Norsemen and Vikings
Scandinavian warriors

~800- ~999

Norsemen were Scandinavian VIKINGS who raided and settled on the coasts of NW Germany, the Low Countries, France, and Spain in the 9th and 10th centuries. Among the causes of the influx were the desire for wealth, power, and adventure and the attempt of HAROLD I of Norway to subjugate the independent Norwegian nobles, forcing them to look to foreign conquests.

The Norsemen's impact was especially lasting in Northern France, where they began (c.843) to sail up the French rivers, attacking, looting, and burning such cities as Rouen and Paris and ruining commerce and navigation.

In 911 one of their leaders, Rollo, was given the duchy of NORMANDY by CHARLES III. Rollo's successors expanded their lands and were only nominal vassals of the French kings. The Norsemen accepted Christianity, adopted French law and speech, and continued in history as Normans.

Considered the world's best shipbuilders, they were driven as far as Iceland where they defeated the Irishmen and ejected them in 850, to Greenland (See Eric the Red) and North America (See Leif Ericson) by overpopulation, internal dissension, quest for trade, and thirst for adventure. Many Vikings settled where they had raided. The Viking Age ended sometime in the late 10th century with the introduction of Christianity into Scandinavia; the emergence of the kingdoms of Norway, Denmark, and Sweden; and the rise of European states strong enough to repel invasion.

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