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What countries did the Vikings invade?

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Quick Answer

During the Viking Age, between the seventh and 11th centuries, Norse traders, raiders and colonists established a presence in countries as far apart as modern-day Canada and Iran. The Vikings emerged mostly from coastal communities in Norway, Denmark and Sweden to explore, and eventually settle in, most European and Mediterranean countries. They established colonies in North America and maintained a presence in Greenland that lasted nearly 500 years.

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What countries did the Vikings invade?
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Full Answer

Countries closest to the Vikings' homeland were the most vulnerable to raids and efforts at colonization. Britain, Ireland, France and Russia were frequent targets of Viking attacks, as well as being the Norsemen's main trading partners. Norse settlers founded dynasties in Normandy, England and Russia. Even the Mediterranean island of Sicily came under Norse rule. Norse settlers followed Eric the Red, and his son, Leif, to Greenland and North America, which they called Vinland. Norse settlements that date to the Viking Age have been excavated across Russia and the Caspian Sea basin. At the southern edge of the Caspian Sea, a number of Norse settlements are known to have existed in what would later become Iran. Much of the Black Sea coast was also colonized by the Norse, including the Crimea and territories in the modern nation of Turkey.

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Related Questions

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    Where did the Vikings settle?

    A:

    During 800 to 1150 A.D., referred to as the Viking Age, many Vikings left their homeland of Scandinavia to resettle in other areas such as Ireland, Scotland, England, Iceland, Greenland and as far off as Canada, France and Sicily. Scandinavia consisted of the countries Norway, Sweden and Denmark.

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  • Q:

    Were all Vikings warriors?

    A:

    While there is a popular perception of Vikings as barbaric, marauding raiders, this only paints a partial image of a culture that included mothers, children, old and infirm people; in fact, as a whole, the ancient Scandinavian peoples known as Vikings mostly worked as farmers, with very few members of this society existing without some sort of connection to a farm. The marauding and raiding activities can be seen as more of a side business than a full-time job for Vikings, and even those who would participate in international trade or raiding would very likely come home to a farm. These farms typically grew grains such as oats, barley and rye in addition to vegetables such as cabbages and root vegetables.

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    How did Vikings navigate?

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    Vikings did not have reliable written maps or accurate tools such as compasses to help them on their seagoing voyages, but they were able to navigate using a system of narratives, climate and weather knowledge, landmarks, memory and chance. There is evidence that they may have used primitive tools such as sundials to help with aspects of navigation such as determining latitude, but this is more of a theory than a verified fact. Astronomical advantages such as the reliable position of the sun, moon and stars likely helped Vikings navigate around the northern Atlantic Ocean, but given how many Viking shipwrecks have been found over the years, it's safe to say that their seagoing missions were not always successful.

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    How did the Vikings travel?

    A:

    The Vikings were from Scandinavia, an area that included islands, peninsulas and ocean-bordering lands, so their primary means of transportation was by using their boats and ships. At the beginning of the Viking Age, Reference.com says they were "the best shipbuilders and sailors in the world," eventually sailing to Greenland and North America.

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