The Vikings, also known as Norsemen, came from the far northern part of Europe, specifically from Scandinavia. This group of people attacked the Charlemagne’s empire and the Anglo-Saxon England around the 900’s.
Their physical characteristics made them brutal fighters and robbers, because of this, they spread fear and destruction. Even though their actions didn’t benefit thepopulation, they accomplish to open up new trade routes, and they taught to other Europeans, seafaring skills.
The Vikings were able to capture and rule many different places, such as Britain, France, Russia, and they even set up islands and colonies in the North Atlantic.
The Vikings chose different directions, one group stayed in their land, and they set up the kingdoms of Norway, Sweden, andDenmark. The other group went to North America, in which they conquered lands, and accepted new religions and customs.
Scandinavia, the Viking’s homeland was an area of forests and long, rugged coastlines, which had many fjords, or narrow bays. For this reason, people turned to the sea to make a living. The best area was Denmark, which had many natural harbors and was well suited forfarming, since it was full of large plains, where they grew grains, and pastured their cattle, sheep, and pigs. The rest of Scandinavia wasn’t so good for farming because of the rocky soil.
Ships and Trade: When you hear the word “Vikings”, you might think in ships. This happens because they used them to trade, from which they lean to be able to survive, and because of their exotic decorations inthe ships.
They were as good as Phoenicians in trade and shipbuilding, the key of their success. They sailed out into the North Sea and the Atlantic Ocean in search of good fishing areas and trade. Viking traders carried furs, hides, fish, and enslaved people to Western Europe and the Mediterranean, and they returned with silk, wine, wheat, and silver. They were able to do these things because oftheir excellent ships. They were built with timber from dense forests and were perfect to do large voyages or trips. The bodies were long and narrow, and the sides were decorated with black or yellow shields. The Vikings were prepared for everything, so the tall bows were carved in the shape of a dragon’s head to frighten enemies and evil spirits of the ocean. They also plotted their courses by thepositions of the sun and the stars, before they started their voyage.
Towns, Villages, and Jarls: Market towns in Scandinavia, produced by trade, had two main streets along the water’s edge. Buyers and sellers showed their wares in booths, which were located on the streets. Mounds of earth surrounded by wooden walls with towers protected the towns.
Their villages were located throughout allthe country. Houses were made of logs or boards, and the sod-covered wood roofs, were prepared to support heavy winter snows. Carved pillars held up small porches located at the front of the houses, and roofs were decorated with carved dragons.
There was no central government. People were divided into groups ruled by jarls, military chiefs. They were consider as kings, when they accomplished totake over neighboring lands, which was very difficult since villages were isolated from one another because of the distance and the cold winters.
Daily Life: Family was very important to the Vikings, in such a way, that they even fought bloody feuds in order to defend their honor. Households often had from 20 to 30 members, since they included parents, grandparents, married children, andgrandchildren.
The People: Berserkers, or Viking warriors, believed in a life of action and valued deeds that called for strength and courage. They believed that wealth, honor, and fame were gain when they fought. They also thought that a liking for war was reattributed by the Gods with special honors.
Vikings lit bonfires on the tops of mountains to call warriors to battle. The ones who saw the fire...