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The historical and archaeological records tell us the Vikings settled many parts of the world, and some of these settlements have been reinforced with modern genetic evidence as well. When it comes to the Vikings, it turns out they did not merely show up, pillage, rape, and leave, but instead colonized favorable areas, in many cases left behind a genetic lineage. This begs the question: The Scandinavians of the Viking Age spread their seed and their people across the known world. Below is a list of modern countries and how likely you are to be a Viking descendant if you are from one of them.

Do You Have Viking Blood? The Answer May Surprise You.

The Vikings originated in Scandinavia, but this does not mean modern Scandinavians can all claim a direct bloodline with them. The word Viking started out as an action word like walking, or running and described those men and women who left Denmark, Norway, and Sweden in search of plunder and new lands. Some of them returned with wealth, technology, and slaves, and others stayed abroad. If you are Scandinavian, you are exceptionally likely to have Viking blood, unless you are a first or second generation immigrant to a Scandinavian country from somewhere else.

Instead, they share a common ancestor with them. In contrast to their Scandinavian neighbors across the sea, Icelanders are the descendants of those who left Scandinavia in search of new lands.

Forget that guff about peaceful farmers with an interest in travel

They were the textbook definition of what it was to be a Viking. In fact, they wrote the book on what it was to be a Viking including how they treated the elderly. Historians use the attack on Lindisfarne to demarcate the start of the Viking Age. England is one of the countries in Europe with the richest archaeological finds from the Viking age, including buried hoards and mass graves.

In fact, recent studies have shown that nearly one-quarter of all Britts may be directly descended from the Vikings. Interestingly, there are some who theorize that the iconic Irish red hair was a Norse import rather than a Celtic one, although without proper genetic testing it is just an unproven theory. Ireland struggled for many years to rid themselves of the Vikings. Notably, the high kings of Leinster such as Muiredach Mac Ruadrach swore specific oaths to the church to help push back against the pagan invasion.

In , the Irish scored several critical victories across the island which effectively expelled most of the Norse settlers from their lands, but fewer than two decades later they returned.

Vikings in Scandinavia

Viking settlements in Ireland played the game of politics well, and over the course of the next century and a half, they established themselves firmly in Irish lands and the Irish gene pool. Normandy is the obvious region of France one thinks of when thinking of the Vikings. They even occupied the city of Nantes for several decades. If you are from Central or Eastern France, it is not likely—those regions are genetically German.

Along the coast, the Vikings built more lofty settlements than they had in Ireland, most likely because the Carolingian empire was a much more difficult foe to face than the kings of Leinster. According to sources, the Norsemen who pushed into Brittany were from Norway, having sailed around the British Isles and down through the Irish Sea to reach it.

As they carved out swathes of land for themselves in the late 9th and early 10th centuries, the Norwegians came into conflict with the Danes in Normandy. It was by exploiting this dispute that the Bretons were able to push back their invaders and eventually expel them from the region. Still, their century-long presence left an indelible mark on the local genetic pool. The Netherlands were heavily raided for centuries and colonized on multiple occasions by the Danes.

History of Scandinavia

In the long run, however, the Franks maintained too strong a dominion over the region, causing the Scandinavians to flee. The coast of Asturias was attacked several times by the Vikings. However, they did not colonize Spain heavily, therefore if you are from Spain or Portugal, you only have a SLIM chance of having Viking blood, but a chance nonetheless. Following the humiliating defeats at the hands of the Norsemen, the Moors quickly built up their navy, which successfully repelled Viking attacks in the second half of the 9th century.

Hastein, a supposed son of Ragnar Lothbrok, partook in an infamous excursion into the Mediterranean which ended mostly in disaster due to the strength of the Moorish fleet guarding the straight of Gibraltar. The Vikings also made a significant incursion into the Mediterranean basin, led by the notorious Hastein, in the 9th Century. They did not colonize Italy, but they did sack the city of Luna and likely raped some local women.

