Älvsborg fortress

Älvsborg (also Elfsborg Fortress) is a large sea fortress in Rivö fjord within modern Gothenburg, Sweden.[1] Situated at the mouth of the Göta River, it protected medieval Sweden's only access to the North Sea and the Atlantic Ocean, along with the nearby settlement known today as Gothenburg (formerly named Lödöse, Nya Lödöse, Älvsborg and Charles IX's Gothenburg).[1]

The original Old Älvsborg Fortress (Swedish: Älvsborgs fästning or Älvsborgs slott) was located on the mainland, on the southern shore of the estuary, above modern Klippan. Only few ruins are visible today in the vicinity of the Carnegie-pier.[1]

The old fortress was dismantled and relocated to one of the islands in the estuary, in the 17th century. This New Älvsborg Fortress (Swedish: Nya Elfsborg) is still maintained.

In 1643, a settlement in New Sweden, North America, was named Fort Nya Elfsborg ("Fort New Älvsborg"), after the Swedish fortress. This settlement was abandoned in 1655. Gothenburg was the main centre for Swedes emigrating to America, and the fortress would have been one of the last sights the emigrants saw on leaving the country.

Älvsborg fortress
Nya Älvsborg
Gothenburg in Sweden
Älvsborgs fästning
New Älvsborg Fortress today, with Gothenburg in the background.
Älvsborg fortress is located in Southern Sweden
Älvsborg fortress
Älvsborg fortress
Coordinates57°41′6″N 11°50′20″E / 57.68500°N 11.83889°ECoordinates: 57°41′6″N 11°50′20″E / 57.68500°N 11.83889°E
TypeSea fortress
Site information
Open to
the public
Site history
In use1676–1869
MaterialsGranite, brick

Old Älvsborg Fortress

In medieval Sweden, Älvsborg was the country's only access to the North Sea. Bohuslän, the area north of Älvsborg, was part of Norway until 1658; Halland, the region to the south, was part of Denmark until 1645.[1] Sweden's only Atlantic settlement, Lödöse, built about 1200, (known as "Gothenburg 1") was the first settlement located at the mouth of the Göta Älv. It was followed by New Lödöse ("Gothenburg 2") located near the modern town.[1]

In 1473, New Lödöse was granted substantial privileges.[1] The Old Älvsborg Fortress was built in the 14th century, located at the Klippan area near what is now the harbour entrance of Gothenburg. After the Danes easily conquered the fortress several times, fortification works was gradually expanded. New Lödöse was burned down by Danish forces in 1521, and after it was initially rebuilt at the same spot in 1526, it was later relocated ("Gothenburg 3") near the Älvsborg fortress, west of the modern town.[1]

In 1563, when the Northern Seven Years' War broke out, the Swedish burned the town themselves to prevent Denmark from capturing it, and Denmark took control of Älvsborg Fortress.[1] The war ended with the Treaty of Stettin (1570), which obliged Sweden to pay 150,000 riksdaler to ransom the fortress of Älvsborg.[2] To pay this extraordinarily high amount of money, Sweden heavily taxed all moveables in the country, resulting in further impoverishment of the war-torn population. Unburned towns had to pay one twelfth, peasants one tenth, burned down towns one eighteenth of their properties' value.[3] In 1603, the adjacent town ("Gothenburg 4") was again relocated to the site of the channel opposite Älvsborg Fortress. Built by Charles IX of Sweden, it was the first town named "Göteborg". [1] The town was annihilated by Denmark in 1611, who retained possession of Älvsborg between 1612 and 1619.[1]

Today, only a few ruins of the fortress are preserved under a canopy to minimize further deterioration at 57°41′23″N 11°54′26″E / 57.68972°N 11.90722°E.

Suecia 3-046 ; Älvsborg

Old Älvsborg Fortress

Fredrik II conqueres Älvsborg 1563

Old Älvsborg Fortress conquered by Frederick II of Denmark, 1563

Elfsborgs slott2

Canopied ruins of Old Älvsborg Fortress today.

New Älvsborg Fortress

New Älvsborg Fortress was built in the 17th century near the ruins of the old fortress, but on a small island where the Göta Älv river meets the sea. It protected the new town of Gothenburg, founded in 1621 by Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden.[1] New Älvsborg Fortress today is a listed building (byggnadsminne) and a popular tourist attraction.

Suecia 3-046 ; Älvsborg nova

New Älvsborg Fortress, late 17th century.

