Most of the information we have about the Viking civilization comes to us from the sagas. In the collective imagination, the Vikings were valiant and robust warriors with blond hair who attacked the northern coasts of Europe.
They are seen as a distinct society of people from a pure genetic line. Yet today, recent archaeological excavations convince us that this supposed superiority attributed to the Vikings is only a means used by white supremacists to justify hatred and violence. It is time to restore the truth.
At least, as revealed by archaeological research and DNA studies performed on various samples of Viking bones.
The history of the Vikings and colonization
Today, research has revealed that the Vikings were not a group of savage men who descended on Europe from Scandinavia. A sprawling study of DNA taken from ancient Viking bones reveals an unexpected truth. That the Vikings were not a homogeneous group of people, but a cosmopolitan collection of traders, farmers, hunters, and explorers.
Already, in the Nordic language, concepts such as Viking raids, piracy, exploration, etc., are those most associated with the word “Viking”. The Vikings people were therefore a predominantly Scandinavian group who sailed the seas from the 8th century , thus creating a phenomenon or a movement which took place from one end of the world to the other and which persisted for the 3 centuries that lasts the Viking era.
Obviously, the Viking invasions were motivated by the search for new lands for their activities, especially agriculture and animal husbandry. According to the story, Charles the Simple, then King of the Franks, abdicated to cede the equivalent of Upper Normandy to the Viking leader Rollo in a bid to stop the looting. It was in 991.
The Vikings from present-day Norway swept the West and settled in Ireland, Scotland, North East England, Orkney, Shetland, the Faroe Islands and the Hebrides . Some headed for an island near the Arctic Circle: Iceland. On these lands, they built farms for agriculture and livestock. According to the latest archaeological excavations, the period of occupation began in 770, a period which saw the first Viking raids.
Where did the Vikings actually come from? All from Scandinavia?
The analyzes of DNA found on bones taken from very distant sites and the correspondences established to deduce the ties of filiation revealed that the Vikings left Scandinavia but that they were more active outside their territory than inside. interior of Scandinavia. They therefore mixed with various peoples they encountered during their travels.
For example, three genetic centers have been identified where the Vikings mixed with other peoples. These are present-day Denmark , the island of Gotland, and Öland in present-day Sweden. Obviously, these three regions represent centers of commerce.
Further research involving the excavation of entire Viking weapons and ships has also established that not all Vikings come from the Scandinavian region.
Clearly, the Vikings come from Scandinavia, but not all of them. They were very mobile. Consequently, there were migrations, links and then affiliations. Their origins are diverse and above all intertwined. Not all Vikings are tall, blond, bearded, violent men bound by ethnicity.
The question then is this. What triggered the Viking phenomenon that we see in the sagas that makes it seem like a people united by one language, one philosophy, and one land. To answer the question, we will say that being a Viking is a means to political and economic success. It's a lifestyle.