Who were the Vikings?

The Vikings were venturesome seafarers. From Denmark, Norway and Sweden they spread through Europe and the North Atlantic in the period of vigorous Scandinavian expansion (AD 793-1066) known as the Viking Age. The attack on Lindisfarne is generally accepted as the Beginning of the Viking Age, and the loss of the Vikings at the Battle of Hastings in 1066 is generally accepted as the end of the Era.

Although they are often thought of primarily as raiders, the Vikings were also traders, explorers and settlers. Behind them they left a legacy not only of archaeological remains, but also of family names, place names and fieldnames. Their "remains" can be found in local dialects and customs, in folk tales and oral traditions, and of course in the genetic make up of the local people themselves.


The Viking Timeline
789 - Vikings begin their attacks on England in Southern Britain
792 - King Offa of Mercia constructs Brittish fortifications on East Coast
793 - Viking Attack on Lindisfarne
800 - The Oseberg Viking longship is buried about this time
815 - Charlemagne dies, Frankish Empire under many struggles
825 - First Viking converts to Christianity
840 - Viking settlers found the city of Dublin in Ireland
844 - A Viking raid on Seville is repulsed.
860 - Rus Vikings attack Constantinople (Istanbul)
860 - Iceland is discovered by Gardar
862 - Novgorod in Russia is founded by the Rus Viking, Ulrich
866 - Danish Vikings establish a kingdom in York, England
870 - The Fortified Bridge of Ponte de l'Arche is completed
871 - Alfred the Great is king of Wessex. Danish advance is halted in England
872 - Harald I gains control of Norway
878 - Defeat of Guthrum by Alfred. Guthrum is baptized as part of the defeat
879 - Rurik establishes Kiev as the center of the Kievan Rus' domains.
886 - Alfred divides England with the Danes under the Danelaw pact
900 - The Vikings raid along the Mediterranean coast
900 - The legendary rough estimate of the Gokstad Ship
911 - Viking chief Rollo is granted land by the Franks & founds Normandy in France
912 - Viking Sailors first reach the Caspian Sea to Arab trading posts
922 - Ibn Fadlan writes of the Vikings on the Caspian Seas
936 - Erik the Red arrives at Greenland
941 - Rus Vikings attack Constantinople (Istanbul)
943 - Demand for Slaves by muslims drop. Viking focus back to Europe
970 - Poppo the priest influences King Harald Bluetooth who converts.
981 - Viking leader Erik the Red discovers Greenland
986 - Viking ships sail in Newfoundland waters
988 - Varangian Guard formed in Byzantium, attracts Viking mercenaries
991 - Ethelred II pays the first Danegeld ransom to stop Danish attacks on England
995 - Olav I conquers Norway and proclaims it a Christian kingdom
1000 - Christianity reaches Greenland and Iceland
1000 - Leif Eriksson, son of Erik the Red, explores the coast of North America
1000 - Olav I dies; Norway is ruled by the Danes
1002 - Saint Brice Day massacre, English attempt to kill all Danish immigrants
1002 - Brian Boru defeats the Norse and becomes the king of Ireland
1003 - Svein Forkbeard attacks England
1010 - Viking explorer Thorfinn Karlsefni attempts to found a settlement in America
1013 - The Danes conquer England; Ethelred flees to Normandy, Forkbeard King.
1015 - Vikings abandon the Vinland settlement on the coast of North America
1016 - Olav II regains Norway from the Danes
1016 - The Danes under Knut (Canute) rule England, this is Forkbeards son.
1028 - Knut (Canute), king of England and Denmark, conquers Norway
1030 - Olaf the Stout is killed at Stiklistad
1042 - Edward the Confessor rules England with the support of the Danes
1050 - The city of Oslo is founded in Norway
1066 - Harold Godwinson(Engl) over Harald Hardrada(Norway) at Stamford Bridge
1066 - William duke of Normandy defeats Saxon king Harold at Battle of Hastings.
1066 - William "The Conquerer" takes throne
1096 - For three years, Vikings enter the first Crusade to fight in holy land.
1147 - First Northern Crusade on the Baltic Sea coasts
1241 - The Death of Snorri Sturlson


Kensington Runestone

The Kensington Runestone was a stone found in the United States of America in 1898 in Douglas County, Minnesota. An american farmer, Olof Öhman found the stone in his farm lying face down. The stone was tangled in the root system of a stunted poplar tree which was about 30-40 years old. It was at first thought to be an 'indian almanac' by the farmer.

The inscription consists of 30 different runic characters and it is believed that the stone came from the 14th Century during a Viking Voyage to America which pushed all the way inward into modern day Minnesota!

The Kensington Runestone is 30 x 16 x 6 inches in size and weighs 200 pounds. It is currently held at the Runestone Museum in Alexandria, Minnesota.

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