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In the footsteps of the Vikings!
Places to visit ¦ The Viking at home ¦ The Viking abroad

In the year 845 Hamburg was attacked and the same year the Vikings sailed up the Seine and conquered Paris. The french king decided not to fight the Vikings and paid them 7.000 pounds of silver to leave Paris again. In year 860 a french monk wrote: "The number of ships are growing and more and more Vikings are arriving. Christians are being slaughtered and robbed, buildings are being burned down. Nobody can stop them, they conquer Bordeaux, Périgeux, Limoges, Angouleme and Toulouse. Angers, Tours and Orléans has been destroyed. A large fleet is sailing up the Seine and evil is spreading fast, Rouen has been destroyed, Paris, Beauvais and Meaux has been conquered, the fortress of Meluns has been wiped out, Chartres is being occupied, Evreux and Bazeux looted and other places are under siege".

During the same period other Vikings were underway south. Lisbon, Cadiz and Seville were looted and the Vikings also left their mark on the north African coast. Finally the Vikings looted Luna in northern Italy (probably in the belief that it was Rome) and then Pisa.

As the Vikings were away for an extended period of time some of them settled down abroad. One example is in France where Viking chief Rollo grounded a Nordic settlement in the part of the country which was later named Normandy.

The British Isles was however the part of the world where the Vikings had their strongest foothold. In Ireland the Vikings grounded Dublin and Britain was first sporadic looted then parts of the country was conquered and in the year 1013 the king of Vikings Svend Tveskæg conquered the whole of Britain. Many Vikings settled down and worked as peasants or merchants - and many English words (including names of cities and towns) are related to the Scandinavian immigrants.

The Vikings also went north and around year 900 they colonized Island and later Greenland. From here they went on expeditions to north America where archaeologists have found traces of their temporary settlements.

When the Vikings sailed east it was mostly as merchants (hard to believe!). They sailed the Russian rivers to Byzans and to the Arabic markets in the Caspian Ocean and Bagdad.

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