In the Middle Ages the sea was known by variety of names.

The name Baltic Sea became dominant only after 1600.

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Yet another explanation is that the name originally meant "enclosed sea, bay" as opposed to open sea.

Some Swedish historians believe the name derives from the god Balder of Nordic mythology.

The Kattegat and the southwestern Baltic Sea are well oxygenated and have a rich biology.

The remainder of the Sea is brackish, poor in oxygen and in species.

Another usual border is the line between Falsterbo, Sweden and Stevns Klint, Denmark, as this is the southern border of Øresund.

It's also the border between the shallow southern Øresund (with a typical depth of 5-10 meters only) and notably deeper water.

On this basis, a related hypothesis holds that the name originated from this Indo-European root via a Baltic language such as Lithuanian.

Another explanation is that, while derived from the aforementioned root, the name of the sea is related to names for various forms of water and related substances in several European languages, that might have been originally associated with colors found in swamps (compare Proto-Slavic *bolto "swamp").

At the time of the Roman Empire, the Baltic Sea was known as the Mare Suebicum or Mare Sarmaticum.

Tacitus in his AD 98 Agricola and Germania described the Mare Suebicum, named for the Suebi tribe, during the spring months, as a brackish sea where the ice broke apart and chunks floated about.

The Baltic Proper is bordered on its northern edge, at the latitude 60°N, by the Åland islands and the Gulf of Bothnia, on its northeastern edge by the Gulf of Finland, on its eastern edge by the Gulf of Riga, and in the west by the Swedish part of the southern Scandinavian Peninsula.