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Viking raiders return to their homeland. Viking raiders return to their homeland. The Vikings, also known as Norsemen (or Northmen), were seafaring peoples from Scandinavia (modern-day Denmark, Norway and Sweden). Their English name came from the old Norse word vikingr, meaning "someone who goes on an overseas expedition" or “pirate”. From the 790s to the mid-11th century, the Vikings were a constant menace, raiding and looting 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, in their quest for trade and for new lands to settle.

Pommel (part of the hilt) of a Viking swordPommel (part of the hilt) of a Viking sword


The Vikings began raiding and pillaging coastal settlements of the British Isles, France and elsewhere in northern Europe in the 8th century. They frequently made surprise attacks on churches and monasteries, stealing valuables and farm animals. Their victims were shown little mercy. The first recorded Viking attack was in AD 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 at Þingvellir, the "assembly fields", near Reykjavík, the modern-day capital of Iceland.

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