Viking Expansion and their Legacy

Reasons for Viking Expansion in Europe

Possible reasons for the Viking expeditions throughout Europe may have included and combined population growth, political pressure and personal gain. The Scandinavian population was growing and many were looking for lands to colonise; others wanted to profit from the new trading routes and merchant centres that had developed in Northern Europe. It is also possible that weather was an issue and the Vikings may have sought lands that provided a milder climate with copious forests.

They could never have sustained such widespread invasions without being experts in carpentry and boat-building, of their striking low longships, later with patterned sails, and fearlessly navigating the northern seas and rivers. One Saxon chronicle describes one of these formidable vessels “with a golden beak and a purple sail furnished within a closed fence of gilded sails”. By the 13th century AD these Scandinavian invaders had been mostly defeated or become subsumed into other cultures, such as Ireland.