Legacy of the Viking Age: Shaping Europe

The Legacy of the Vikings

Discover the impactful Legacy of the Viking Age – From expeditions to settlements that shaped European history and the spread of Christianity, leaving a lasting influence on Northern Europe’s religious and cultural landscape.

Viking Encounters with Christianity

As Vikings expanded their territories, they came into contact with various Christian communities along the coast of England, Ireland, and Scotland. While many of these encounters were initially hostile, with Vikings raiding and plundering Christian monasteries, they also opened up new opportunities for cultural exchange and religious conversion.

Viking Conversion to Christianity

Over time, some Vikings began to embrace Christianity, often due to the influence of Christian women whom they had married or captured in raids. In some cases, conversions were facilitated by the Christian Church, which saw the Vikings as a potential source of new converts and resources. This led to the establishment of a Christian Viking culture in parts of Scandinavia, which blended elements of traditional Viking beliefs with Christian teachings.

The Influence of Christian Vikings Christian

Vikings played a key role in the spread of Christianity in Northern Europe, both through their own actions and through their interactions with other Christian communities. In some cases, they served as ambassadors of the Christian faith, establishing churches and monasteries in their newly conquered territories. In others, they formed alliances with Christian leaders, helping to solidify the power of the Church in these regions.


Historical Context

The Lindisfarne Attack

The Viking attack on the abbey of Lindisfarne in Northumberland, England in 793 CE is considered the start of the Viking Age. However, some historians argue that the start of the Viking Age can be dated back to 700-750 CE based on evidence of earlier contacts between Scandinavia and the British isles. The attack resulted in the death of monks and the theft of church treasures, leading to a negative image of Vikings as violent and bloodthirsty.

Medieval English Portrayal

Medieval English chronicles portrayed Vikings as wolves among sheep and depicted them as completely violent. This image was challenged in the 17th century with the publication of scholarly works on the Viking Age. Linguistics traced the origins of rural idioms and proverbs, while dictionaries of the Old Norse language made it possible for more Victorians to read the Icelandic Sagas.

Scandinavian Historians

In Scandinavia, 17th-century scholars were the first to use runic inscriptions and Icelandic Sagas as historical sources. During the Enlightenment and Nordic Renaissance, historians developed a more rational and pragmatic approach to historical scholarship. By the late 18th century, the Viking Age was again seen as a barbaric and uncivilized period in Nordic history.

Reassessment of the Vikings

It was not until the 1890s that scholars outside Scandinavia began to extensively reassess the achievements of the Vikings. They recognized their artistry, technological skills, and seamanship, leading to a more positive image of the Vikings and their legacy.


Children of Ash and Elm A History of the Vikings by Neil Price
Children of Ash and Elm A History of the Vikings by Neil Price
The Viking Heart: How Scandinavians Conquered the World by Arthur Herman
The Viking Heart: How Scandinavians Conquered the World by Arthur Herman
Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman
Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman

Historical Background

The Vikings, who were pagans from present-day Denmark, Norway, and Sweden, invaded western and eastern Europe. They also settled in various other parts of the world, including the Faroe Islands, Ireland, Iceland, peripheral Scotland, Greenland, and Canada.


The North Germanic language, Old Norse, played a crucial role in the development of the present-day Scandinavian languages. Old Norse was the language spoken by the Vikings during the Viking Age, and it was widely used in the areas they inhabited, including Scandinavia and other parts of Europe. Over time, Old Norse evolved and developed into different regional dialects, which eventually became the modern-day Scandinavian languages, such as Danish, Norwegian, and Swedish.

The significance of Old Norse cannot be overstated, as it served as the basis for the development of the Scandinavian languages. Old Norse was a complex and rich language that reflected the Vikings’ culture and way of life. It was the language of their myths, legends, and sagas, and it was used in daily life to communicate, trade, and keep records.

The preservation of Old Norse was also essential to the preservation of the Vikings’ cultural heritage. Many of the stories and legends of the Vikings were passed down through oral tradition and were eventually written down in Old Norse. This helped to preserve their cultural traditions and allowed future generations to learn about the Vikings and their way of life.

