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 Vikings (The 1 who discoverd America 500 years before Columbus)

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The Great LEO

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PostSubject: Vikings (The 1 who discoverd America 500 years before Columbus)   Vikings (The 1 who discoverd America 500 years before Columbus) EmptyMon Apr 12, 2010 5:53 am

[font:ed6b=&quot]The Vikings (meaning "northmen")
were the last of the barbarian tribes called Germans by the Romans to terrorize
Europe. Spreading out from their homelands in Scandinavia, they struck suddenly
across the seas from their dragon boats (called such because of the dragon
heads carved on the bow and stern). They began by raiding, pillaging, and
withdrawing before any serious armed resistance could be mounted, but they
gradually grew more bold. Eventually they occupied and settled significant
parts of Europe.[/font]





[font:ed6b=&quot]Being pagan, they did not hesitate to
kill churchmen and loot church holdings, and they were feared for their
ruthlessness and ferocity. At the same time, they were remarkable craftsmen,
sailors, explorers, and traders.[/font]





[font:ed6b=&quot]The Viking homelands were Norway, Sweden,
and Denmark. They and their descendants controlled, at least temporarily, most
of the Baltic Coast, much of inland Russia, Normandy in France, England,
Sicily, southern Italy, and parts of Palestine. They discovered Iceland in 825
(Irish monks were there already) and settled there in 875. They colonized
Greenland in 985. Some people think that the Vikings reached Newfoundland and
explored part of North America 500 years before the voyage of Columbus.[/font]





[font:ed6b=&quot]Vikings began raiding and then settling
along the eastern Baltic Sea in the sixth and seventh centuries. At the end of
the eighth century, they were making long raids down the rivers of modern
Russia and setting up forts along the way for defense. In the ninth century,
they were ruling Kiev and in 907 a force of 2000 ships and 80,000 men attacked
Constantinople. They were bought off by the emperor of Byzantium with very
favorable terms of trade.[/font]





[font:ed6b=&quot]Vikings struck first in the West in the
late eighth century. Danes attacked and looted the famous island monastery at
Lindisfarne on the northeast coast of England, beginning a trend. The size and
frequency of raids against England, France, and Germany increased to the point
of becoming invasions. Settlements were established as bases for further raids.
Viking settlements in northwestern France came to be known as Normandy
("from the northmen"), and the residents were called Normans.[/font]





[font:ed6b=&quot]In 865 a large Danish army invaded
England, and they went on to hold much of England for the next two centuries.
One of the last kings of all England before 1066 was Canute, who ruled Denmark
and Norway simultaneously. In 871 another large fleet sailed up the Seine River
to attack Paris. They besieged the city for two years before being bought off
with a large cash payment and permission to loot part of western France
unimpeded.[/font]





[font:ed6b=&quot]In 911 the French king made the Viking
chief of Normandy a duke in return for converting to Christianity and ceasing
to raid. From the Duchy of Normandy came a remarkable series of warriors,
including William I, who conquered England in 1066, Robert Guiscard and his
family, who took Sicily from the Arabs between 1060 and 1091, and Baldwin I,
king of the crusader kingdom of Jerusalem.[/font]





[font:ed6b=&quot]Viking raids stopped at the end of the
tenth century. Denmark, Sweden, and Norway had become kingdoms, and much of
their king's energy was devoted to running their lands. The spread of
Christianity weakened the old pagan warrior values, which died out. The Norse
were also absorbed by the cultures into which they had intruded. The occupiers
and conquerors of England became English, the Normans became French, and the
Rus became Russians.[/font]
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