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Viking History - What happened to Vikings

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tomazsz3 View Drop Down
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  Quote tomazsz3 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Viking History - What happened to Vikings
    Posted: 17-Mar-2017 at 12:24
On Viking topics, some frequently asked questions are: What happened to the Vikings? Where are they now? Did they die off? Were they conquered? What was the fall of Vikings?

Vikings were people who lived in Scandinavia and the North Atlantic settlements in the Viking age between 793 and 1066. It was during this time that these Northern people had the largest impact on other Europeans, through trade, and through their Viking raids.

However, most of these people would not have called themselves Vikings. In the old Norse language, the word víkingr means pirate or raider, and few of these Northern people participated in raiding. Raiding was a part time occupation, practiced by a small percentage of the population. Few Vikings were professional soldiers, although like all men in this era, they were familiar with the use of weapons. These people were farmers first and needed to take care of the farm chores most of the year. They were entrepreneurs: business men who saw raiding as a means of acquiring capital that could be invested in a ship, in a farm, or in a business. Others may have been on the lookout for land on which they could settle. Raiding was thought to be desirable for a young man, but a more mature man was expected to settle down on the farm and raise a family.

So let’s go back to the question: what happened to the Vikings? Nothing happened to them. After the Viking age, the Northmen continued living their lives in the Scandinavian countries, and in the settlements created during the Viking age, such as Iceland and Greenland. The end of the Vikings occurred when the Northmen stopped raiding.

Now you should ask: why did the Vikings stop raiding? The simple answer is that changes took place in European societies that made raiding less profitable and less desirable. Changes occurred not only in the Norse societies, but also throughout Europe where the raids took place.

At the beginning of the Viking age, Norse society tended to be egalitarian, with a large number of free, land-owning farmers who had the necessary means and time to engage in raiding. A ship, required for raiding, was a substantial investment, and one couldn't leave one's farm unless there were enough hired hands available to take care of the farm chores while the owner was out raiding.

By the end of the Viking age, this balance has changed. There were a small number of privileged, wealthy men, and a much larger number of landless men who were tied to the land they worked in order to pay their rents and fees, while supporting their families. These people were not available to go raiding.

By the end of the Viking age, most European lands had strong central authorities, including trained, standing armies capable of mounting effective defenses against Viking attacks. Generally, the Vikings were not trained, organized troops. While skilled at arms, their shock tactics were ineffective against trained, professional soldiers supported by the king.

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