Central Authority in Jutland

By 801, the Danes had established a strong central authority in Jutland, which allowed them to expand their reach beyond their own territory. This expansion was driven by their desire for land, trade, and plunder. The central authority provided the necessary stability and organization for the Danes to pursue their goals, and it helped to ensure that their expansion was conducted in a controlled and orderly manner.

As the Danes looked beyond their own territory, they encountered various new cultures and civilizations, and they quickly established trading relationships with them. These relationships allowed the Danes to trade goods, resources, and ideas, which helped to enrich their own culture and expand their knowledge of the world. The Danes also sought to conquer new lands and territories, which they did through raids and invasions. These raids were often brutal and devastating, and they earned the Danes a reputation as ruthless conquerors.

However, the Danes were not just conquerors and plunderers. They also brought with them their own culture and traditions, which they shared with the people they encountered. This helped to create a rich cultural blend that was influenced by both the Danes and the cultures they encountered during their travels. The Danes also played a significant role in the development of a monetary system, as their trading activities required the use of coins and other forms of currency.

Overall, the establishment of a strong central authority in Jutland allowed the Danes to pursue their goals and expand their reach beyond their own territory. Their expansion had a significant impact on the regions they traded with, and it helped to increase the standard of living in these regions and boost local economies.

Independent Communities in Norway

Norway’s mountainous terrain and fjords created strong natural boundaries that helped to keep communities separate and independent from one another. Unlike lowland Denmark, where a strong central authority had been established, the many small kingdoms in Norway remained autonomous.

Norway’s mountainous terrain and deep fjords created natural barriers that made it difficult for one kingdom to control another. The fjords provided a safe harbor for ships, which made it easier for communities to trade and communicate with the outside world. The rugged landscape also made it difficult for invading armies to move from one region to another, which helped to keep the kingdoms separate and independent.

By 800, there were approximately 30 small kingdoms in Norway, each with its own ruler and government. These kingdoms were isolated from one another by the natural boundaries created by the mountains and fjords. The independence of the kingdoms allowed for local traditions and cultures to flourish, which helped to shape the unique identity of each region.

The Sea as a Means of Communication

The sea played a crucial role in the communication and expansion of the Norwegian kingdoms. In the eighth century, the Scandinavians began building ships of war and sending them on raiding expeditions, which marked the start of the Viking Age.

Communication Through the Sea As the terrain in Norway was mountainous and dotted with fjords, the sea was the easiest way for the kingdoms to communicate with the outside world. This made the sea a vital trade route for the Vikings and allowed them to expand their trading and commercial activities beyond their own borders.

The Vikings were known for their shipbuilding skills, and in the eighth century, they began building ships of war. These ships were designed for both speed and strength, making them ideal for raiding expeditions. The Vikings used these ships to explore new territories, trade with other civilizations, and engage in piracy and raids.

The building of ships of war and the use of these ships for raiding expeditions marked the start of the Viking Age. The Vikings were notorious for their brutal raids, and their seafaring skills allowed them to travel to various parts of Europe and beyond, where they left their mark on the cultures they encountered.

Notorious Raiders

The North Sea rovers were a group of seafaring individuals who lived in the late Middle Ages and early Modern Period. They were made up of seafarers from the northern countries of Europe, such as England, Scotland, Ireland, and Wales, who were known for their skills in trading, colonizing, exploring, and plundering. These individuals often sailed across the North Sea in search of new opportunities and wealth. They were known for their daring exploits and their ability to navigate the rough waters of the North Sea, which made them both respected and feared by the people of Europe.

However, the North Sea rovers were also notorious for their brutal raids on coastal towns and villages. They would often attack without warning, taking whatever they could and killing anyone who stood in their way. This earned them a reputation as ruthless plunderers who terrorized the people of Europe. Despite this, many of the North Sea rovers went on to establish settlements and colonies in newly discovered lands, which helped to shape the world as we know it today. Overall, the North Sea rovers were a complex group of individuals who played a significant role in shaping the history of Europe and the world.

