21 Viking Raid Facts: Learn All About The Crafty And Terrific Thieves | Kidadl


21 Viking Raid Facts: Learn All About The Crafty And Terrific Thieves

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Also regarded as Norsemen, the Vikings were seafaring Scandinavian warriors, raiders, traders, pirates, and even colonizers of the late 8th to 11th century.

In your opinion, who is more likely to win a battle? The deadly Spartan warriors or the unforgiving Vikings?

While the debate between the Spartans and Vikings on their superiority in battle may continue, it goes without saying that both exhibited uniqueness in leaving their marks imprinted in history. The richness of Viking culture is in its heroic sagas and myths that narrated about dragons, battles, seafaring adventures, courageous heroes, gods and goddesses, and several other legendary figures. Inhabitants of the Scandinavian kingdoms of Denmark, Sweden, and Norway, the Vikings plundered and carried back truckloads of gold, silver, and innumerable precious items. They also took slaves from the raids and traded in them. The exploits of these Norse people included the shorelines of North Africa, Europe, and the British Isles. The atrocities of these terrific seafaring warriors greatly impacted the condition of Europe in the medieval ages. Recent excavations of Bjork Island have showered some light on the archeological aspects of these Norsemen. The coins excavated from several parts of the world demonstrate the expansive reach of their trading circle.

If you are intrigued to know more about the Vikings then give these Viking shield facts and Viking armor facts a read!

Viking Raid Warfare And Tactics

The raids delivered by the Vikings left the world awestruck as they emerged powerful and victorious in battle even against the strongest kings. Let's learn about the warfare tactics and strategies implemented by the Vikings.

The constant onslaught that was launched in several parts of Europe by the Vikings was unstoppable primarily due to their unrelenting attitude. Moreover, the warfare techniques adopted by them are also commendable. Every Viking member didn't participate in the pillage and plunder. A section of the Viking clan engaged in making preparations for battle by constructing boats along the coast of northern England. The Viking longship portrays the exemplary skills of the Vikings in building boats as well as ships. These innovative vessels changed the course of history as they were utilized to unleash brutal attacks upon the rest of Europe. In fact, historians are of the view that the Vikings rose to prominence owing to these revolutionary seafaring vessels. These vessels were crafted as per the requirements of the sea - sometimes broader for calm waters while sometimes lighter ones to traverse long distances for raiding purposes. Unlike the coastal ones, these vessels were strong enough to sail through Norway, Scotland, Greenland, and Iceland.

Viking women and children were exempted from the sea exploits. Although it's not clear whether the women participated in warfare alongside the men, some women like Freydis Eiríksdóttir, daughter of Eric the Red, proved to be as fearsome as their male counterparts. However, a Viking raider was armed with simplistic tools including swords, knives, and axes. The Vikings were exceptionally proficient in hurling the war axes at the opponents to injure or incapacitate them. Did you know that the Vikings actually didn't sport horned helmets? Only one helmet could be retrieved but it lacks the horns. These helmets were used as protective gear to save the head. Although the Viking raids are often associated with barbarianism, the act disclosed excellent discipline and warfare tactics that led the Viking warriors ahead with an indestructible force.

Reasons They Raided

Now comes the question, why and how did the Viking raids commence? Here are some of the significant reasons that egged these Norsemen to pursue raiding.

The word 'Viking' has its roots in the Old Norse language colloquially used by people of Scandinavia which implies 'pirate raid'. However, no particular event could be identified that worked as a catalyst, marking the initiation of the raids. Historians have formulated several theories to identify the reasons behind these raids. Domestic unrest and overpopulation are believed to be two of the major reasons behind the plunder and invasions. They started exploring new places to settle. Scarcity of enough land for farming in Scandinavia invited internal conflicts between the clans for securing survival. As a result of this violence, the weaker were eradicated with unforeseen invasions and raids. No specific reasons could be allocated for their brutal behavior. Moreover, greed for silver, gold, and riches after the first successful raid lured these Norsemen to continue looting more monasteries. Can you name a king who averted these atrocious raids? King Alfred the Great, the ruler of Anglo-Saxons, was highly revered by his subjects for defending the kingdom, Wessex from the Viking armies.

The raids led by the Vikings brought about significant changes in the world. The dawn of feudalism was brought about by Viking invasions as kings and nobility started constructing castles and forts in defense. Additionally, the Vikings were explorers and traders who opened up new sea routes to unknown lands. They opened up trading routes to the Byzantine empire and Constantinople and built up a strong network of routes that stretched far east and west. They reached Spitzbergen, Greenland, Iceland, and North America by setting sail. Trade relations were established with Europe, Northern India, Russia, as well as China. The weapons and renovative vessels excavated from the site of Viking settlement offer great insight into the skillful craftsmanship of these ancient inhabitants.

Places They Raided

The ravages inflicted by the Vikings upon the otherwise peaceful and unsuspecting world threatened to annihilate Europe. Here is a list of some of the places that fell victim to Viking raids.

