Wildly swinging axes and swords upon majestic boats, Vikings have been a long-appreciated symbol of rage and power. They have been romanticized as overbearingly-manly warriors that plunder, loot and pillage villages all for the sake of dominance.
They've always been in modern media, but where did they come from? How did they start? What brought them to the apex of influence that still makes them relevant up to this day?Their colorful history starts in the form of a migration. These warriors started out as nomads looking for new places to inhabit to prolong their lineage. Mainly travelling by sea, they've been defined as pirates that went from shore to shore, trading and occupying the villages that lived on the patches of land they would visit.
Said to have hailed from the countries of Sweden, Norway and Denmark, these seafaring people made their mark in the world from 700AD to 1100AD. That’s more than 300 years of colorful and bloody history.
The earliest accounts of known Viking activity date all the way back to the 11th century in Lindisfarne, an island lying along the northern edges of England. From there, the northern origins of these warriors were sculpted.
This account wasn't a friendly one, though. The warriors were said to have looted and burned the church and other structures to the ground. Monks at that time were either killed or brought along as slaves when the Vikings were done with the area.
That point marked the beginning of years and years of attacks and loots under the Viking flags. Even the origin of their name comes from a derivation of the Scandinavian term for "pirate" which is "vikingr".
From that point, their influence spread all throughout Europe, cementing their names in the annals of scholars and monks during those times. While a large number of them pillaged and looted, other Vikings ended up as farmers and traders that settled in some of the lands they visited. Their influence spread over the European lands like an epidemic, reaching all over the region, even reaching as far as Russia. They discovered the Americas long before the famed Columbus went on his expedition.