The New International Encyclopædia/Gotland
GOTLAND, gṓt'lȧnd, or GOTHLAND (Swedish Gottland). An island in the Baltic Sea, situated about 44 miles off the eastern coast of Sweden, and forming, together with the adjacent islets of Farö and Gotska Sandön, the Swedish Län of Gotland (Map: Sweden, H 8). Its greatest length is nearly 80 miles, its greatest breadth about 35 miles, and its area nearly 1140 square miles. The surface is level and the soil fertile, while the climate is comparatively mild. A large part of Gotland is under forests, and the arable land constitutes only about one-fifth of the total area. The chief occupations are agriculture and the breeding of live stock. There is also some manufacturing of lime, and a number of the inhabitants are engaged in seafaring. There are a number of good harbors, of which Slite Hamn is the most important. The population of the län was 52,781 in 1900. Chief town, Wisby (q.v.). The island was in the possession of Sweden as early as the ninth century. In the Middle Ages Wisby was an important member of the Hanseatic League. The island was taken several times by Denmark. It came back into the possession of Sweden in 1645.