Scandinavians are proud of Vikings

The Vikings - Dangerous pirates or clever traders?

Stormy seas, rough winds, strong men - this is how one imagines the time of the Vikings. But they were more than just dangerous pirates.

The Vikings lived around 1000 years ago, between 800 and 1100 AD. They came from today's Scandinavian countries - that is, from Denmark, Sweden and Norway. Most of them lived alone, because there were no real cities up in the north. As fishermen and farmers, they didn't have much to live on. It is therefore believed that the Vikings set out to plunder and rob. They were known throughout Europe as feared pirates.

Dangerous pirates and clever traders

The Vikings were good sailors. They built ships that were fast and slim and that moved very well in the sea, but also in shallow waters. The Vikings used the ships for their booty journeys, because they advanced faster by sea than by land. They were not only on the move to plunder cities, but also to trade. The Vikings traveled to today's Russia and the Near East and exchanged goods.

The metropolis of Haithabu

Haithabu was one of the most important trading cities in the time of the Vikings. Haithabu was in a bay that is now in Schleswig-Holstein, in the north of Germany. At that time the city was still part of Denmark. The Viking town was well protected by the bay, but well connected to the sea by a river. Haithabu was the first real city in Northern Europe. Traders from all over the world came there to barter and trade.

Leif Erikson, the world discoverer

Many know the story of the Spaniard Christopher Columbus, who is said to have been the first European to come to America - but the first person from Europe in America was the Viking Leif Erikson. The Viking set off around the year 1000. First he came to Greenland, from there he sailed to America without a compass. He baptized America “Vinland” which probably meant “pastureland”. It was not until 500 years later, in 1492, that Columbus set sail and "rediscovered" America.

The end of the Vikings

The Vikings were so successful because they were such good craftsmen and could build the best ships. Other countries in Europe took a look at this art and started to build better and faster ships. As a result, the Vikings lost their advantage.

The time of the Vikings, in which they had a firm grip on Europe, lasted more than 250 years. Over time, however, the Vikings retired, so to speak. The small towns in Denmark, Sweden and Norway became larger cities. Also, their beginning to believe in God probably kept the Vikings at home. In addition, the three Scandinavian countries became real kingdoms.

The children's newspaper CHECKY!

This text is also in the children's newspaper CHECKY! published. Every week CHECKY! current news and exciting texts for children. More information about CHECKY! you and your parents can find here.

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