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The History of Västmanland

Copyright © Westmanna Turism

Västmanland has long since been an important province in the kingdom of Sweden. Thus, its history is very interesting. The main ancient monuments in Västmanland are graves and the most important collection of those is to be seen at Anundshögs området at Långby. The graves are raised stones which are shaped as the lines of Viking long-boats. The burial field is dated to somewhere between 800-1050 AD There are also the monumental remains of the 45 ancient fortifications that are scattered around the province of which the one situated on Visberget is the most significant one.

However, Västmanland is best known for its iron production, which is of ancient origins. ReSearch (in Swedish)ers surmise that iron has been produced in the region during the last 2 000 years. The invention of the water-wheel, during the 14th century, revolutionized the extraction of iron from the ore of Bergslagen. The close proximity of forests and waterfalls meant that all the preconditions for erecting a foundry were fulfilled. Norberg is the first iron-ore mining area mentioned in scriptures, in the beginning of the 14th century. Västmanland was one of Sweden´s most important provinces during the Middle Ages. Much of this importance was due to the Sala Silvermine which was extremely profitable. However, it was emptied between 1501 and 1570.

Engelbrekt is possibly Västmanland´s most well known historical figure. His struggle against the taxes forced upon him by the king and his bailiff Jösse Eriksson forced him to march on Västerås Castle, which he finally took possession of, with the help of his army of farmers . During the reign of Gustav Vasa, Västerås played an important role on occasions. Since the city had been conquered by Vasa during the war of Liberation, the castle was restored. The "reformationsriksdag" was held here in 1527, in connection with the declaration that Sweden was going to be a Lutheran country. Other important events that took place in Västerås Castle were Johan III´s marriage to Gunilla Bielke and the imprisonment of Erik XIV, who is buried in an impressive marble sarcophagus in the cathedral.
Copyright © WestmannaTurism
Sweden´s superpower status during the 17th century led to the construction and reconstruction of castles and farms in order to emphasize the standing of superiority. Strömsholms Castle and Tidö Castle are examples of what was built during the boom years.

Västmanland is one of Sweden´s most industrialised provinces. In Fagersta, iron has been produced since the 14th century and adjacent to the rapids of Hagbyån in Gyttorp, a gunpowder factory was opened in 1858 but was closed in 1967. Gyttorp is in these days dominated by Nitro Nobel, which was founded by none other than Alfred Nobel. Asea Brown Boveri is the largest company in Västmanland.

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