General Travel




Along with the Spartans of ancient Greece, the Samurai legionnaire estate of Japan, and the Zulus of southern Africa, the Vikings of Scandinavia are extensively regarded as one of history’s topmost legionnaire societies.

The Viking period has been a chief fodder of popular culture for decades, from flicks( How to Train Your Dragon, Outlander, Valhalla Rising) and television shows( The Last Kingdom, Vikings) to comics( Hägar The Horrible) and novels( Michael Crichton’s Eaters of the Dead, Terry Jones ’ The Saga of Erik the Viking).

Now, with Vikings Valhalla on Netflix, administrative patron/ pen Jeb Stuart will claw deeper into some of the most notorious Vikings in history, including fabulous discoverer Leif Erikson( played by Sam Corlett) and ambitious Nordic Napoleon Harald Sigurdsson( played by Leo Suter).


But despite the fashionability of the Norsemen( or maybe as a direct result of it), the tradition girding these ancient explorers frequently overwhelms the reality of their actuality. While all Vikings were Norsemen, not all Norsemen were Vikings.

In fact, annalist Patrick Goodness suggests that the word Viking was firstly used as a verb that meant to go out pillaging. Only over time did the meaning of the word Viking evolve into a name for an entire community of people.

Then we ’ll take a look at the Vikings ’ westward expansion from Scandinavia to North America, including the studies of Leif Ericsson and his fabulous father, Erik the Red.


Ruling over utmost of Scandinavia, the Norsemen were notoriously talented boat- builders. The Vikings ’ foremost studies took them along the seacoast of northern Europe.

The Swedish went east to Kiev, where they innovated Kievan Rus ’( which ultramodern people of Belarus, Russia, and Ukraine claim as their artistic ancestors).

The Danish settled in Danelaw( now northern and eastern England) and Normandy( northern France).

The Norwegian Vikings were especially audacious, erecting their imposing longships in harborage municipalities similar as Bergen and Stavanger and also sailing the arms of Norway in hunt of greener ranges to plow and ransack.

They went around the northern seacoast of England to the islets of Scotland, where they formed alliances with the Highland clans. But others went indeed further in their hunt for new lands.


There’s some archaeological substantiation that suggests that monks from Ireland may have gone to Iceland decades before the Norse settlers arrived.

Hiberno- Scottish crosses sculpted into the wall of southern Iceland’s Kverkarhellir delve
eventually around 800 announcement suggest that there may have been a small agreement of Gaelic monks there, and a cabin set up in Hafnir was abandoned eventually between 770 and 880s.

But it was the Vikings who established the first major endless agreement in Iceland. They arrived eventually around the time 870, long after the rest of Western Europe had formerly been settled.

Little is known about the circumstances that drew these explorers to cross the frigid waters of the North Atlantic Ocean.

Some chroniclers have supposed that they may have been fleeing conflict brought about by the sweats of Harald Fairhair(a.k.a. King Harald I) to conquer and eventually unite the small fiefdoms that would come Norway.

Others believe it was simply a hunt for pastoralist land they would n’t have to fight( and potentially die) for.

Iceland’s first known endless settler is believed to be a Norwegian named Ingólfur Arnarson. On his first visit with his foster family, he stayed over downtime in what’s now known as Álftafjörður.

When he returned several times latterly, Arnarson erected his grange in the Reykjavik area and claimed much of the girding land for himself.

There were originally between 311 and 436 settlers that followed in his wake, but within 60 times all of the pastoralist land in Iceland had been claimed.

The Landnámabók – the medieval book that describes the agreement of Iceland by the Norsemen – mentions different places and further than people.

But some chroniclers estimate that those figures grew to over before the Age of agreement was over.

Their chieftains established a system of governance( known as the Althing) in 930 at Þingvellir, lower than 30 long hauls east of what latterly came Reykjavik.

It’s now the oldest congress in the world, though it was dislocated to the country’s capital in 1844.

It’s delicate to imagine what those early settlers must have allowed
when they laid eyes upon Iceland’s dynamic geographies for the first time.

From the mountains of what’s now Thingvellir National Park( a defended UNESCO World Heritage Site) and the dramatic falls of the Golden Circle to the geothermal exertion of the Geysir Center, the country’s natural prodigies are just asover-the-top and unearthly as those set up in Norway.

The graphic islet of Vigur, which is located in Westfjords and measures just1.2 long hauls long and.24 long hauls wide, offers a taste of what unspoiled Iceland must have looked like 1150 times agone

The bitsy agreement there’s home to the country’s only windmill as well as a puritanical- period house( both property of the National Museum of Iceland).