Historic Overview

The first recorded Viking raid occurred in 789, as noted in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, when a group of Danes sailed to the Isle of Portland in Dorset and were mistaken for merchants by a royal official. The Vikings, however, killed the official when he asked them to come to the king’s manor to pay a tax on their goods. This event marks the beginning of the Viking Age in the British Isles, which is typically dated at 793. According to the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, the Northmen raided the significant island monastery of Lindisfarne on June 8th, not January as previously thought.

Viking Attacks on Ireland and Europe

According to the Annals of Ulster, the Vikings made a serious attack on Iona, the mother-house of Lindisfarne, in 794 CE. The following year, they carried out raids along the northern coast of Ireland, and from their bases there, they attacked Iona again in 802 CE, causing great loss of life among the Céli Dé Brethren and burning the abbey to the ground.

Until 830 CE, the Vikings primarily focused their attacks on Ireland as England and the Carolingian Empire managed to fend them off. However, after 830 CE, the Vikings had great success in attacking England, the Carolingian Empire, and other parts of Western Europe. Taking advantage of the disunity within the Carolingian Empire and the conflict between the English kingdoms, the Vikings continued to wreak havoc across Europe.

Viking Conquests in the Frankish Kingdom

The Frankish Kingdom was greatly impacted by the raids of the Vikings, who had near immunity to sail up the Seine River. During the reign of Charlemagne and throughout the reigns of his descendants, the Kingdom experienced a series of Norse raids, eventually leading to the Scandinavian conquest and settlement of Normandy in 911.

In an effort to ward off further attacks, King Charles the Simple granted the Duchy of Normandy to Viking war leader Rollo, who had a chieftain background of either Norwegian or Danish origin. Rollo was given the title of duke and in return, he swore fealty to Charles, converted to Christianity, and pledged to defend northern France against Viking incursions. The Norman descendants of these Viking settlers went on to carry the Norman language and culture into England in 1066 and became the ruling aristocracy of Anglo-Saxon England.

Detail from image stone with ship from 800-1099 in Tjängvide, Gotland.

Detail from image stone with ship from 800-1099 in Tjängvide, Gotland.

The Clinker-Built Longships

The Scandinavians used clinker-built longships, which were uniquely suited to both deep and shallow waters, enabling them to reach coastlines and major river valleys in north-western Europe. Rurik expanded his territory to the east and became ruler of the city of Novgorod in 859, and his successors went on to found the East Slavic state of Kievan Rus’ with its capital in Kiev.

Vikings in the East

Other Norse people sailed south to the Black Sea and eventually reached Constantinople. The eastern connections of these Varangians brought Byzantine silk, cowrie shells from the Red Sea, and coins from Samarkand to Viking York.

Defeats and Withdrawals

In 884, an army of Danish Vikings was defeated by a Frisian army at the Battle of Norditi, leading to the permanent withdrawal of the Vikings from East Frisia. In the 10th and 11th centuries, Saxons and Slavs began using trained mobile cavalry effectively against Viking foot soldiers, making it difficult for Viking invaders to fight inland.

End of the Viking Age

The Viking Age is believed to have ended with the establishment of royal authority in Scandinavia and the dominance of Christianity as the dominant religion. The end date is usually placed in the early 11th century in all three Scandinavian countries, with the Battle of Stiklestad in 1030 marking the end of the Viking era in Norway. The reign of King Olov Skötkonung in Sweden is considered to be the transition from the Viking Age to the Middle Ages, as he was the first Christian king of the Swedes. The end of the Viking Age is traditionally marked by various events in England, Ireland, and Scotland, including the failed invasion of Harald III in 1066, the capture of Dublin by Strongbow in 1171, and the defeat of King Hákon Hákonarson in 1263.

The Long Viking Age

Scholars have proposed different end dates for the Viking Age, with most agreeing that it ended in the 11th century. The conversion of Iceland to Christianity in 1000, the death of Harthacnut, the Danish King of England in 1042, and the Battle of Largs in 1263 are some of the events used to mark the end of the Viking Age. However, a “long Viking Age” may have extended into the 15th century, as the Western Isles, the Isle of Man, Orkney, and Shetland remained under Scandinavian authority until the 13th and 15th centuries.

