Interesting Facts About the Vikings
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Interesting Facts About the Vikings

The Vikings lived in Norway, Denmark and Sweden. The Vikings, or Norsemen, were not your stay-at-home types.

The Vikings lived in Norway, Denmark and Sweden. From the late eight century they settled in other parts of Europe. They set up trading towns in Russia and traveled to Constantinople (now Istanbul). Viking sailors discovered Iceland in A.D. 870, Greenland in A.D. 985 and landed in America in A.D. 1001.

The Vikings, or Norsemen, were not your stay-at-home types. They were constantly sailing from their native Scandinavia to explore new lands. In about 986, Erik the Red discovered Greenland and started settlement there. His son, Leif Eriksson, was one of the first Europeans to reach North America. As an avid reader of Clive Cussler, Erik the Red and his son Leif were featured in his novel Sacred Stone where they were the first people who saw the meteorite.

The Vikings were considered barbarians who lived largely by piracy. For reasons that are not clear, around 800 the Vikings launched a series of raids on Europe. They attacked Charlemagne’s empire as far south as Spain and Italy. They attacked England and named one of their own, Canute, as king of England. But like the German invaders before them, the Vikings slowly settled down and learned to live by trade rather than by plunder.

The Vikings were bold raiders and skillful sailors. Between A.D. 793 and A.D. 1100, they terrorized northern Europe, swooping across the sea in their long, sleek boats to bring death and destruction to churches and villages along the coast. But not all Vikings were bloodthirsty pirates. Many lived peacefully as fishermen and farmers, or as merchants and craftspeople in busy trading towns. The Vikings had a democratic system of government and laws. They also had a rich tradition of music, poetry and storytelling, which was passed down through the generations by word of mouth.

Strong, graceful wooden ships were central to the Vikings’ way of life. The Vikings needed ships for trading, going on raids and for sailing to new settlements in distant lands. Ships also played an important part in Viking funerals. Men and women were buried in worn-out ships sunk deep into the ground or inside boat-shaped rings of stones like the one in this photograph. The Vikings saw death as an exciting, but frightening, voyage into the unknown. They hoped that the ships in which they were buried would carry their spirits safely into the next world.

The Vikings enjoyed good food and drink and listening to songs and stories after a feast. They retold old stories and made up new poems praising explorers, heroes and gods.

The Vikings made beautiful stone monuments in memory of dead friends and relatives. Often the stones were carved with a message in runes (the letters of the Viking alphabet).


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Comments (7)
Ranked #33 in History

According to my family tree some of my ancestors were vikings, so this is very interesting for me.

Ranked #21 in History

That's an interesting info about you, Rae. Thanks!

Ranked #13 in History

Ang galing! I love these species!

very interesting article.......well written and well illustrated.I reall a fan of the Vikings' stories..Thanks Aileen for sharing

Ranked #21 in History

Thank you, sir Ron and Abdel-moniem! Everything about Vikings is really fascinating.

Ranked #35 in History

very interesting indeed

Ranked #32 in History

Well written and interesting. I enjoyed reading it. Thanks