But utmost of the islet is fully uninhabited, serving as the summer home to thousands of catcalls, including arctic terns, black guillemots, eiders, and puffins.


The ancient Icelandic sagas suggest that there were other Vikings who tried( and eventually failed) to settle Greenland nearly a century before the appearance of Erik Thorvaldsson.

But Erik the Red( the father of Vikings Valhalla ‘s Leif Erikson) – nicknamed for the fiery hair and beard that matched his notorious temper – was the country’s first endless European settler, and eventually led its colonization sweats.

Erik’s family moved to northwest Iceland eventually around the time 960, when they were expatriated from Norway because his father, Thorvald Asvaldsson, had killed several people.

By 982 Erik had gotten wedded and settled on a ranch in the Dalasýsla region of western Iceland. Soon after the birth of his first son, Erik committed murder during a property disagreement.

As a result, he was expatriated from Iceland for three times, so he sailed west in hunt of new lands.

According to the Saga of Erik the Red, he sailed around what’s now known as Cape Farewell and up the western seacoast of Greenland.

The period from 900 to 1300 announcement is known as the Medieval Warm Period. chroniclers believe the country may actually have been green at the time, with lower ocean ice, further timbers and foliage, and a longer growing season.

In the majestic arms and rich denes
, Erik the Red saw the pledge of substance. So he ultimately returned home to tell musketeers and families stories of the “ Green Land. ”

The Icelandic Vikings, who were enduring a shortage at the time, were fluently vended on shifting. So in 985 Erik led a line of 25 vessels loaded with 500 people, domesticated creatures, and other particulars demanded to establish Greenland’s first endless agreement.

Unfortunately, 11 of those vessels failed to complete the trip, but the survivors established spreads at what’s now known as Qassiarsuk( where Erik served as chieftain) and Nuuk.

In addition to husbandry, they would find summer food by hunting for seals and walrus in Disko Bay( which is located above the Arctic Circle). Within 15 times, there were around Norsemen living on 300 to 400 different granges.
The Viking civilization faded from Greenland about 500 times latterly As temperatures in the region got colder, the land was no longer pastoralist.

Some went back to Norway( where numerous ranches had been abandoned after the country was struck by a pest), while others headed indeed further west.

But you can still see remnants of this ancient Scandinavian society along the Napassorssuaq Fjord, which is uninhabited now but boasts plenitude of cool & weird ocean creatures and polar bears.

You can marvel at the stirring lookouts along the Prins Christian Sund, or visit the Halsey Church, which remains the best- saved Viking ruin in the country.

still, head to the Viking gallery in Narsaq, If you get a chance. There you ’ll find a complete longhouse that’s believed to be from Erik the Red’s original Greenland agreement.


Erik the Red is n’t the only notorious Viking discoverer in his family. Erik’s alternate son, Leif Erikson, returned to Greenland after spending time in Norway, where King Olaf I converted him to Christianity.

Erikson brought several Christian missionaries along with him, and together they erected Tjodhilde’s Church( named after Leif’s mama ), the first Christian church on the North American mainland.

trippers to Greenland moment can visit a reconstruction of the bitsy church in Qassiarsuk.

According to the Saga of Erik the Red, Leif spotted a place he called “ Vinland ” for the first time after his boat got blown out course when he and his crew were en route from Norway to Greenland in 1000 announcement.

Other restatements of the Icelandic sagas suggest he’d learned about it from a trafficker, who had seen the new country, but noway actually landed there.

Anyhow, Leif latterly assembled a crew of 35 men and set passage, eventually getting the first European to set bottom on the North American mainland.

During his disquisition of what we now call Maritime Canada, he first landed on a rocky, desolate place he called “ Helluland, ” which is believed to be Baffin Island.

Going further, he set up a heavily forested area he called “ Markland, ” conceivably in what’s now Labrador. His third and final stop, Vinland, as the green land offered generous grape vines, wheat, and salmon.

It was then, in ultramodern- day Newfoundland, that Erikson innovated the first European agreement in North America, nearly 500 times before Christopher Columbus “ discovered ” the mainland.

The point, known as Leifsbudir( Leif’s Cells), remained undiscovered until the early 1960s, when it was linked as a Norse agreement by Norwegian discoverer Helge Ingstad and his woman
, archaeologist Anne Stine Ingstad.

They exhumed further than ancient Viking bones at L’Anse aux Meadows, in northwest Newfoundland.

Callers to the UNESCO World Heritage Site moment can explore repaired sod houses and boats from the Viking period.

The rest of Maritime Canada offers a bounty of natural beauty, including the arctic beast- filled Gros Morne National Park, abundant ocean life in the Mingan Archipelago, and stunning decor along theSt. Lawrence River and the Fjord du Saguenay.