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Introduction to the Viking Age

From the time of the first known raids in Lindisfarne in 793 until the Battle of Stanford Bridge in 1066 the Vikings were the most powerful and influencial people of northern Europe. With an extensive trade from western Europe to the Black Sea they had made themselves known. They settled in many places of Europe, and were the people who helped form what today is Russia. They have left marks in almast every country in Europe and if you travel the Great Britain you will encounter names of Villages and Streets that will sound Norse.

 

The Vikings were a great influence from Asia to America for about 200 years. So who were these people of the North and why did they make such an impact on their surrounding?
     There are many theories on why so many people left Scandinavia during the Viking age to travel and settle in different parts of the continent. One theory is that there were a lot of people inhabiting the land and the Kings own most of it. That limited the freedom for the regular farmer to find his own piece of land were he could be his own master. The tension of being limited by rules and regulation as well as deficiencies from lack of food etc. was probably a major reason to the movements of people. Another theory is that the Vikings were just greedy and driven by oppertunism they took advantage of the instability of the rest of Europe to take over land and other properties.

 

The Vikings

The Vikings came from the Scandinavian countries (Sweden, Norway and Denmark). Later they settled on Island, Great Britain, Ireland, French and Russia. The Vikings that left Norway and Denmark moved to the south towards the British Isles and Ireland whereas the Swedish Vikings mainly traveled east into Russia and down Volga to the Black Sea and Constantinople.

 

Vikings from Norway and Denmark colonized the Shetlands and Orkneys, the Isle of Man and conquered three of Englands four kingdoms. They made Ireland a trading base and controlled many ports along the cost. They didn't conquer the Celtic land but instead the Celts and the Vikings had a relationship that allowed the two cultures to mix and cooperate. The longer the Viking Age past the moe integrated these two cultures became.

York is another city that has been under great Viking influence. As a matter of fact they made York, which they called Jorvik, a trade center. The city grew a lot under the Vikings influence. Today York has a center dedicated to Viking research as a result of all the Viking Age findings that have been excavated there. One of the most fascinating Viking Age findings are from York, the main finding is the village that was covered by mud. Visit their website here.

 
     
 

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Vikings : The North
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