Öland was inhabited by hunters from 7000 B.C., and farmers started to settle in the island from about 4000 B.C. Finally, in the Bronze Age between 1.500 and 500 B.C., trade became more important, including the exchange of skins and furs for metal goods. During the Bronze Age, large barrows were created, such as Blå rör. Many of the prehistoric castles such as Gråborg, Ismantorp and Eketorp are dating back to 450-550 A.D. In total, some 16 castles have been found in Öland. The first larger settlement in the island, Köpingsvik, was founded around 750 A.D.
At around 800 A.D., Öland was under the influence of the Svea kings, even though it had its own legal status. In the middle ages, the island gained importance due to its location at the Kalmar sound, which by then was an important channel for sea-farers. The name Köpingsvik, "the merchants' bay", bears witness of this.
In the period 1300 to 1700, Öland became dragged into the Swedish-Danish wars. In the 1360s, the 1450s, and at the beginning of the 16th century, during the Kamar war 1611-1613, and after the defeat of the Swedish fleet at the southern tip of Öland in 1676, the island was occupied by Danish soldiers. In 1612, the island was under Danish occupation for ten months, and some 700 farms, including buildings in the area where Solberga is located today, are said to have been destroyed by the foreign troups.
From 1569 to 1801, all of Öland was royal hunting area. As the local population was no longer allowed to cut trees or hunt, the deer population increased, and caused considerable damage on the farmers' fields. In 1850, there was a revolt in Böda, which however was suppressed by the military. Between 1810 and 1870, the population in Öland grew by 60% to 38,000. As the soils had a low productivity, new areas had to be ploughed, including many bogs. These measures had a negative impact on the hydrologic balance of the island. Moreover, many forests were cleared, and it became increasingly difficult to feed the population. In this time, many people migrated to Germany and Denmark. After an agrarian crisis in 1880, a second wave of emigrants left Öland, mostly for the USA.
Source: Forslund, M. (2001) Natur och kultur på Öland. Länsstyrelsen i Kalmar län.