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The Vikings and Their Mark in World History

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The Middle Ages was a period of time in our history going from about 590 to 1500. Medieval Europe had many big events, one of those things is the Vikings, who were known for their travel and brutal persona. Following the fall of the Roman Empire, the people from what is now known as Scandinavia, the Vikings spread their influence of their maritime skills, their warrior techniques and experienced trading talents. Because they were willing to settle new lands, they impacted the social, economic and political systems of the time.

The Vikings were a society of Norse people who are originally from what now is Scandinavia about 10,000 years ago. A long time later, they became known as ‘Vikings’, which the definition is uncertain, but it may be based on the Norse words for ‘voyagers’. The Vikings built trading networks for multiple different areas in Europe and other places such as Northern India and the Middle East. The Vikings were the first to create trade routes down the Volga and Dnieper River and also created routes to Constantinople and the Byzantine Empire. The Vikings helped the trading economy of Europe and helped it become a more stable market. The Vikings also influenced the technology of the Middle Ages by introducing swords, spears, javelins, battle axes, etc. The metalworking skills of the Vikings also welcomed the forge and smithy to Europe. The Vikings also made particular areas of Europe dangerous by raiding monasteries and settlements, making it a challenge for traders and travelers to go through different parts of Medieval Europe.

The Vikings were famous for sailing long distances from their homes between 800 and 1066 AD. They travelled around Europe to raid, trade, set up new routes and find new land around the globe. The Vikings were expert boat builders and had exceptional maritime skills. They designed and built the ‘longboat’, which was 16-37 meters long and had holes in the side of the boat for paddles. They were easy to steer and were designed to float high in the water, making landing on the beach easy. The Vikings were also sort of eco-friendly as they designed the houses with turf roofs to help keep in the heat. The Vikings had funerals, when they would place the body with their clothes, jewelry, even their animals in a burial ship. They would cover the ship in piles of dirt and sediment or set it alight and push the boat out to sea. The Vikings had one special being in their society called Leif Erikson. According to historians, Leif was actually the first-person who set foot on North America/Canada, apart from the Natives of course. ‘Saga of Erik, the Red’ states: “There were fields of wild wheat, and the vine-tree in full growth. There were also the trees which were called maples”. This shows that he has found land and saw these things on the landscape. Maple trees come from Canada, which proves that he did set foot on Canada/North America, about 500 years before Christopher Columbus.

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The Vikings are known to be barbaric and bloodthirsty warriors who sail in big boats. These remarks are definitely accurate as they raided monasteries and churches as they did not agree with Christianity, as they had their own religion. This made it difficult for travelers in Europe to pass through areas the Vikings had dominated. When the feudal system was put in place, part of the reason to create it was to respond to the threats spoken by the Vikings. Empires were great potential marketplaces, with luxury goods because the wealth were usually living in the larger cities, meaning more potential customers were living in one big colonization. In the middle of the ninth century, archaeological evidence of the Vikings trading in Constantinople were found. Both of these empires were geographically accessible, from the trading routes the Viking sailors charted. This helps prove that the trades were probably due to economic and political factors.

Vikings have influenced old Europe and also modern Europe and many other societies. The Viking’s law system is similar to today with establishing that alleged criminals would be trailed by a group of witnesses and could be found innocent or guilty. In 930 AD, the parliament of the Viking called ‘Althing’ was established in Iceland. It runs to this day, making it the world’s longest running parliament. The Vikings also influenced a lot of modern-day art and language. Norse language has been even been used in our language today. Some of these words are ‘happy’, ‘law’, ‘slaughter’ and ‘berserk’ and there are many more. Even the word ‘Thursday’ comes from the word ‘Thor.’ This shows that the Vikings have impacted modern life in some way, and also left us some interesting history behind us.

In conclusion, the Vikings left a significant mark in world history. With their seafaring skills, warrior techniques, and skilled trade talents, they influenced the social, economic, and political systems of the time and generations to come.

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The Vikings and Their Mark in World History. (2023, September 08). Edubirdie. Retrieved March 1, 2024, from
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