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Vikings

Parent Category: Educational

 

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1.  The Vikings were people from Scandinavia.  Today, these countries are known as
Denmark, Norway and Sweden.  Around 400 AD, they began to make frequent
raids by boat into Europe, even going into the Mediterranean Sea and raiding Sicily
and southern Italy. The Vikings began attacking the Atlantic coast of southern
France and also the eastern coast of England.

2.  By 1000 AD, some of the Vikings settled in northern France, where they were called
the Normans, or Northmen, and the area where they settled is still called Normandy.
Here they also converted to Christianity.

3.  At around the same time, some Vikings sailed west to Iceland, Greenland, and even as
far as Nova Scotia, Canada. Some Viking men married Native American women there.
The Vikings settled in Iceland and Greenland, but only stayed in Canada for a short time,
because the Inuit people there were too strong for them, and because a global cooling period
beginning about 1300 AD made the oceans too icy for their ships to sail.

4.   The Vikings were very good sailors.  They built boats that were very long and narrow. 
They were called longships or dragonships, because they had giant wood carvings of dragons
that were displayed at the front of the boat.  The dragon was used so that people would be
frightened.  Each longboat could carry over 100 people.

5.  Many people think of the Vikings as always wearing big helmets with horns. 
Actually, there was one Viking helmet found in Norway, and it didn't have any horns.

6.  The Vikings discovered America about 500 years before Christopher Columbus set sail.

7.  Leif Erickson was one of the important Viking leaders.  He was the one that led
the Viking sailors over to the land now known as America.

8. Woman were very important members of the Viking culture.  Because their men were
away for long periods of time, the women were the ones that ran the household and farms.
Viking woman also knew how to protect themselves, and they could pick out any man they
wanted to be their husband.

9. Even before the Vikings converted to Christianity,  religion was a very important part of
the Viking culture.  Vikings worshiped a various number of Gods and Goddesses.  Since the
Vikings were people who were known warriors, it makes sense that their version of heaven
included fighting all day. If a Viking was a good and true warrior, then they would be able
to go to Valhalla, or heaven. After fighting all day long,their nights were spent eating and
drinking like it was a party. This was called feasting.

10. Eric the Red was another famous Viking leader.  He tried to get his people to settle up North.
Even though the land was crusted with ice and completely white with frozen snow, he called the area
Greenland to trick others to come live there. Unfortunately, the only time there was actually
anything green there was just a little by the ocean during the peak of the summer.


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BBC Education: The Vikings
Fate of the Greenland Vikings
History of the Vikings for Kids by Squidoo
History: The Swedish Vikings
Leif Ericson
Leif Ericsson
Leif Erikson
Nova: The Vikings
The Vikings
The Vikings
The Vikings by 42explore
Vikings by Kidipedia
Vikings by BBC
Vikings by PBS
Vikings and Scandinavian History
Vikings: North Atlantic Saga by the Smithsonian
Who Were the Vikings?

Fast Facts Resources
The Vikings by 42explore
Nova: The Vikings
Who Were the Vikings?

 

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