Timeline Description: The Viking Age (793 - 1066) is the period that follows the Germanic Iron Age, in which Scandinavian Norsemen, the Vikings, explored and expanded their territory through trade and conquest. They expanded into Greenland, Newfoundland, Iceland, and more. Historians debate the cause of the expansion, but theories include the spread of Christianity among pagan people, unequal trade practice with Christians, and over-population.
|787||The earliest Viking raid occurs.
Raiders from Norway sail to the Isle of Portland in Dorset, and after being mistaken for traders, they attack the village. This is the earliest recorded Viking raid.
|793||Vikings raid Lindisfarne.
The Vikings raid a wealthy monastery on the tidal island Lindisfarne, off the coast of England. The English have assumed that isolated outposts such as the monastery are safe due to their isolation, so this attack upsets the Christian society. This is often considered the official beginning of the Viking Age in England.
|794||Vikings begin raids on Iona.
Though records are rare, it is thought that the first Viking raids on Scotland begin during the raids on the holy island Iona.
|825||Naddod becomes first to settle Iceland.(c. 825)
Naddod, a Viking from the Norwegian Faroe Islands, discovers Iceland. Norwegians fleeing Harald Fairhair's rule later settle the island.
|862||The Rurik Dynasty begins.(c. 862)
Rurik, a Viking warlord, gains control over the people of Novgorod. Sources are unclear as to the means of his ascension, as he may have been invited in or taken the region by force. His kinsmen continue on to found the state Kievan Rus, with their capital city in Kiev.
|872||The reign of Harald Fairhair begins.
After conquests over petty kingdoms, Harald Fairhair wins a great victory over the Swedish king, Erik Eymundsson, and unifies Norway as its first king. Sources are unclear, however, as the most reliable sources are the Viking Sagas, which are sometimes contradictory. Some historians believe that Harald Fairhair may have only ruled over coastal regions.
|982||Erik the Red settles Greenland.
After being banished from Iceland, Erik Rhorvaldsson, known as Erik the Red due to his red hair, starts the first permanent European settlement in Greenland. He purposefully names it Greenland to be misleading, hoping to lure settlers to its shores.
|911||The Norman Duchy begins.
French king Charles I makes an agreement with Viking war leader Rollo to give him control over Normandy. In exchange, Rollo agrees to defend the area from other Viking groups, convert to Christianity, and swear loyalty to Charles. Rollo's people eventually develop their own culture and identity as Normans.
|961||The Sonatorrek composed.(c. 961)
Egil Skallagrimsson, an Icelandic poet, composes the Sonatorrek ("Loss of Two Sons"), a celebrated Viking poem about the death of his sons and parents, and his desire for revenge.
|1016||Canute the Great becomes King of England.
After years of Viking harassment, Canute the Great's forces besiege London and force Edmund to sign control over to him. He goes on to rule for nineteen years. This restores prosperity to England that has not been seen since the beginning of the Viking Raids.
|1030||The Battle of Stiklestad leads to the spread of Christianity.
Norwegian King Olaf II attempts to conquer Norway, but he is defeated. However, his popularity, church word, and the aura of legend around his death leads to the spread of Christianity in Norway. Following this defeat, the shift from "Viking" to "Norwegian" begins, and Harald III becomes Olaf's successor.
|1066||The Battle of Stamford Bridge ends the Viking Age in England.
Norwegian King Harald III, the brother to the English king, Tostig Godwinson, invades England. The English king, Harold Godwinson, defeats him in a bloody battle at Stamford Bridge. Both Harald and Tostig are killed. This is traditionally considered the end of the Viking Age in England, though major Scandinavian campaigns continue in Britain and Ireland in the following decades.
|1171||Dublin is captured.
Henry II, with the backing of Pope Adrian IV, takes a large fleet to Ireland. He captures both Waterford and then Dublin, proclaiming them royal cities. Most of the Irish Kings welcome him, due to the protection he can afford from the Viking expansion. This is traditionally considered the end of the Viking Age in Ireland.
|1240||The Mongol horde storms Kiev.
The Mongol horde, under the command of Batu Khan, storms Kiev. This puts an end to the Rurik Dynasty.
|1263||The Battle of Largs ends the Viking Age.
King Haakon leads an army to retaliate against attacks by Alexander III, King of the Scots. His fleet is all but destroyed by a storm, however, and the Scots easily defeat his remaining forces. This is traditionally considered the end of the Viking Age in Scotland.