Nya älvsborgs fästning

New Älvsborg Fortress today

Fortress Älvsborg outside Gothenburg Sweden

New Älvsborg Fortress today

Gothenburg juli 2009 (ubt)-000

New Älvsborg Fortress today

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Schediwy, Robert (2004). Städtebilder: Reflexionen zum Wandel in Architektur und Urbanistik (in German) (2 ed.). Berlin-Hamburg-Münster: LIT Verlag. p. 95. ISBN 3-8258-7755-8.
  2. ^ R. Nisbet Bain, Scandinavia a political history of Denmark, Norway and Sweden from 1513 to 1960: A Political History of Denmark, Norway and Sweden from 1513 to 1900, 2006, p.83, ISBN 0-543-93900-6, ISBN 978-0-543-93900-5
  3. ^ Charles Poor Kindleberger, A Financial History of Western Europe, 1993, p.227, ISBN 0-19-507738-5, ISBN 978-0-19-507738-4

External links


Year 1563 (MDLXIII) was a common year starting on Friday (link will display the full calendar) of the Julian calendar.

1717 in Sweden

Events from the year 1717 in Sweden

Battle of Gothenburg

The Battle of Gothenburg was a Danish attempt to destroy the Swedish squadron in Gothenburg, which was led by Olof Strömstierna. The Danes were led by the famous Peter Tordenskjold. The Swedish land defence was led by Fredrik of Hessen, and it consisted of the land batteries Billingen and Rya Nabbe with 12 guns each, and the Älvsborg fortress, who had 400 soldiers with 90 guns.

The Danish attack was intended as a surprise attack but failed, after the Swedes opened fire at them after they passed Älvsborg fortress. The bombardment was led as a cross-fire from the fortress and the Swedish ships - which went across the river - against Tordenskjold and his soldiers. After 5 hours of fighting, the Danes retreated after losing several ships.

Battles at Göta Älv

The battles at Göta älv were a series of battles and sieges which took place in and around the Gothenburg area between 1717 and 1719, between the Swedish Empire and Denmark-Norway, during the Great Northern War.

When Charles XII was forced to halt his assault on southern Norway in 1716, Dano-Norwegian troops, under the command of the young commander Peter Tordenskjold, attempted to blockade Gothenburg and assault its newly constructed naval base; Nya Varvet (the New Yard) in the spring of 1717, but was unsuccessful. Tordenskold also attempted an assault on Strömstad, also without success. The attacks resulted in the Swedes rebasing their Gothenburg Squadron to Marstrand, some smaller vessels were rebased to Strömstad.

Following Charles XII's renewed assault on Norway in the autumn of 1718, as well as the breakdown of the 1719 peace negotiations, Denmark-Norway launched yet another assault targeting Bohuslän. The goal for the Dano-Norwegian forces was to achieve a quick end of the war with a resulting territorial loss for Sweden, but also to halt the Swedes' privateering operations which were taking a toll on Denmark-Norway. Strömstad was quickly conquered by early July 1719, and the strong Carlsten Fortress at Marstrand was conquered by Tordenskjold, partly thanks to psychological warfare. During the battles in and around Marstrand, large parts of the Gothenburg Squadron were sunk by friendly forces in order to prevent its vessels from falling under enemy control. A subsequent Dano-Norwegian assault against the Älvsborg fortress in the riverhead of Gothenburg's inlet port was countered by the Swedes. Just before hostilities would calm down in the autumn of 1719, Tordenskjold launched yet another assault on Nya Varvet, this time with fewer troops but was a more successful operation than its predecessor.

Fort Nya Elfsborg

Fort Nya Elfsborg was a fortification and settlement established as a part of New Sweden. Built in 1643 and named after the Älvsborg Fortress off Gothenburg, Fort Nya Elfsborg was located on the New Jersey side of the Delaware River, between present day Salem and Alloway Creek.

Gothenburg Squadron

Gothenburg Squadron (Swedish: Göteborgseskadern, GE) was a naval squadron of the Swedish Navy which has operated in various forms from 1939 to 1951. The unit was based at Gothenburg naval base at Nya Varvet in Gothenburg.

History of Gothenburg

The history of Gothenburg begins with the foundation of the heavily fortified town in 1621, during the Thirty Years' War, when Sweden was once-again in armed conflict with Denmark–Norway. The location of the new trading port, Sweden's only direct access to the North Sea and Atlantic, was highly strategic: the result of centuries of conflict with the Norwegians just to the north, in Bohuslän, and the Danes, just to the south in Halland.