The Beginning of the Viking Age of Invasion

Areas subject to settlement and raids by Vikings and Normans

Areas subject to settlement and raids by Vikings and Normans

The Viking Age of Invasion began when, according to the Anglo-Saxon Chronicles, Viking raiders attacked England in 793 and raided Lindisfarne monastery, killing the monks and taking the valuables. The sporadic raids continued along England’s northern and eastern coasts, with smaller-scale raids occurring along the English coast. These early raiding parties were small, but extensive planning is thought to have been involved. In 840-841, the Vikings surprised England by raiding during the winter, having waited on an island off Ireland.

Viking Winter Encampments and Conquests in England

In 850, the Vikings spent their first winter in England on the island of Thanet in Kent. They returned to Thanet for their winter encampment in 864, after overwintering in the Isle of Sheppey in the Thames estuary in 854. The following year, the Great Heathen Army, led by Ivar the Boneless, Halfdan, Ubba, and Guthrum, arrived in East Anglia and captured York, establishing a Viking community in Jorvik.

The Viking forces, with aid from the Great Heathen Army, continued to raid much of England until 871, when they planned to invade Wessex. However, the death of Bagsecg, their leader, at the Battle of Ashdown, led many of the Vikings to return to Jorvik, the center of the Viking kingdom in northern England, which Alfred of Wessex managed to keep out of his country. Alfred and his successors continued to drive back the Vikings and reclaim York.

Viking Invasions and Conquest of England

Another wave of Vikings arrived in England in 947, when Eric Bloodaxe captured York. In 1003, Danish King Sweyn Forkbeard started a series of raids against England to avenge the massacre of Denmark’s inhabitants in England. This culminated in a full-scale invasion, leading to Sweyn being crowned King of England in 1013. Cnut the Great took the throne of England in 1016 through conquest and ruled over Denmark, England, Norway, and parts of Sweden until his death in 1035.

Viking rule in England ended with the death of Harold Harefoot, Cnut’s successor, in 1066, after the Vikings lost their final battle with the English at Stamford Bridge. Nineteen days later, the Normans, mostly descendants of Norsemen, invaded England and defeated the weakened English army at the Battle of Hastings. Despite several attempts by Scandinavian kings to regain control of England, the last of which took place in 1086, Viking presence declined in England. The last major Viking raid was led by Eystein II of Norway in 1152.


The Viking Invasions of Gaelic Ireland

In 795 CE, Viking raiders began pillaging monastic communities along the coast of Gaelic Ireland. The Annals of Ulster report that in 821 CE, the Vikings sacked Howth and abducted a large number of women.

The Establishment of Longphorts

From 840 CE, the Vikings established fortified camps, known as longphorts, along the coast and overwintered in Ireland, with the first at Dublin and Linn Duachaill. These attacks grew in scale and scope, reaching farther inland to attack larger monastic communities like Armagh, Clonmacnoise, Glendalough, Kells, and Kildare, as well as looting the historic tombs of Brú na Bóinne. Viking leader Thorgest is said to have plundered central Ireland until he was killed by Máel Sechnaill I in 845 CE.

The First King of Dublin

In 853 CE, Viking leader Amlaíb (Olaf) became the first king of Dublin, ruling alongside his brothers Ímar and Auisle. Over the following years, the Vikings and the Irish engaged in ongoing warfare, and two groups of Vikings, the Dubgaill and Finngaill, also fought each other. At times, the Vikings joined forces with various Irish kings against their rivals. In 866 CE, Áed Findliath burned all the Viking longphorts in the north, and they were never able to establish permanent settlements there. The Vikings were expelled from Dublin in 902 CE.

The Return of the Uí Ímair

However, in 914 CE, the Uí Ímair (House of Ivar) led the Vikings in a return to Ireland. Over the next eight years, the Vikings defeated the Irish in key battles, regained control of Dublin, and established settlements in Waterford, Wexford, Cork, and Limerick, which became Ireland’s first major towns and important trading centers. Viking Dublin was the largest slave port in western Europe.