Residing in Scandinavia, modern-day Denmark, Sweden, and Norway, the Vikings primarily targeted the monasteries that lined the coasts as these monasteries housed enormous wealth and the monks were inefficient at warfare. The Lindisfarne raid was perhaps the biggest and most significant Viking raid in history. In June of 793 AD, Lindisfarne, popularly known as the Holy Island of the British Isles, situated off the coast of Northumbria was brutally raided. This raid jolted the sacred Northumbrian kingdom as it was the place where Christianity started and spread its wings. Numerous monks were captured, enslaved, or killed and the place was plundered and burned. This invasion seized entire Britain with terror. However, according to the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, this incident was perceived as the vengeance of God on sinful people. Through their invasions, the Norsemen conquered the greater part of Ireland and Scotland and also tried to gain control over England.

Did you know that the first king of the Vikings who ruled in England was King Canute? He emerged victorious against Edmund II. He reigned between 1016-1035. On the other hand, the Viking, Harald Hardrada ruled Norway from 1015-1066. Harald headed a battle against King Harold Godwinson of England. Popularly known as the Battle of Stamford Bridge, the battle began on September 1066 at the Stamford Bridge village in York. Although Harald was defeated, it started a series of fights. However, the consecutive battles eventually made way for the Norman conquest in England but traditionally, it drew an end to the glorious Viking age.

Viking raid facts are all about the most skillful thieves and plunderers in history.

When They Began To Raid

Historians have been able to unravel the mysteries associated with these unmerciful Norse warriors through excavations. The time and place of the first plunder have also been revealed to the world.

Vikings were not always aggressive plunderers. Before the raiding practices began, the Vikings were ordinary sedentary people who engaged in agricultural practices. At the beginning of the Viking Age, the Norse society primarily relied on family farms and livestock. However, with the first raid on the pious island of Lindisfarne in 793 AD commenced a succession of plunders that devastated innumerable major European cities. About 50 years after the first raid, the Vikings joined forces to raid and plunder Paris and from 790-1100, the Vikings used up all water routes to pillage and destroy any land that they came across. Sometimes a Viking raid would continue for months! As they started navigating towards the west, they colonized Greenland and Iceland. However, the plunders gradually subsided as the Vikings started getting involved in internal conflicts concerning religion. The Viking clans were ardent worshippers of heathen gods and goddesses. For instance, they paid homage to God Odin who was the god of war, poetry, and wisdom. They also worshipped Odin's son, the God of Thunder called Thor. A lot of importance was showered on the burial customs of the Norsemen as the deceased was given an extravagant burial. The dead were garbed in the finest clothes and placed on a ship with some of his possessions. The entire ship was then ceremoniously set ablaze.

Christianity was first adopted by Leif Erikson with the aid of the king of Norway but a majority of the Vikings, who were tribesmen, denied to let go of the pagan gods worshipped in the Norse religion. However, the Norsemen gradually succumbed to Christianity.

Famous Viking Raiders

Despite the raids and human slaughtering, Vikings enjoy a dominant position in the pages of history. So, without any delay let's learn about some of the prominent raiders of the Viking age.

The Vikings didn't function under the dominance of a king or a specific central power. The Norse people residing in every village elected their own king. However, under the leadership of some Vikings, their conquests expanded. The king of Sweden and Denmark, Ragnar Lodbrok was one of the most ruthless legendary Viking warriors who is popular for commandeering an attack in 845 AD. He sailed along the Seine River with an indestructible fleet comprising 120 ships and some thousand Viking men rooting for Paris. The raid claimed the lives of many soldiers but earned the Vikings a huge ransom from King Charles the Bald. They received payment in 7,000 French livres of gold and silver. However, this worsened the situation as it made the Vikings more greedy. Ragnar's son named Bjorn Ironside was equally powerful as he successfully raided France and England.

Eric the Red or Eric the Great was an embodiment of bloodthirst that governed the actions of the Vikings. After Iceland banished the red-haired Eric, he moved to Greenland. As a result, Viking settlement as an agrarian society started in this far away land. Red's saga was continued by Leif Erikson, his son. Are you aware that Christopher Columbus wasn't the first explorer to land in present-day North America? It was actually Leif Erikson who reached North America while traveling to Greenland almost 500 years before Columbus. Back then, the Vikings termed it Newfoundland.

Other noteworthy leaders like Gunnar Hamundarson plundered Norway and Denmark while Ivar the Boneless invaded some kingdoms of the Anglo-Saxon. Harald Hardrada, Egil Skallagrimsson, and Eric Bloodaxe also left no stones unturned to rampage and ransack several parts of Europe.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for Viking raid facts, then why not take a look at Viking helmet facts or Viking axes facts?

<p>With a Master of Arts in English, Rajnandini has pursued her passion for the arts and has become an experienced content writer. She has worked with companies such as Writer's Zone and has had her writing skills recognized by publications such as The Telegraph. Rajnandini is also trilingual and enjoys various hobbies such as music, movies, travel, philanthropy, writing her blog, and reading classic British literature.&nbsp;</p>

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