The Vikings were a seafaring people from the late eighth to early 11th century who established a name for themselves as traders, explorers and warriors. They discovered the Americas long before Columbus and could be found as far east as the distant reaches of Russia. While these people are often attributed as savages raiding the more civilized nations for treasure and women, the motives and culture of the Viking people are much more diverse. These raiders also facilitated many changes throughout the lands from economics to warfare.
Many historians commonly associate the term “Viking” to the Scandinavian term vikingr, a word for “pirate.” However, the term is meant to reference oversea expeditions, and was used as a verb by the Scandinavian people for when the men traditionally took time out of their summers to go “a Viking.” While many would believe these expeditions entailed the raiding of monasteries and cities along the coast, many expeditions were actually with the goal of trade and enlisting as foreign mercenaries.
The Viking Age references the earliest recorded raid in the 790s until the Norman Conquest of England in 1066. During this time, the reach of the Scandinavian people extended to all corners of northern Europe, and many other nations found Vikings raiding their coasts. The farthest reported records of Vikings were in Baghdad for the trading of goods like fur, tusks and seal fat.
Which modern day people are descended from the vikings?
Roger H Werner, former Prinicipal Investigator
First language: Who were the Vikings? Danes, Norwegians, Swedish? In fact in the 8th through 11th centuries, ‘the Viking Era,’ these nations didn’t exist. Historians and archaeologists define Vikings by those speaking Old Norse, which includes people from the modern nations indicated. Norwegians seem to have headed west, the Danes south, the Swedes southeast. I am unaware of conflicts between Norse groups over settlements so perhaps distribution is this simple…but I doubt it.
Genetics: Norse have a rare mtDNA haplogrouping including I and X, and, the more common Y-haplogroups I1, R1a, and R1b(R21+). Presence of the mtDNA genetic markers would tend to indicate northern European ethnicity while R1a and R1b(R21+ may represent a proto-European chromosome originated in the area between the Black sea and the Ural Mountains including the Transcaucasus region.
History: Vikings settled in French Normandy (French word roughly meaning Norse). They occupied parts of the British Isles (northern Scotland Shetland, Orkney, Isle of Man, North Umbria) and to a lesser degree in Ireland (around Dublin). Until 1471, the Shetland and Orkney islands, along with Caithness until 1476, were part of the king of Norway’s feudal lands. They were ceded to the Scottish king when an unpaid dowry resulted in the forfeiture of this Earldom to Scotland.
A Description of the Black Vikings of Europe By Renowned European Writers – Compiled By- Invasion2012
“blá-maðr, m. A BLACK MAN, NEGRO, i.e. AN ETHIOPIAN, Al. 51, Orkn. 364 (referring to A.D. 1152), distinguished from the Saracens and Arabians; three ‘blámenn’ were sent as a present to the German emperor Frederic the Second, Fms. x. 3: in romances blámenn are mentioned as A KIND OF ‘BERSERKERS,’” q.v., Finnb. ch. 16, Kjalnes. S. ch. 15; cp. Scott’s Ivanhoe, note B. See AN ICELANDIC-ENGLISH DICTIONARY by Richard Cleasby and Gudbrand Vigfusson(1874)
“The Irish annalists were a lesson to all with their division of Norse invaders into White Foreigners, Norwegians(Finn-gaill), and Black Foreigners, Danes(Dubh-gaill), but it was a lesson no one heeded; nor do we know why they distinguished them by colour.” See A HISTORY OF THE VIKINGS by Gwyn Jones(1968)
“The Welsh chroniclers, for example, made no such clear distinction. The Danes coming in by way of England and the Norwegians by way of Ireland were pretty well all black: Black Gentiles(y Kenedloed Duon), Black Norsemen(y Normanyeit Duon), Black Host, Pagans, Devils and the like.”(CONT.) See A HISTORY OF THE VIKINGS by Gwyn Jones(1968)
“Prince of Maine Mor(moor) was accompanied by his father Eochaidh, and his two sons Breasal and Amlaff.” Eochaid mac Run, known in English simply as Eochaid, was king of the Picts from 878 to 889 He was a son of Run, King of Strathclyde, and his mother was the daughter of Kenneth MacAlpin (NIGER VAL DUBH)
“There are turning hither to our shore lithe keels, ring-stags [ships] with long sail-yards, many shields, shaven oars, A NOBLE SEA-LEVY, MERRY WARRIORS. Fifteen companies are coming ashore, but out in Sogn there lie seven thousand more. There lie here in the dock off Cliff-holt surf-deer [ships] SWART-BLACK and GOLD ADORNED. There is by far the most of their host.” Helge Lay, i. 197-206.” See SCANDINAVIAN BRITAIN by William Gershom Collingwood(1908)
“There was a man hight Thorvard; he married Freydis, a natural daughter of Erik the Red; he went  also with them, and Thorvald the son of Erik (100), and THORHALL who was called the hunter; he had long been with Erik, and served him as huntsman in summer and steward in winter; he was a large man, and strong, BLACK AND LIKE A GIANT, silent and foul-mouthed in his speech, and always egged on Erik to the worst” See SAGA OF THORFINN KARLSEFNI.
