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The Vikings were violent sea-borne raiders. They migrated from Scandinavia, sailing across the seas to the coasts of England. Their hostility and raids affected communities they came across on their way. Even monasteries that seemed secure and strategically sited on inland rivers were victims of the Viking’s ships rowing upstream. The Scandinavians settled in the North Atlantic islands, Russia, Normandy, and Sicily. This essay tries determine whom the Vikings are, where they came from and their way of life.
The Vikings history dates back to the eighth century. The Vikings were warriors. Their name is derived from vikingr a word meaning ‘pirate’ in the early Scandinavian language. They were the Norsemen who were raiders for two centuries on the Britain coast. Their migration from Scandinavia was their last after moving from Lindisfarne Island at the coast of England where they were unwelcomed by the monks at the island. They regarded them as the violent raiders from the sea (Arnold, Martin, 45).The Vikings were mainly attracted to areas with sufficient wealth to raid, but they later settled.
The Vikings came from Scandinavia although the countries of Scandinavia did not exist, as they are presently known. They had travelled in their perfectly streamlined long ships in search of new lands to settle (Hall, 87). They carried out raids and killed the inhabitants of places they went. However, they made a deal with the King of England who gave them part of his land to settle. This became their new home, and they settled down. Some though sought more adventure and sailed to Ireland.
Initially, the Vikings were not full-time soldiers. They were farmers and fishermen who spent the larger part of the year at home. It was only during the summer when they rallied to the call of a local leader and sailed across the sea to raid, trade and seek new places to settle. The changes in activity were due to temperature changes, different seasons, and climate hence each activity was carried out at its opportune time. The Vikings were experts in the production of tools they used to increase efficiency and self-sufficiency in food production (Arnold, Martin, 72).
They established industries in their houses-cum-workshops at the streets, which developed to become manufacturing centers. Here, they developed a wide range of everyday items. The Vikings acquired raw materials from neighboring estates, which the craftsmen made into necessities for sale in the market places. They engaged in metalwork, leather work, carving, and textile making. Combs were common objects found at their market places. The combs were used for grooming, to get the troublesome lice off their heads (Hall, 67).
However, deterioration of climatic conditions because of global warming, diet and standards of living, the lives of the Vikings deteriorated. They became vulnerable to diseases due to reduced resistance. The larger population died from Black Death (Ferguson, Robert, 29). The Vikings were no longer able to survive or migrate to other areas. Sailing expeditions were no longer an option. Therefore causing the demise of the Vikings.
The Vikings were powerful people that had many means of survival but harsh climatic conditions and deterioration of living standards led to their end. Hence, care should be taken to ensure healthy living standards of people and curb global warming effects.
Ferguson, Robert. The Vikings: A History. New York: Viking, 2009. Print.
Arnold, Martin. The Vikings: Wolves of War. Lanham, Md: Rowman & littlefield publishers, 2007. Print.
Hall, R A. The Exploring the World of the Vikings. London: Thames & Hudson, 2007. Print
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