Vikings were a band of people that lived in the Scandinavian region. For over a thousand years the Viking culture was a land based culture of farmers and fishermen. As time progressed and food and land shortages began to become common place, the Vikings took to the sea to explore and to plunder. While more savage than disciplined, the Viking raiders were feared throughout Europe.
The Viking period is considered to be from the late 700’s A.D. to approximately the 1100’s. After this time period most Viking had converted to Christianity and were less interested in conquering and pillaging. There are many interesting facts associated with the Viking culture that we still see evidence of today.
1. The Viking Leif Erickson discovered America nearly 500 years before Columbus. There are still many artifacts being discovered in the northern United States that have Viking origins.
2. The word Thursday is based on the Viking god’s name Thor. Thor was one of the most popular god’s of the Viking warrior. Thor’s Day has, over the years become Thursday on the calendar
3. William the Conqueror was a direct descendant of the Vikings. His great grandfather, Rollo, conquered a part of France and named it Normandy. This area of France is still referred to as Normandy and the direct descendants are Normans (Norse Men).
4. Viking, when spoken in the original Norse language, means Pirate. These sea faring men were the best ship builders in the world at that time. They created the long boat. This boat was able to hold 50 men and the flat bottom enabled them to enter rivers as well as sail on the sea. Their ship building abilities is one of the credits given as to why they were such good conquering forces.
5. Viking women were held in high regard in their society. Unlike many cultures of that time period that did not bestow rights on women, Viking women could marry whomever they chose and divorce them if they were not happy. Women were in charge of running the home front and men were expected to follow their rules in this matter.
There are many other interesting facts and traditions that are associated with this once fierce culture. Today, the Vikings have assimilated into every culture on the planet.