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Russia was named after the Swedish Vikings known as the Rus. The Rus helped to found the city-states of Kiev and Novgorod, as well as Moscow. The Tsars considered themselves direct and proud descendants of the Rus. Over several centuries, the Rus exerted their power over the Slavic states and added a great deal of their genetic material to the mix.

The Rus traveled as far as Constantinople, and many stayed there to father children…lots and lots of children. There is a very slight genetic pool from Scandinavia in the Balkans today, but it is limited. The Rus are also thought to have traveled as far as Baghdad and what is now Georgia. Although the Vikings never traveled as far as Mongolia, the Mongolian Golden Horde did invade and occupy Eastern Europe and brought back to Mongolia their favorite new pets — blue-eyed blonds. Today there is a recessive gene in Mongolia by which children are born with light hair and blue eyes.

Those with Norse traits may have been choice slaves, selected by the Mongols to take home and show off and rape and make children and so on. For that, of course, we have Genghis Kahn to thank. After all, the Vikings roved 1, years ago — plenty of time for populations to move and for gene pools to dilute. Scandinavian DNA can show up for any number of reasons, and may not be attributable to the Vikings.

Genetic studies themselves are up for debate as well. A heated debate continues today over the findings of this study, which fly in the face of historical and archaeological evidence. All this to say, the following probabilities of having Viking blood offered are not scientific or necessarily accurate, mainly as the scholarship on the subject evolves.

This article should be seen as entertainment. Be sure to check out my selected bibliography about the Vikings for primary source documents and good books on the Viking age to learn more. Yes I have Viking blood.

For generations, we all assumed that the atrocities perpetrated by the Germans in Belgium at the outset of the first world war and enthusiastically reported in the British press were Allied propaganda. Yet recent research suggests that quite a lot of it was true. Well, the same goes for the Vikings.

And according to Hillary Clinton, no less, Viking society gave women considerable freedom to trade and participate in political and religious life. Before long, the Vikings lived side by side with the people they invaded, leaving many of us with our own inner Viking. They were, as we first thought, violent bastards. In contrast to recent exhibitions which have focused on their perfectly real record as city founders, brilliant seafarers and traders with an interest in good governance, the exhibits return us to the traditional image of pillagers, raiders and aggressive colonisers: The longboat on display is a weapon of war, and the alarming swords, spears, battleaxes and lozenge-shaped arrows tell their own story.

As do the iron slave-collars from Dublin. One observer suggested that the Lewis chessmen in the exhibition biting on their shields recall their reputation for bloodlust. Of course the revisionists have a point that there is more to them than this; but what you might call the hinterland of the Vikings has been familiar for over a century; the entry in the Encyclopedia Britannica , for instance, takes supposedly modern assumptions about their assimilating tendencies as a given and observes that the sources are largely one-sided.

The flip answer would be that liberals, including scholars, are so captivated by modern Scandinavians, from the women detectives right through to the welfare, that it seems like an error of taste to bring up dirt from the ninth century. A more serious approach is suggested by Professor Stefan Brink in his introduction to The Viking World , a compilation of the best contemporary scholarship on the period: And especially during periods of strong political hegemony… it has been common to… sanction the politics you pursue.

The focus on the warrior Viking in Nazi Germany is an obvious example. These two tribes, the Cimbri and the Teutons , initially inflicted the heaviest losses that Rome had suffered since the Second Punic War. The Cimbri and the Teutons were eventually defeated by the Roman legions. Initially iron was valuable and was used for decoration. The oldest objects were needles, but swords and sickles are found as well. Bronze continued to be used during the whole period but was mostly used for decoration. The traditions were a continuity from the Nordic Bronze Age, but there were strong influences from the Hallstatt culture in Central Europe.

They continued with the Urnfield culture tradition of burning corpses and placing the remains in urns. From this time archaeologists have found swords, shieldbosses, spearheads, scissors, sickles, pincers, knives, needles, buckles, kettles, etc. Bronze continued to be used for torques and kettles, the style of which were a continuity from the Bronze Age.

