I have included only a few items concerning the history of these people. A good source for more details can be
found on Wikipedia or in history books.
"Viking" was an Old Norse feminine noun that meant taking an overseas expedition, usually in a
Although Vikings certainly raided many locations previously, the Viking Era officially began with a
raid at Lindisfarne Abbey on 8 June 793 AD.
Vikings often raided soft targets
or attempted trade with stronger locations. A harsh climate and marginal agriculture contributed to
departure from villages on their viking quests.
Common battle gear of a Viking Soldier included a
round, wooden shield (often embossed with metal); heavy spear; throwing ax; helmet; and long sword.
A standard method of fighting was the Shield Wall
for defensive measures. Battles usually were confused melees.
When a Viking chief died, he often was was buried or burned in a longship.
Circa 825 AD, Gadded from Faeroes was the
first Viking to discover Iceland (aka Öxney).
Gunnbjörn Ulfsson discovered Greenland
after his ship was blown off course when sailing from Norway to Iceland. This occurred nearly 100 years before
Erik the Red first sighted Greenland in 982 AD.
Circa 986 AD, Erik's son, Leif Ericson, and others briefly settled land they called
Vinland ("land of meadows") in
Newfoundland. Seemingly fragile
Viking ships actually were superbly constructed and seaworthy craft.
In 787 AD, three Viking ships from Norway raided Portland Bay.
For many years thereafter, Vikings raided
England for booty. In 865 AD, an army of Danish Vikings led by
Guthrum, Halfdan and Ivar "the Boneless" Ragnarsson
(Great Viking Army) invaded East Anglia.
They conquered York and Mercia.
In 871 AD, king Bagsecg brought reinforcements from Scandinavia.
King Alfred the Great defeated the Danes at the
Battle of Edington, but a treaty allowed them
to control the Danelaw. Eric Bloodaxe led the last wave of
invaders from Norway to England in 947 AD. He captured York, became king of Northumbria and probably ruled the Hebrides.
Vikings founded many towns in Ireland, including Dublin
and Limerick. In 832 AD, 120 Vikings ships under Turgesius invaded
Ireland's eastern and northern coasts. Vikings established a base at Longphorts (Dublin) in 840 AD. Irish forced
the Vikings out circa 900 AD, but they returned in 914 AD to establish a city at
The last battle between Vikings and Irish king, Brian Boru, was
in 1014 AD at Clontarf.
Vikings ruled the fringe of Scotland (including
the Hebrides, Orkney and Shetland islands) between the 8th and 15th centuries AD. They also settled
on the Isle of Man.
Early settlers arrived on the Shetland island of Unst in the mid 7th century AD. Vikings fought local
forces from various kingdoms of the Picts. Many foes settled in
distant islands as they fled Norway to escape retribution from king
Harald Fairhair in 872 AD. However, Fairhair pursued
them and incorporated the Scottish Viking islands into his kingdom in 875 AD. Remains of Viking settlements
abound, such as at Brough of Birsay in the Orkneys.
Viking settlements spurred the Picts and Scots to unite under the rule of king
Cínaed mac Ailpín in the mid 800s AD.