Viking Era

Condensed timeline of Viking Age

Norwegian Viking statue. Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

Looking for a condensed timeline of the Viking Era?

The translator’s notes of The Long Ships (New York Review Books Classics) by Frans G. Bengtsson provide a very short survey of the Viking era.

Norwegians and Danes usually went west to wreak havoc and seek their fortunes. Swedes usually went east, across the Baltic.

Here is his summarized timeline, paraphrased by me with several additions:

  • 793 – Lindinsfarne raid – Usually considered by most writers as the start of the Viking Age. Other events could also be used, but this is most common starting point.
  • ~800 – Raids on Ireland begin.
  • 838 – Raids on England begin in large numbers.
  • ~840 – ~900 – England hit hard by raids, especially at the end of that timeframe by Ragnar Lothbrok (Hairy Breeches) and his sons.
  • 860 – Vikings settle Iceland.
  • 896 – Alfred stops Vikings; England enjoys 60 years of mostly calm.
  • 911 – Charles the Simple grants coastal region of Frankia to Vikings, with promise they will stop other Vikings from raiding. This becomes Normandy, which enters English history somewhat later; see 1066.
  • ~960 – England again focus of Viking raids.
  • 986 – Vikings settle Greenland.
  • 989 – Norwegian Haakon defeats Jomsvikings in major Battle of Jörundfjord.  Haakon’s fleet of 180 or more ships defeats the attacking fleet of 60 ships.
  • 990 – Jomsviking leader Styrbjörn killed in battle on Fyris Plain near Uppsala.
  • 1066 – Battle of Stamford Bridge – Defeat of Norwegian force commanded by King Harold Hardrada by English king Harold Godwinson. If you are looking for a specific date to mark the end of the Viking Age, this battle is typically considered to be the end point.
  • 1066, three weeks later – The English army is defeated by the Normans at the battle of Hastings.
  • 1070, 1098, 1102 – Additional raids on England by Danes and Norwegians which add fuzziness to the exact date of the end of the Viking Age.

That list is more heavily focused on the west, since that is where the novel is set.

Like I said, a very short history, but useful from a big picture perspective. Haven’t cross-referenced those dates to more detailed histories. May fine tune the list later, but will leave it as is for the moment.

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