“According to Egils Saga, of the 2 famous sons of Kveldulf, Thorolf was tall and handsome like his mothers people, but Grim took after his father was black and ugly. Grim’s sons Thorolf and Egill, born out in Iceland, repeated the pattern- Thorolf was the image of his uncle, tall, handsome and sunny-natured, and many Egill was black, even uglier than his father, totuous and incalculable,…..etc. craggy head, broad nose, heavy jaw and swart visage.” See A HISTORY OF THE VIKINGS, GWYN JONES pg 86
“The evidence indicates that Blacks in ancient times came to Britian from Spain, Felix Arabia, Egypt, Ethiopia, West Africa, India, Persia and what is today named Denmark.
These Negroes were builders, scientists, masters of ocean travel and inventors of letters, according to Higgins, they built Stonehenge, Gerald Massey agrees pg 11 Book of The Beginnings.” See Ancient and Modern Britons- MacRitchie pg 2
“The Danes, then were like the ‘MOORs’ -black. Like them, too, they were Picts, as more than one eminent writer has proved. The title of’GROM’ (WOAD-STAINED) is not confined to Highland genealogies, it was the actual name of a grim old pagan Dane who ruled over Denmark,(it meant daub).” See page 121, -David MacRitchie- Ancient and Modern Britons: Volume One (Ancient & Modern Britons)
Vikings didn’t wear horned helmets.
Forget almost every Viking warrior costume you’ve ever seen. Sure, the pugnacious Norsemen probably sported headgear, but that whole horn-festooned helmet look? Depictions dating from the Viking age don’t show it, and the only authentic Viking helmet ever discovered is decidedly horn-free. Painters seem to have fabricated the trend during the 19th century, perhaps inspired by descriptions of northern Europeans by ancient Greek and Roman chroniclers. Long before the Vikings’ time, Norse and Germanic priests did indeed wear horned helmets for ceremonial purposes.
Vikings were known for their excellent hygiene.
Between rowing boats and decapitating enemies, Viking men must have stunk to high Valhalla, right? Quite the opposite. Excavations of Viking sites have turned up tweezers, razors, combs and ear cleaners made from animal bones and antlers. Vikings also bathed at least once a week—much more frequently than other Europeans of their day—and enjoyed dips in natural hot springs.
Vikings were active in the slave trade.
Many Vikings got rich off human trafficking. They would capture and enslave women and young men while pillaging Anglo-Saxon, Celtic and Slavic settlements. These “thralls,” as they were known, were then sold in giant slave markets across Europe and the Middle East.
Viking women enjoyed some basic rights.
Viking girls got hitched as young as 12 and had to mind the household while their husbands sailed off on adventures. Still, they had more freedom than other women of their era. As long as they weren’t thralls, Viking women could inherit property, request a divorce and reclaim their dowries if their marriages ended.
Viking men spent most of their time farming.
This may come as a disappointment, but most Viking men brandished scythes, not swords. True, some were callous pirates who only stepped off their boats to burn villages, but the vast majority peacefully sowed barley, rye and oats—at least for part of the year. They also raised cattle, goats, pigs and sheep on their small farms, which typically yielded just enough food to support a family.
Vikings were never part of a unified group.
Vikings didn’t recognize fellow Vikings. In fact, they probably didn’t even call themselves Vikings: The term simply referred to all Scandinavians who took part in overseas expeditions. During the Viking Age, the land that now makes up Denmark, Norway and Sweden was a patchwork of chieftain-led tribes that often fought against each other—when they weren’t busy wreaking havoc on foreign shores, that is.