The Vikings were a group of people who came from what we now call Scandinavia. In fact, we now split this area into three countries – Denmark, Sweden and Norway. When we refer to Vikings in England, we very often refer to the Vikings from Denmark, but raiders often came from what we now know as Sweden and Norway too.
In this article, we’ll look at some amazing facts about the vikings from each of the regions where raiders came from – and we’ll also explore the question of whether the Russians were Vikings too!
The Danish Vikings
The Danish Vikings were the most feared of all the Viking raiders. One of the reasons for this was their skill in shipbuilding. They built incredibly light and fast ships, which meant they could sail across the North Sea much more quickly than any other group of people.
The Danish Vikings were also very good at fighting on land. This is because they used a type of weapon called an ‘ax’. Axes were easy to use and very effective against both people and animals.
The Danish Vikings mostly came from cities such as Roskilde, Odense and Aarhus.
The Swedish Vikings
The Swedish Vikings were not as feared as the Danish Vikings, but they were still a force to be reckoned with. The Swedish Vikings came from an area called ‘Svealand’, which is in the middle of modern-day Sweden.
The Swedish Vikings were good farmers, and they had a lot of animals. They also had access to iron, which was used to make weapons and tools.
The Swedish Vikings attacked England in 851 AD, and they also raided the city of Paris.
The Norwegian Vikings
The Norwegian Vikings came from an area called ‘Viken’, which is in the south-west of modern-day Norway. The Norwegian Vikings were good sailors, and they used this to their advantage when raiding other countries.
One of the most famous Norwegian Vikings was ‘Egil Skallagrimsson’. Egil was a great warrior, and he was also a very skilled poet. He wrote a book called ‘Egil’s Saga’, which tells the story of his life.
The Norwegian Vikings were also good at hunting, and they had lots of dogs to help them. They used these skills to survive in the cold climate of Norway.
The Norwegian Vikings attacked England in 793 AD, and they also raided the city of Paris.
Were the Russians Vikings?
The Vikings came from Scandinavia, which is in the north of Europe. Russia is in the east of Europe, so it’s sometimes said that the Russians were Vikings.
However, this isn’t quite true. The people who lived in what is now Russia were known as the ‘Rus’. The Rus were a group of people who came from Scandinavia, but they settled in what is now Russia before the Vikings did.
So, while the Rus may have been related to the Vikings, they weren’t actually Vikings themselves.
The French Vikings
The French Vikings were a group of people who came from Scandinavia and settled in what is now France. The French Vikings were different from the other Viking groups because they didn’t just settle in one place.
Instead, they moved around a lot, and they established settlements in many different parts of France.
The French Vikings were also very good at fighting on horseback. This made them very dangerous opponents, and they were often able to defeat larger groups of enemy soldiers.
Why did the Vikings Leave Scandinavia?
There are many reasons why the Vikings may have left Scandinavia. One reason is that there was not enough food to go around. This may have been because of a change in the climate, or it may have been because of over-farming.
Another reason is that there was a lot of fighting going on in Scandinavia at this time. This may have been because different groups of people were competing for resources, or it may have been because of raids from other countries.
Whatever the reasons, we know that the Vikings left Scandinavia in large numbers. Some of them went to other parts of Europe, while others sailed all the way to North America.
How far did the Vikings Go?
The Vikings travelled much further than just Europe and North America. In fact, there is evidence to suggest that the Vikings may have reached as far as Asia.
One piece of evidence for this is the ‘ Islamic coins’ which were found in a Viking settlement in Russia. These coins would have come from Muslim countries such as Persia or Arabia.
Another piece of evidence is the ‘Chinese pottery’ which was found in a Viking grave in Sweden. This suggests that the Vikings may have travelled to China, or that they traded with people who did.
Did the Vikings Discover America?
There is much debate about whether or not the Vikings discovered America. There is certainly some evidence to suggest that they may have done so.
One piece of evidence is the ‘Vinland Map’, which was created in the 14th century. This map shows part of North America, and it has the words ‘Vinland’ and ‘Leifsbudir’ written on it.
Another piece of evidence is the ‘ Kensington Runestone’. This is a stone which was found in Minnesota in the United States. The stone has writing on it which suggests that it was left by a group of Vikings.
However, there is also some evidence to suggest that the Vikings didn’t discover America. One reason for this is that there are no records of any Viking settlements in North America.
This means that either the Vikings didn’t go to North America, or they didn’t stay there for long.
Whatever the truth, we know that the Vikings were amazing explorers, and they travelled much further than anyone else had at this time.