Northern Seven Years' War

The Northern Seven Years' War (also known as the Nordic Seven Years' War, the First Northern War or the Seven Years War in Scandinavia) was fought between the Kingdom of Sweden and a coalition of Denmark–Norway, Lübeck and Poland between 1563 and 1570. The war was motivated by the dissatisfaction of King Frederick II of Denmark with the dissolution of the Kalmar Union, and the will of King Eric XIV of Sweden to break Denmark's dominating position. The fighting continued until both armies had been exhausted, and many men died. The resulting Treaty of Stettin was a stalemate, with neither party gaining any new territory.

Otto Johan Tandefelt

Otto Johan Tandefelt born 13 April 1782 in Sysmä, Voipala, Finland was a Swedish Finn. He most likely died in America.

He was a key figure in the lynching of Axel von Fersen on June 20, 1810 in Stockholm. He was the alleged murderer.

After serving some years at Älvsborg fortress, he was pardoned by King Charles XIII, and eventually emigrated to America under the name of Pettersson.

He was a nephew of Adolf Tandefelt.

Polygonal masonry

Polygonal masonry is a technique of stone wall construction. True polygonal masonry is a technique wherein the visible surfaces of the stones are dressed with straight sides or joints, giving the block the appearance of a polygon.This technique is found throughout the world and sometimes corresponds to the less technical category of Cyclopean masonry.

Sigvard Hultcrantz

Sigvard Gustav Emanuel "Sigge" Hultcrantz (22 May 1888 – 4 March 1955) was a Swedish sport shooter who competed in the 1920 Summer Olympics.In 1920 he won the silver medal as member of the Swedish team in the team free pistol competition and in the team small-bore rifle event. He also participated in the individual free pistol competition and in the individual small-bore rifle event but for both contests his exact place is unknown.At the time of the 1920 Olympics Hultcrantz was lieutenant in the Swedish coast artillery. He eventually reached the rank of major, and was the commandant of Älvsborg fortress in 1936–1939.

Skansen Kronan

Skansen Kronan (Swedish: [ˈskanːsɛn ²kruːnan], Crown Sconce) is a redoubt in the district of Haga of Gothenburg, Sweden.Skansen Kronan was built in the later half of the 17th century according to the plans of Erik Dahlbergh. Skansen Kronan was introduced in 1698 and was fitted with 23 guns. The roof was not completed until 1700. Skansen has 4-5 metre thick walls made of granite, gneiss and diabase. Skansen Kronan was never attacked and the cannons on the inside have never been used.The fortress and the twin counterpart, Skansen Lejonet, were built as part of the defenses against possible Danish attack on Gothenburg from the south, and thus had a similar purpose as the Älvsborg fortress.

The fortress — originally built outside the city walls — is today situated in the city centre of Gothenburg on a hill in the city district of Haga. It was used as a military museum until 2004. Today Skansen Kronan is a private facility for conferences and private parties.

Skansen Lejonet

Skansen Lejonet ("the Lion sconce") is a redoubt in Gothenburg, Sweden, built in 1687. Since 1822 it has served other purposes.

The fortress and the twin counterpart, Skansen Kronan, were built according to plans by Erik Dahlbergh as part of the defenses against possible Danish attack on Gothenburg from the south, and thus had a similar purpose as the Älvsborg fortress.

The fortress — originally built outside the city walls — is today centrally situated in the city of Gothenburg. It's run by a fraternal order, Götiska förbundet, and is used also as a rented local for wedding banquettes, conferences and private parties. The dining hall takes 90 guests.


Slottsskogen (Swedish: [ˈslɔtːsˌskuːɡɛn], Castle Forest) is a 137 hectares large park located in central Gothenburg, Sweden.

Water castle

A water castle is a castle or stately home whose site is entirely surrounded by water-filled moats (moated castles) or natural waterbodies such as island castles in a river or offshore.


Älvsborg is the name of a geographical region in Sweden, which can refer to:

Älvsborg, Gothenburg, one of 21 boroughs of Gothenburg, Sweden.

Älvsborg County, a former county of Sweden

Älvsborg fortress, a sea fortress at Gothenburg

Älvsborg Regiment, a former infantry regiment of the Swedish Army

Västra Götaland County, a current county of Sweden

Västergötland, a historical province of Sweden

Dalsland, a historical province of Sweden

HSwMS Älvsborg (M02), a minelayer of the Swedish Navy

Älvsborg, Gothenburg

Älvsborg is an urban district of Gothenburg in Sweden.

Älvsborg is a coastal district situated in Västra Göteborg at the mouth of the Rivö Fjord and comprise 1,210 hectares. The Älvsborg Bridge connects the southern and northern parts of Gothenburg.

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