There are two distinct parts of the region, Scandinavia, to the north and the southern shore of the Baltic Sea. The peoples of the two parts are different and their history has also been different, though there has been considerable linkage between the two areas. Indeed, the history of the region as a whole has been marked by struggles for regional supremacy at first between Scandinavian powers themselves and then between the north and south and finally between powers on the southern shore. The Baltic Sea and its region have been of considerable strategic and economic importance, and hence of concern not only to the regional powers themselves, but also to major trading powers outside the region such as Holland in the seventeenth century and Britain. The most important products of the region were furs, amber and above all herring and timber for shipping.
KeywordsGreat Power Early History Southern Shore Baltic Coast Early Medieval Period
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