Are you just like me going crazy over Norwegian history after watching the series Vikings?
I loved it so much so it made me plan a summer holiday in Norway, learning more about the history of Vikings.
The Vikings have left a significant imprint in history, and many are fascinated by the Nordic warriors. In Norway, there are lots of interesting places and museums that can turn your holiday into an adventure.
The history and culture of the Vikings
The Viking Age began in 793 with an attack on the monastery in Lindisfarne, England. The attack is known as the very first looting train. In the following centuries, the Vikings were able to travel far into the world, thanks to their typical and very advanced Viking ships. The ships also helped to create cultural ties with the rest of Europe and were crucial in uniting Norway into one country.
The Vikings came to rule in the Nordic countries for 300 years until the assassination of King Harald Finehair. His death at the Battle of Stamford Bridge in 1066 marks the end of the Viking Age.
The Vikings traveled far out into the world, partly to plunder and colonize and partly on voyages of discovery and trade. At first, few Vikings survived the tough journeys. But the fleets became larger and eventually, there were hundreds of longships. They sailed across the Baltic Sea, down the Russian rivers to the Black and Caspian Seas, and up to important trading posts such as Constantinople and Baghdad. The Vikings were also the first Europeans to land in Greenland and North America. Leif Eriksson actually discovered America around the year 1000, 500 years before Christopher Columbus.
The Vikings founded several cities and colonies outside Scandinavia, including Dublin in Ireland and Normandy in northern France. Dublin was an important place for the Vikings for over 300 years. Between 879 and 920, Iceland was colonized, which paved the way for the colonization of Greenland. Around the year 1000, the Vikings also settled at L’Anse aux Meadows in Newfoundland, Canada.
How could such small and scattered people conquer so much land? In addition to courage and cunning, the Norwegian Vikings had a fatalistic view of life that made them willing to take risks. They also had an incredible ability to shake off losses suffered at battle or at sea. The number of men who fell in war was sometimes shockingly high, considering the total number of Vikings. Despite this, the Vikings’ desire for conquest did not slow down significantly.
The Vikings are best known for their brutal looting trains, and rightly so. At the same time, many lived quiet lives as merchants and farmers, as a large part of foreign trade was based on barter. Those who were not at sea supported the families by working at home on the farm. Everyday life was probably very tough and demanding, but there were also joys in everyday life. The most famous Viking drink was mead, a kind of beer made with, among other things, honey.
The Vikings spread their culture and traditions in Europe, and at the same time exchanged the culture, language, and knowledge of other countries. Towards the end of the Viking Age, the Vikings weakened, partly due to internal battles and partly due to resistance from countries that built fortresses to defend themselves against the attacks.
On our journey in the footsteps of Vikings I did two things every free time I had. I wrote down facts about them to use in a book in the future. But I also played games on my phone, not Viking games but at sites like Poker Stars and Casual-Crossword.
Under here there is a list of strong Viking kings that I´ve been writing down, now I´m gonna search for more info about each of them for my book.
Norwegian Viking Kings
Harald Hårfager (850–932)
The first regent to rule a significant part of Norway. According to legend, he refused to cut his hair until he was Norway’s only king.
Eirik Blodyx 885-954
King of Norway from 933 to 935. The name Blodyx is said to come from his participation in the Viking trains.
Håkon the Good (918–961)
King of Norway from the 930s to 960. Grew up with King Athelstan of England, and then succeeded better than his big brother Eirik Blodyx in uniting Norway.
Olav Tryggvasson (963–1000)
King of Norway from 995 to 1000. His greatest contribution as a king was that he converted large parts of the country to Christianity.
Olaf Haraldsson, known as St Olav (993–1030)
King of Norway from 1015 to 1028. Was a warlord in England and France before returning to Norway. He saw it as his calling to make Norway a Christian kingdom and became the first Nordic saint after his death at the Battle of Stiklestad on July 29, 1030.
Magnus the Good (1024–1047)
King of Norway from 1035 to 1047. His reign benefited from less brutality and the Vikings’ desire to restore the monarchy.
Harald Hårdråde (1015–1066)
King of Norway from 1045 to 1066. Reigned with Magnus the Good the first year. He died at the Battle of Stamford Bridge, which also marks the end of the Viking Age.