Oresund (Öresund in Swedish or Øresund in Danish) or The Sound, is the strait that separates Zealand from Scania, and thereby Denmark from Sweden. Oresund connects the Baltic Sea to the Atlantic Ocean (via Kattegat, Skagerrak, and the North Sea), and is one of the busiest waterways in the world.
Political control of Oresund has been an important issue in Danish (and Swedish) history. Danish military control was maintained with the coastal fortress of Kronborg at Elsinore (Danish: Helsingør) on the western side, and Kärnan at Helsingborg on the eastern side, of Öresund's neck, where the strait is only 4.5 kilometers wide.
In 1429 King Eric of Pomerania introduced the Oresund-Toll. Every ship passing Elsinore had to pay duty to the Danish Crown (regardless if the cargo was en route to or from Denmark or not). The Øresund-Toll was for centuries the Crown's most important income, making the kings relatively independent of Denmark's Privy Council and aristocracy. Swedish ships were since 1645 relieved from the toll. After 1658, when Terra Scania was ceded to Sweden, the toll could not be enforced as before, but it wasn't abolished until 1857.
A bridge across the sound, the Oresund Bridge, was inaugurated on July 1, 2000 by King Carl XVI Gustav of Sweden and Queen Margaret II of Denmark.
Last updated: 05-31-2005 18:43:07