The Rise of the Norse-Gaels

These Viking territories became part of the patchwork of kingdoms in Ireland, as the Vikings intermarried with the Irish and adopted elements of Irish culture to become the Norse-Gaels. Some Viking kings of Dublin also ruled over the kingdom of the Isles and York, such as Sitric Cáech, Gofraid ua Ímair, Olaf Guthfrithson, and Olaf Cuaran. Sigtrygg Silkbeard was known for his patronage of the arts, his charitable donations to the church, and his innovative economic policies, including establishing Ireland’s first mint in Dublin.

The Rise of Brian Boru

In 980 CE, Máel Sechnaill Mór defeated the Dublin Vikings and brought them under his control. Over the next thirty years, Brian Boru subdued the Viking territories and declared himself High King of Ireland. The Dublin Vikings and Leinster twice rebelled against him, but were defeated in the battles of Glenmama (999 CE) and Clontarf (1014 CE). After Clontarf, the Dublin Vikings no longer had the power to single-handedly challenge the strongest kings of Ireland. Brian’s rise to power and conflict with the Vikings is recorded in the historical account “The War of the Irish with the Foreigners

Viking Invasion and Influence on Scotland's History

First Viking Raids in Scotland: Iona and Fortriu

The Vikings are believed to have launched their first raids in Scotland on the sacred island of Iona in 794 CE, one year after their raid on the other holy island of Lindisfarne in Northumbria. In 839 CE, a huge Norse fleet invaded the Pictish kingdom of Fortriu through the navigable River Tay and River Earn, and defeated King Eogán mac Óengusa of the Picts, his brother Bran, and King Áed mac Boanta of the Scots of Dál Riata, as well as many members of the Pictish aristocracy, in battle. The downfall of the kingdom and the Pictish leadership, which had been stable for over 100 years, led to the accession of Cináed mac Ailpín as king of both Picts and Scots.

The Fall of Alt Clut

In 870 CE, the Britons in the Old North around the Firth of Clyde were also targeted by the Vikings. The fortress at Alt Clut (Dumbarton Rock) was besieged by Viking kings Amlaíb and Ímar, and after four months, the fortress fell due to a lack of water supply. The Vikings took a large number of British, Pictish, and English captives back to Ireland. The fall of Alt Clut marked a major turning point in the kingdom’s history, leading to the relocation of the capital to the vicinity of Govan and Partick (now Glasgow) and the formation of the Kingdom of Strathclyde, which remained a significant political player for another 150 years.

Viking Influence on Scotland’s Formation and Unification

The Scottish Lowlands, formerly part of the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Northumbria, fell to the Vikings and were never regained by the Anglo-Saxons or England. The Viking raids, occupation, conquest, and settlement resulted in the formation of alliances among the previously rivaling peoples that would eventually become present-day Scotland. Over the next 300 years, the Viking influence led to the unification of the Gaelic, Pictish, British, and English kingdoms into the Kingdom of Alba, and ultimately into the greater Kingdom of Scotland. The Viking Age in Scotland came to a close after another 100 years, with the complete relinquishment of Norse power in the Scottish seas and islands after another 200 years.

Viking incursions in France and the Origin of Normandy

Origin of Normandy’s Name

The French region of Normandy was named after the Viking invaders, who were referred to as Normanni, meaning “men of the North.”

First Viking Raids

Between 790 and 800, the first Viking raids began along the coasts of western France, primarily during the summer. The Vikings took advantage of the disputes in the royal family after the death of Louis the Pious to establish their first colony in Gascony. The raids in 841 caused significant damage to Rouen and Jumièges, with the Vikings targeting the treasures stored at monasteries. In 845, an expedition reached Paris, and the presence of Carolingian deniers in Mullaghboden, County Limerick in 1871 suggests they were likely booty from the raids.

Odo of Paris and Robert I of France

From 885 to 886, Odo of Paris successfully defended Paris against the Viking raiders and replaced the Carolingians. In 911, Robert I of France defeated a band of Viking warriors trying to siege Chartres. Robert’s victory paved the way for the baptism and settlement of Viking leader Rollo in Normandy. Rollo signed the Treaty of Saint-Clair-sur-Epte with Charles the Simple, under which Charles gave Rouen and Upper Normandy to Rollo, creating the Duchy of Normandy. Rollo pledged vassalage to Charles, was baptized, and promised to protect the estuaries of the Seine from future Viking attacks.

