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Kattegat is where Earl Haraldson resided, and it is the center of his powers. Events such as The Thing and other meetings among the Vikings are held in Kattegat, and it's also the center of commerce for the area, especially considering its location in a fjord and its access to sea travel. Farmers such as Ragnar and producers of various goods rely on Kattegat as the primary market where they can sell their goods. Later, after Haraldson is slain in single combat by Ragnar, the Lothbrok family abandons its farm, which has been put to the torch by the earl's henchmen, and relocates to Kattegat, where Ragnar rules as the new Earl.
As Ragnar rises in status, Kattegat becomes the seat of his power and the center of his lands. His numerous raids bring much wealth to the town although it also suffers through several battles. Over time, it is shown to expand several times over. In the first episode of season four, Kattegat has expanded to fill the valley of the fjord and is now able to host the many ships coming back from the raid on Paris. The wealth of the city pours into Kattegat and feeds the flourishing trade. After the defeat of Ragnar in Paris, Aslaug becomes the sole ruler of Kattegat and transforms it into a city. Sas killed by Lagertha when she comes back to reclaim Kattegat; Lagertha subsequently builds extensive fortifications around the city. Kattegat is attacked by Egil and his men, but they are repulsed and Egil is captured.