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is one of the 25 traditional non-administrative provinces of Sweden (landskap in Swedish), situated in the southwest of Swedenmarker. In older English literature one may also encounter the Latinized version Westrogothia.

Västergötland borders the provinces Bohuslänmarker, Dalslandmarker, Värmlandmarker, Närkemarker, Östergötlandmarker, Smålandmarker and Hallandmarker. It is also bounded by the two largest Swedish lakes Vänernmarker and Vätternmarker, with a small strip to the Kattegatmarker sea area. On this small strip the largest city, Gothenburgmarker, is situated.


The provinces of Sweden serve no administrative function. Instead, that function is served by counties of Sweden. From the 17th century up until 1998 Västergötland was divided into Skaraborg County, Älvsborg County and a minor part of Gothenburg and Bohus County. From 1999 nearly all of the province is in the newly created Västra Götaland Countymarker, with the exception of Habo Municipalitymarker and Mullsjö Municipalitymarker, which were transferred to Jönköping Countymarker, and smaller parts of the province which are in Halland Countymarker and Örebro Countymarker.


Västergötland was granted its arms at the time of the funeral of Gustav Vasa in 1560. The province is also a duchy and the arms can be represented with the ducal coronet. Blazon: "Per bend sinister Sable and Or, a Lion rampant counterchanged langued and armed Gules between two Mullets Argent in the Sable field."


The southern and eastern part of the province is dominated by hills, belonging to the southern Swedish highlands. The northern and western portions of the province belong to the central Swedish plain, which in this part is referred to as the Västgöta-plains or Västgöta-slätten.

Along the Kattegatmarker lies the archipelago usually known as the Gothenburg archipelagomarker. The southern part of it, belonging to Gothenburg Municipalitymarker, is part of Västergötland.

The northwestern border is demarked by Sweden's largest lake Vänernmarker, and the north-eastern border is demarked by Sweden's second lake Vätternmarker. Within the province the shoreline of Lake Vänern is 330 kilometers long, and along Vättern it is 130 kilometers. The larger river is Göta älvmarker which drains Vänernmarker to the east shore and the Kattegatmarker strait; along the river several important cities and towns have been situated for centuries.

The average rainfall is 900 mm near the coast and 600 mm in the plains. The average temperature is -1 °C in January and 15 °C in July.

  • Highest mountain: Galtåsen 362 meters
  • National parks: Tivedenmarker, Djurömarker


As of December 31, 2007, Västergötland had a population of 1,220,301, distributed over four counties:

County Population
part of Västra Götaland Countymarker 1,199,119
part of Jönköping Countymarker 17,427
part of Halland Countymarker 2,122
part of Örebro Countymarker 1,633


Prehistory and middle ages

There are many ancient remains in Västergötland. Most prominent are probably the dolmens from the Funnelbeaker culture, in the Falköpingmarker area south of lake Vänernmarker.

The population of Västergötland, the Geats appear in the writings of the Greek Ptolemaios (as Goutai), and they appear as Gautigoths in Jordanes' work in the 6th century. The province of Västergötland represents the heartland of Götaland, once an independent petty kingdom with a long line of Geatish kings. These are mainly described in foreign sources (Frankish) and through legends. It is possible that Västergötland had the same king as the rest of Sweden at the time of the monk Ansgar's mission to Sweden in the 9th century, butboth the date and nature of its inclusion into the Swedish kingdom is a matter of much debate. Some date it as early as the 6th century, based on the Swedish-Geatish wars in Beowulf epos; others date it as late as the 12th century.

Västergötland received much early influence from the British islesmarker and is generally considered to be the bridgehead of Christianity's advance into Sweden. Recent excavations at Varnhemmarker suggest that at least its central parts were Christian in the 9th century. Around 1000, King Olof Skötkonung is held to have received baptism in Husabymarker, near lake Vänernmarker. However, the Christianization was met with heavy opposition in the rest of his kingdom, and so Olof had to restrict the Christian activities to Västergötland. The Christian faith spread, and by the time the provincial law Västgötalagen was written in the 13th century, Västergötland had 517 churches. The seat of the area’s diocese seems to originally have been Husaby, but since 1150 the city Skaramarker (just some 20 kilometers south) held that distinction.

From the election of Stenkil in the 11th century, Swedish and Geatish dynasties vied for the control of Sweden during long civil wars. For instance, the Swedish king Ragnvald Knaphövde was elected king by the Swedes, but when he entered Västergötland, he chose not to demand hostage from the powerful Geatish clans and was slain by the Geats near Falköping. Several times, Västergötland was independent from Sweden with kings such as Inge I of Sweden and Magnus the Strong. In later years the area was progressively tied more closely to the Swedish kingdom.

Being in peace with Sweden did not mean being in peace. Located along the when borders of Denmark (with the so called Scanian lands) and Norway (with Bohuslänmarker), the area was often involved in armed disputes and invaded by hostile armies.

Some places and dates of early battles were the Battle of Älgarås (1205), the Battle of Lena (1208), the Battle of Hova (1275), the Battle of Gälakvist (1279) and the Battle of Falköping (1389). Thereafter Sweden was involved in the Sweden-Danish wars; some notable years 1452, 1511, 1520, 1566, 1612, 1676.

In 1658 the current borders of Sweden were established when Sweden annexed both the Scanian lands and Bohuslän. Västergötland became less exposed as it was further from the country borders. Seaside battles at the end of Scanian War in the 1670s was the last combat on Västergötland soil.


16th century and after

In 1634 the province was modernized with the establishment of two counties: Skaraborg County (with Skara as capital) and Älvsborg County (Capital first in Gothenburg but after 1679 in Vänersborgmarker).

Dukes of Västergötland

Since 1772, Swedish Kings have created princes as Dukes of various provinces - with purely nominal titles.



In Västergötland the Götaland dialect of Swedish is spoken. The dialect has several varieties like the ones spoken in Gothenburgmarker and Sjuhärad, but the main dialectal variety is the Western Götaland dialect, Västgötska.

The dialect was first dealt with as early as 1772, by S. Hofs in his Dialectus vestrogothica, which was a vocabulary with a grammar introduction.


The Läckö Castlemarker is situated on the island Kållandsö in the Vänernmarker lake. It is generally regarded as one of Sweden's finest Baroque castles. The island was actually the location of a fortress as early as 1298, but the current building was begun in 1615, supervised first by Jacob de la Gardie and then finished by his son Magnus Gabriel de la Gardie.

Karlsborg Fortressmarker is another impressive building in the province.

Bjurum manor, one of the largest Swedish manors in the country, is located in Västergötland.

Skara Cathedralmarker is the oldest one in the original parts of Sweden.


Hundreds of Sweden were sub-divisions of the Swedish provinces until early 20th century. Several of Västergötland's hundreds were described already in the first Västgötalagen in the 13th century. Västergötland's hundreds were:


The cities of Sweden were formerly chartered entities with certain privilegies. Today they are non-administrative urban areas.

The largest city, Gothenburgmarker, is located by the western shore with a significant harbour commerce.

See also


External links

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