The Baltic Sea is in northeastern Europe, surrounded by the Scandinavian Peninsula, the mainland of east and central Europe, and the Danish isles. It drains into Kattegat and the North Sea passing through the Danish isles in Öresund, the Great Belt and the Small Belt.
The name of East Sea is used in much of Continental Europe. The Baltic Sea is called East Sea in Denmark (Østersøen), Germany (Ostsee), Finland (Itämeri), Netherlands (Oostzee), Norway (Østersjøen), and Sweden (Östersjön). In Estonia it is called West Sea (Läänemeri).
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4 Large islands
6 See also:
7 External links
At the time of the Romans, the Baltic Sea was known as the Mare Suebicum or Mare Sarmaticum. Tacitus in his AD 98 Agricola and Germania described the Mare Suebicum, named for the Suebi tribe, during the spring months, as a brackish sea when the ice on the Baltic Sea breaks apart and chunks float about.
The strongest economic force in Northern Europe during the middle ages was the Hanseatic league, which used the Baltic Sea to establish trade routes between its member cities. During the 17th century, when the Swedish empire virtually encompassed the Baltic Sea it was sometimes referred to as Mare Nostrum Balticum.
The Baltic Sea starts to get very rough with the October storms. These winter storms have been the cause of many shipwrecks. In 1945 the Baltic Sea became a mass grave to drowned people on torpedoed refugee ships. But thanks to the cold brackish water, the sea is a time capsule for centuries old shipwrecks.
The Baltic Sea
The northern part of the Baltic Sea is known as the Gulf of Bothnia out of which the northernmost part is referred to as the Bay of Bothnia. Immediately to the south of it lies the Sea of Åland. The Gulf of Finland connects the Baltic Sea with St. Petersburg. The Northern Baltic lies between the Stockholm area, southwestern Finland, and Estonia. The Western and Eastern Gotland Basins form the major parts of the central Baltic Sea. The Gulf of Riga lies between Riga and Saaremaa and Gdansk Basin lies east of the Hel peninsula on the Polish coast. Bornholm Basin is the area east of Bornholm and Arkona Basin extends from Bornholm to the Danish isles of Falster and Zealand. The westernmost part of the Baltic Sea is Kiel Bight. The Sound, the Belts, and the Kattegat connect the Baltic Sea with the Skagerrak and the North Sea.
The largest islands of the Baltic Sea are:
Åland Islands (belonging to Finland) lie at the entrance to the Gulf of Bothnia marking the northern border of the Baltic Sea proper.
Bodies of water that drain into the Baltic Sea include (clockwise from Öresund):
Old shipwrecks in the Baltic