Expansion and Integration of Normans

The Scandinavian expansion led by Rollo included elements from Denmark, Norway, and Sweden. By the end of Richard I of Normandy’s reign, all descendants of Vikings had become “Christians and in all essentials Frenchmen,” according to Cambridge Medieval History. During the Middle Ages, the Normans created one of the most powerful feudal states in Western Europe and conquered England and southern Italy in the 11th century, playing a key role in the Crusades.

The Formation of New States and the Collapse of Old Ones

The legacy of the Viking Age in European history is marked by their impact on the formation of new states and the collapse of old ones. During the late 8th century to the 11th century, Vikings from Scandinavia embarked on a series of raids and settlements that had a profound impact on the political landscape of Europe.

The Collapse of Old States

The Vikings were known for their raids and were feared by many as they plundered and colonized several territories in England, Ireland, Scotland, and other parts of Europe. These raids often resulted in the collapse of entire kingdoms, leaving behind a trail of destruction and political instability. For example, the repeated Viking raids on the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of England weakened its political and military power, leading to its eventual collapse.

The Formation of New States

However, it was not only destruction that the Vikings brought. In some cases, their raids played a key role in the spread of Christianity and the formation of new states. For instance, their settlements in France and the Netherlands helped shape the political landscape of those territories, leading to the formation of new states. The Vikings also played a significant role in the formation of the modern Icelandic nation and its culture, as a group of Vikings settled in the largely uninhabited island of Iceland in the late 9th century.

The Legacy of the Viking Age

The legacy of the Viking Age in European history is marked by their impact on the formation of new states and the collapse of old ones. Their raids and settlements had a lasting impact on the political landscape of Europe and helped shape the modern world as we know it today. The names of cities, rivers, and landscapes throughout Northern Europe, as well as the many stories, legends, and cultural traditions that have been passed down through the centuries, serve as a testament to the lasting impact of the Vikings on European history.

The Impact of Viking Trade and Commerce on European Society

Light blue Itineraries of the Vikings light green main settlement areas in the first millennium

Light blue Itineraries of the Vikings light green main settlement areas in the first millennium

The Vikings, known for their legendary raids, were also successful merchants and traders. Their trade and commerce played a significant role in shaping the economic, social and cultural landscape of Europe during the Viking Age, which lasted from the late 8th to the 11th century.

Viking Trade Network

The Vikings established a vast trade network that extended from Scandinavia to Europe, the British Isles, Iceland, and even as far as the Mediterranean and the Middle East. Their trade activities ranged from luxury goods such as silk, spices, and silver to everyday necessities such as iron and wool.

The Vikings traded goods such as silk, which was highly valued in Scandinavia, with the Byzantine Empire. They also traded silver, which was abundant in the Islamic Caliphate, with Europe, where it was in high demand. This trade allowed the Vikings to acquire goods that were not available in their own region and increase their wealth.

In addition to luxury goods, the Vikings also traded everyday necessities such as iron, which was used to make weapons, tools, and household items. The iron trade helped increase the standard of living in the regions they traded with, as it made these goods more accessible and affordable. They also traded wool, which was used to make clothing and blankets, with Europe, where it was in high demand.

The Vikings’ trade network was extensive, and their trade activities took them to far-off lands such as the Mediterranean and the Middle East. They traded with the Islamic Caliphate, which allowed them to acquire goods such as spices and silver that were not available in their own region. This trade had a significant impact on the economy and society of the regions they traded with, as it increased the flow of goods and wealth.

The Growth of Trade Centers

The Vikings were known for their seafaring skills and trading activities. During the 8th to 11th centuries, they established several trade centers across the Scandinavian regions, such as Hedeby in Denmark, Birka in Sweden, and Kaupang in Norway. These centers became bustling marketplaces where merchants from different regions would gather to trade their goods, including textiles, jewelry, weapons, and food.

