Joshua Wilkes
Dr. Ted Allder
ENG 1203-033
14 April, 2017
Vikings Affected the World
Do people know what the extent influence of the Vikings had on the world? The Vikings were not originally blood-thirsty people, but their environment crafted them into naturally hardened warriors. When the Viking people started to spread out, one of the first places they had and influence on was England. Also, Ireland and Scotland were not spared from Viking impression. Even the mighty Frankish empire could not halt the effect of the Vikings. The Vikings traveled outstanding distances to trade and raid, as far as to the middle east to even discover North America first. Vikings were one the most violent and feared people that had a reach that could not be stopped, and with their famous exploits they had a tremendous impact on the world. Who were these people to go so far and how did they come to be known as one of the most barbaric people of history?
The Vikings did not just appear on this earth with a battle axe and shield, ready to take whatever they wanted. As the most hostile environments were created and cultivated, so were the Vikings. The Vikings, sometimes referred to as Scandinavians, came from Norway, Sweden, and Denmark. They originally thrived as farmers, just like everyone else. What made these people the way they were was just plain old circumstance. According to National Geographic, the 2017 March edition, a volcano erupted in the year 536 A.D that caused a cold front for fourteen years (39). The simple farmers of Scandinavia were hit dramatically. The cold made it extremely difficult to grow their food. The northern parts were scattered with abandoned villages due to the lack of food and attacks from neighbors who stole food from one another. Here is how the infamous Vikings started to form. Through the hardship that was created by nature, the remaining Vikings were the strongest of the strongest. Once the temperature started to rise, so did bands of people start to form and the race was on to claim the abandoned territory. By the year of 750 A.D, there was three dozen small Kingdoms scattered across the land. As time passed the population started to grow, and it came to a point that farm land grew scars with the passing years. They tried to balance this by focusing on fishing, but the ocean in that climate was not very forgiving. Known as the greatest ship builders, the Vikings designed that baffled greatest historian's minds on how the they even survived the oceans' storms. Then it happened, the start of one of greatest cultural influences the world has ever had and still is. (34-39)
Around the year of 793 or 796, Lindisfarne, England was the first of the decades of raids. These were raids that sent shocks throughout the country. This was something on the special side. They did not just attack villages. They attacked a certain building that frightened the English. The Vikings' raid struck the heart of the people; they attacked a monastery. Now a monastery was important because it held all the ideals of Christianity, that came from Italy. Traditionally people would give the church donations. When the Vikings raided them, they found many treasures in the monastery, and they made a connection that this was a rich place with little security. After they saw these easy pickings, they started to come back time and time again. Not only did they attack sea ports, but they also had the ability to travel up the river Thames where they were able the attack London, the heart of England (Lamoureux). In time, raiding styles started to change "Ca 835- ca 895, Vikings began together in large fleets and armies and establish temporary bases" (Kurrild-Klitgaard, Svendsen). They did start to see the benefits of a long run as they started to take land and demand what was called in England Danelaw. Not only did they attack cities, but they even built their own cities to colonize the area. "In the north Yorkshire, with the influential city of York as its capital, remains among the regions of England most heavily influenced by Norse in terms of language and place