History Television's series Vikings has introduced a fictional village in Norway called Kattegat. In the story line, Ivar the Boneless becomes King of Kattegat. People interested in the series or in Viking history have asked us where the village might be. In fact, there's no known record of a village called Kattegat in Danish, Norse, or Viking stories.
Kattegat is actually the channel between Sweden and the Jutland peninsula of Denmark. At its narrowest point, between Skagen Denmark and Göteborg Sweden, it is approximately 40 kilometres across, however the navigable section is as narrow as 3. The channel was narrower during the Viking period, and control of the waterway was a source of revenue for both Vikings and the later Danish Royal family. Until the late 1700's, this was the only sea route from the Baltic Sea to the Atlantic. Accordingly, it saw heavy traffic from the Hanseatic League and from Finland, Poland, Germany and the smaller states with Baltic shoreline.
The name has a very "Viking sound" to it, but in fact it is derived from the Old Dutch words kat (cat) and gat (hole, gate). Hanseatic ship captains compared the channel to a hole so narrow that even a cat might have trouble gaining passage.
LastUpdate: 2018-12-22 02:32:47