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Who were the Vikings?

Viking ships return from a raidViking ships return from a raidThe Vikings, also known as Norsemen, were seafaring peoples from Scandinavia—modern-day Denmark, Norway and Sweden. From the 790s to the mid-11th century, the Vikings were a constant menace. They raided and looted coastal towns and villages all over Europe. But the Vikings were also peaceful farmers, craftworkers and traders. They travelled all over Europe and beyond, even as far away as North America.


Vikings raid a monasteryVikings raid a monasteryViking chieftain with armour and weaponsViking chieftain with armour and weaponsThe Vikings began raiding the coasts of the British Isles, France and other parts of northern Europe in the 790s. They often made surprise attacks on churches and monasteries, from which they would steal valuables and farm animals. The first attack was in 793 on a monastery on the island of Lindisfarne, off the northeast coast of England.


The althing (general assembly) of Iceland is one of the oldest parliaments in the world. It was first held in 930 near Reykjavík, the modern-day capital of Iceland.

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