Eras and Their Highlights

The Middle Ages

Who were the Vandals?

Like the Goths, the Vandals were a Germanic people who originated in an area south of the Baltic Sea in what is now Scandinavia. By A.D. 100 they had moved into the southern region of (present-day) Poland. But there they eventually found themselves threatened by the Huns, and so they began moving westward late in the fourth century. Early in the fifth century, the Vandals overran Gaul (in western Europe), Spain, and northern Africa, where they eventually settled. Between 428 and 477 the Vandals were ruled by the powerful King Genseric. Under his reign, they ravaged Rome (in 455). Their pillage was so thorough that the word vandal is used to describe anyone who willfully destroys property that is not theirs. In 533 and 534, like the Ostrogoths, the Vandals were defeated by armies of the Byzantine Empire.


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