On July 22, 1361, death came to Gotland, an island in Sweden. Locals hears rumors King Valdemar IV Atterdag and his powerful Danish fleet were approaching.
Gotland’s farmers prepared to enter the battle and defend their homes, but the outcome was obvious.Valdemar Atterdag holding Visby to ransom, 1361 is a historical painting (oil on canvas, signed in 1882) by the Swedish historical painter Carl Gustaf Hellqvist (1851–1890).
People on Gotland had no chance to stand up against King Attardag’s hostile and brutal armada that consisted of thirty ships, and large cogs, smaller shells.
All church bells across the island and the danger was imminent. The battle of Visby had started. The Danish war fleet appeared on the horizon outside Visby’s thick city walls. The clashes began and they culminated on July 27 just outside the city walls.
Soon the battle escalated into a bloodbath. When 1800 people on Gotland had been killed by the invading forces, locals decided to give up and negotiate with the Danes.Left: The memorial stone for Battle of Wisby 1361. Right: They landed on the coast of Eksta Parish, Gotland and the Danish troops moved towards Visby. The clashes began and they culminated on July 27 just outside the city walls.According to a legend, King Atterdag said he would leave and declare Gotland free in exchange for a so-called fire tax.
At the Visby market, King Atterdag’s men placed three big beer barrels that had to be filled with gold and silver.
King Atterdag made clear that if the town’s people refused to fill the three big beer vats with gold, silver and other riches, he burn the whole town to the ground. This is the reason why it was called fire taxation.
One of the problems with this story is that it historians have not been able to confirm these events really did happen.
Whether the Danes received three big beers barrels filled with treasure it unknown, but they certainly didn’t leave Gotland empty-handed. The cruel plundering of the island by King Valdemar definitely ended the island’s prosperity.
A popular ancient legend from Gotland tells how one of King Atterdag’s the three ships that carried some of the ancient treasures of sunk off the Carl islands located west of Gotland.
Not long ago, a wreck made of wood has been found outside the island Gotland, at a depth of 100 meters in a secret location between the two Baltic isles. Based on the sonar pictures, experts estimated that a small vessel was 28 meters long and 7 meters wide.
None of them, however, has been recognized as the King Atterdag’s lost ship with Gotland’s treasures.
Marine archaeologists are still looking for King Atterdag’s legendary lost treasure, but it has not been found yet.
The loot is resting somewhere in underwater realm of the Baltic Sea near Gotland.