My SCA Membership
SCA Arts & Sciences
Me in the Modern World
Celebrations of Life
Divination Just For Fun
Norway and Viking Timeline
The Viking Age was prevalent from the 8th Century to the 11th Century. The Scandinavian countries of Denmark, Norway and Sweden grew so quickly that these fierce yet intelligent people raided and settled in many countries from Russia to America. Their expansion into other countries was fueled also by the Viking custom of leaving the land and wealth to the eldest son, which encouraged the other sons to look for land and riches elsewhere. The Vikings became the best ship builders, daring seamen and tougher warriors than those they raided and conquered. The first Viking Raid in England is recorded as being in 793 and in Ireland in the year 795.
On this page are brief summaries of the Age of the Vikings which will be updated as time allows. Also, please check out the Norway and Viking Timeline (click on the link above).
The Invasion of Britain As Britain was close to Scandinavia, and there was a lot of wealth in the monasteries it was an easy place for the Vikings to raid. In 787 AD the first Vikings appeared in England and by 850 they had started to settle there. They first settled in north and east England. By 870 AD they were ready to invade Wessex which was ruled by Alfred. Alfred fought many battles against the Vikings and eventually beat the Danish King Guthorm in 878 AD. Alfred made them sign The Treaty of Wedmore. This said that the Vikings could live in the North and East which was known as Danelaw, and Alfred ruled the rest.
York became the capital of the Viking kingdom. Danelaw was eventually won back from the Vikings; the last Viking king of York died in 954. He was killed at the battle of Stainmore, his name was Eric Bloodaxe. After this England became one kingdom.
The Discovery of Iceland In the middle of the 9th century AD a Norwegian called Naddodd was sailing from Norway to the Faroe Islands. His ship was blown off the course that he had planned and headed towards the Northwest. Suddenly they found land that no one knew existed; it was Iceland. They landed and had a look around and then sailed home. Because of the snow on the mountains he called it 'Snowland'.
News and rumors were spreading about the new uninhabited island to the west with plenty of land to whoever would go there. Two men, who were close friends and foster brothers, lost all of their riches and land in an argument. They decided to make an expedition to Iceland to see what it looked like. They found out that it was good and fertile land so went back to Norway to collect all of their belongings including their family and slaves. They sold the stuff that they could not take with them and set off for Iceland in about 870 AD.
One of the brothers was a very religious man, and so wanted the gods to tell him where to live in Iceland. He threw a pillar into the sea, and said that he would build his home wherever it drifted ashore. The pillar was found washed ashore in a little bay. The man was so pleased that the gods had shown him where to live that he let his slaves free. In the bay there were a number of hot springs, they were not familiar with this and so he called the new home Reykjavik or "Smoky Bay" after the white steam or smoke that he saw rising.
Between 870 AD and 930 AD, many other people claimed some of Iceland's land. There is a big book which clearly recorded the names of all the settlers and their family backgrounds.
The Discovery of Greenland Greenland is not so far away from Iceland, so it was only a matter of time before they discovered it. Gunnbjorn Ulfsson reached Greenland in the 10th Century and he spent his winter there. News spread and people were interested in this new land.
Eric the Red lived on the west coast of Iceland. He had an argument with someone and killed him and was sentenced to three years of exile. As he heard about this new land he decided to go there and explore it. He gave it the name Greenland expecting other people to come and join him because of the attractive name. He went back to Iceland for the winter and then the following summer of 986 AD he moved to Greenland for good with his household.
Many more people came to the island and settled there and this became a successful colony. Later for some odd reason all of the Nordic people disappeared from Greenland and only the native people were living there after 1500 AD.
The Discovery of North America Leif Erickson was the son of Eric the Red. He was born in Iceland and then moved to Greenland with his family. When he grew up he became an explorer. He heard a story that another Viking had got lost his way to Greenland and saw a new land to the west but did not land there. Leif became interested and around the year 1000 decided to sail west and look for it.
At last Leif found the new land. He went ashore with his men to explore. First they came to Baffin Island which they called "Helluland," then Labrador which they called "Markland." Then they sailed south for a long time and stopped at a place that they called Vinland because of the many grape vines growing there. News of his discovery spread, and eventually a few people settled there. After some time, they moved back because the natives were too many and fought them off. If the Vikings had settled there perhaps the North Americans would be speaking Icelandic today.