Eras and Their Highlights

The Middle Ages

Who were the Vikings?

The Vikings, also called Norsemen, were fierce, seafaring warriors who originated in Scandinavia. Beginning in the late 700s they raided England, France, Germany, Ireland, Scotland, Italy, Russia, and Spain. Great shipbuilders, the Vikings also reached Greenland, Iceland, and probably even North America long before the Europeans. (Ruins of a Norse settlement were found on the northeastern coast of Newfoundland, Canada.) The Vikings were converted to Christianity during the tenth and eleventh centuries, about the same time that the kingdoms of Norway, Denmark, and Sweden were established. Under the Danish leader Canute, Vikings conquered England in 1016 and ruled it as part of Denmark until 1042.


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