passed to Denmark in 1570, and again came under Sweden in 1645. The city only began to recover its trade in the 19th cent.
main city of the island and fief of Gotland in Sweden. Port. Population, 17,400 (1966). In the Middle Ages (particularly from the 11th through the 13th centuries) Visby was an important trading center—the main intermediary in the trade Western countries’ trade with the southeastern Baltic region until the rise of Lu’beck. Intermediary trade remained in the hands of a German mercantile colony founded in Visby. (The city’s dependence on Sweden was nominal.) With the rise of Liibeck, Visby remained an important center for Hanseatic trade with Novgorod. In 1361 the city was seized by the forces of the Danish king Waldemar IV Atterdag; it was returned to Sweden by the Treaty of Bromsebro in 1645. Medieval churches and a mighty city wall with 44 towers built during the 12th to 14th centuries have been preserved in Visby.