A history of herring and moneyThe 13th century. You still get a strong impression that Marstrand is a very old town, as you wander between the small houses. It was founded in the 13th century by the Norwegian King Haakon Haakonsson and at that time was part of Norway. Later Marstrand came under Danish rule and only became Swedish after the Peace of Roskilde in 1658.
The history of Marstrand is also the history of the BohuslTMn province herring period. Plenty of herring spelt success. A shortage of herring was the same as being destitute. King Haakon protected Marstrand and asserted that the towns prosperity depended on the herring catch. Its not surprising that the towns coat of arms consists of three herring in a triangle surrounding a star.King Haakon received the Popes permission to allow the people of Marstrand to fish even on Saints days if it were necessary.The 14th century. In 1368 the town was sacked, and the mediaeval castle and Franciscan monastery were burned down.The 15th century. In the 15th century there were plenty of herring and wealth blossomed. This successful time continued until the end of the century.The 16th century. In 1556 a new great herring period started, continuing for about 30 years and made Marstrand the European hub of herring fishing. Riches and power followed the herring. Many fortune hunters and dangerous people were attracted to Marstrand, which was considered to be the wildest town in Scandinavia. Herr Arnes money. In February 1586 the priest of Solberga, Herr Arne, was murdered. One month later his assassin was arrested at an inn in Marstrand and executed. (This event later inspired Selma Lagerlöf to write the novel Herr Arnes Penningar that also became a famous film.) In the same year as Herr Arne was murdered Marstrand was burned and virtually the whole town lay in ashes.In 1588 the herring suddenly stopped coming. Many people thought that this was a punishment for the Solberga murder. The wealth disappeared with the herring.Once again Marstrand was devastated by a major fire, in 1643.
The Roskilde Peace Treaty of 1658 made Marstrand Swedish and the foundations of the fortress were laid.