Hedeby, located in present-day Germany, was a major trade hub for the Vikings, attracting merchants from across Europe and Asia. The trade center was also a melting pot of different cultures, where merchants would exchange ideas, technologies, and customs. For example, Arab merchants brought new ideas and technologies, such as the use of silver coinage, which influenced the development of the Viking economy.

Birka, located on the island of Björkö in Sweden, was another important trade center. It was the first known town in Sweden and was a hub for trade and cultural exchange between the Vikings and the rest of Europe. In Birka, merchants from as far away as Byzantium, the Islamic world, and the Frankish Empire would trade their wares. The town’s influence can be seen in the widespread distribution of Birka-style pottery and glassware throughout Scandinavia and Europe.

Kaupang, located in present-day Norway, was a key trading center for the Vikings in the 9th century. It was known for its rich history, diverse population, and thriving economy. Merchants from across Scandinavia and Europe would come to Kaupang to trade goods and exchange ideas. The town’s economy was based on trade and was an important source of income for the local population.

Social and Cultural Exchange

The cultural exchange that took place between the Vikings and other European countries had a profound impact on the religious landscape of Northern Europe. Christianity was one of the most significant religions that spread through the Viking trade activities. The Vikings were exposed to Christian beliefs, customs, and practices through their travels, and this exposure led to the conversion of many Vikings to Christianity. This conversion helped to shape the religious beliefs and practices of the Vikings and had a lasting impact on their society.

In addition to Christianity, the Vikings were also exposed to other religious beliefs, such as paganism, through their travels. This exposure helped shape the beliefs and practices of the Vikings, as they adopted new rituals, customs, and beliefs into their society. This exchange of religious beliefs and practices helped to create a diverse religious landscape in Northern Europe, which had a profound impact on the cultural and religious identity of the Vikings.

Furthermore, the exposure to new cultures and ideas helped shape the Vikings’ society and influence their way of life. For example, the Vikings were exposed to new styles of clothing, food, and art through their travels. This exposure led to the integration of new elements into the Vikings’ society and helped shape their cultural identity. The Vikings also adopted new technologies and innovations, such as the use of iron and the construction of longboats, which helped to increase their strength and power.

Economic Impact

The Vikings also played a role in the development of a monetary system, as their trading activities required the use of coins and other forms of currency. The Vikings introduced the use of silver coins, which facilitated the exchange of goods and services, making trade more efficient. This led to the widespread adoption of coins as a means of payment, which was crucial for the growth of Europe’s economy.

Another impact of the Vikings on Europe’s economy was the expansion of trade centers. The Vikings established trade centers in cities like Dublin, York, and Paris, which became thriving centers of trade and commerce. These trade centers attracted merchants and traders from all over Europe, who brought with them a wealth of goods and ideas. The establishment of these trade centers allowed for the exchange of goods and services on a large scale, and this greatly contributed to the growth of the European economy.

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Featured Image

Legacy of the Viking Age - Landing of a Viking fleet at Dublin

Landing of a Viking fleet at Dublin

The painting “Landing of a Viking fleet at Dublin” by James Ward is located in Dublin City Hall, Dublin City Council. It depicts the arrival of a Viking fleet at Dublin, Ireland, showcasing their ships sailing into the harbor with their sails unfurled. The painting captures the imposing nature of the Vikings and the significance of their arrival in Dublin. The intricate details of the ships, warriors, and the city in the background showcase the skill and craftsmanship of the artist. The painting serves as a testament to the historical impact of the Vikings in Dublin and Ireland, and provides a glimpse into their seafaring culture and lifestyle. Overall, it is a stunning work of art that provides a visual representation of a significant moment in Irish history.



  • Wikipedia Contributors. (2023, February 2). Viking Age. Wikipedia; Wikimedia Foundation. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Viking_Age#cite_note-DolfiniCrellin20182-53

  • Viking | History, Exploration, Facts, & Maps | Britannica. (2023). In Encyclopædia Britannica. https://www.britannica.com/topic/Viking-people

  • Nikel, D. (2020, May 7). The Complete History of the Vikings – Life in Norway. Life in Norway. https://www.lifeinnorway.net/history-of-the-vikings/

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