The Vikings came from three countries of Scandinavia: Denmark, Norway, and Sweden. In the Norse language the Vikings spoke, the name ‘Viking’ means ‘pirate’, one who goes on raids and steals from others. Find Denmark, Norway, and Sweden on the Scandinavia map below.
The Viking Age in European history was about AD 700 to AD 1100. During this period many Vikings left Scandinavia and traveled to other countries, such as Britain and Ireland. Some went to fight and steal treasure. Others settled in new lands as farmers, craftsmen, or traders.
During the Viking Age, Vikings traveled in their boats as traders, settlers, and warriors. Many of the Vikings were tall and had red or blonde hair and beards. Villages on or near any coast in early medieval Europe lived in great fear of Viking attacks.
Three different groups of Vikings can be identified. They took three different, sometimes overlapping, routes.
- Danes raided England and Gaul and followed the Atlantic coast of Europe south into the Mediterranean Sea to Italy.
- Swedes went eastward into the Baltic Sea. One group, called the Rus’, founded the settlement of Kiev. They called it Russland (later known as Russia).
- Norwegians raided England but preferred Ireland and Scotland. They also traveled to Greenland and about the year AD 1000 landed at a place they called Vinland (North America).
(edited from source)