One of the most prominent finds is the Dejbjerg wagon from Jutland , a four-wheeled wagon of wood with bronze parts. While many Germanic tribes sustained continued contact with the culture and military presence of the Roman Empire , much of Scandinavia existed on the most extreme periphery of the Latin world. With the exception of the passing references to the Swedes Suiones and the Geats Gautoi , much of Scandinavia remained unrecorded by Roman authors.

In Scandinavia, there was a great import of goods, such as coins more than 7, , vessels , bronze images, glass beakers, enameled buckles, weapons, etc. Moreover, the style of metal objects and clay vessels was markedly Roman. For the first time appear objects such as shears and pawns. There are also many bog bodies from this time in Denmark, Schleswig and southern Sweden.

Together with the bodies, there are weapons, household wares and clothes of wool. Great ships made for rowing have been found from the 4th century in Nydam mosse in Schleswig. Many were buried without burning, but the burning tradition later regained its popularity. Through the 5th century and 6th century, gold and silver became more common. Much of this can be attributed to the ransacking of the Roman Empire by Germanic tribes, from which many Scandinavians returned with gold and silver.

The early Germanic Iron Age is the period when the Danes appear in history, and according to Jordanes , they were of the same stock as the Swedes suehans , suetidi and had replaced the Heruls. During the fall of the Roman empire, there was an abundance of gold that flowed into Scandinavia, and there are excellent works in gold from this period. Gold was used to make scabbard mountings and bracteates ; notable examples are the Golden horns of Gallehus.

After the Roman Empire had disappeared, gold became scarce and Scandinavians began to make objects of gilded bronze, with decorations of interlacing animals in Scandinavian style. The early Germanic Iron Age decorations show animals that are rather faithful anatomically, but in the late Germanic Iron Age they evolve into intricate shapes with interlacing and interwoven limbs that are well-known from the Viking Age.

Since prehistoric times, [3] [4] the Sami people of Arctic Europe have lived and worked in an area that stretches over the northern parts of the regions now known as Norway, Sweden, Finland, and the Russian Kola Peninsula. They have inhabited the northern arctic and sub-arctic regions of Fenno-Scandinavia and Russia for at least 5, years.

The Sami have been recognized as an indigenous people in Norway since according to ILO convention , and hence, according to international law, the Sami people in Norway are entitled special protection and rights. During the Viking Age , the Vikings Scandinavian warriors and traders raided, colonized and explored large parts of Europe, the Middle East, northern Africa, as far west as Newfoundland. The age of settlement began around AD [ citation needed ]. The Vikings invaded and eventually settled in Scotland [ citation needed ] , England [ citation needed ] , Greenland [ citation needed ] , the Faroe Islands [ citation needed ] , Iceland [ citation needed ] , Ireland [ citation needed ] , Livonia [ citation needed ] , Normandy [ citation needed ] , the Shetland Islands , Sicily , Rus' and Vinland , on what is now known as the Island of Newfoundland [ citation needed ].

Swedish settlers were mostly present in Rus, Livonia, and other eastern regions while the Norwegians and the Danish were primarily concentrated in western and northern Europe [ citation needed ]. The western-led warriors, eventually known as Vikings, left great cultural marks [ citation needed ] on regions such as French Normandy , England, and Ireland, where the city of Dublin was founded by Viking invaders.

Iceland first became colonized in the late 9th century [ citation needed ]. Viking religious beliefs were heavily connected to Norse mythology.

Vikings placed heavy emphasis on battle, honor and focused on the idea of Valhalla , a mythical home with the gods for fallen warriors. Christianity in Scandinavia came later than most parts of Europe. In Denmark Harald Bluetooth Christianized the country around Olaf and Olaf II had been baptized voluntarily outside of Norway. Olaf II managed to bring English clergy to his country.

Norway's conversion from the Norse religion to Christianity was mostly the result of English missionaries. As a result of the adoption of Christianity by the monarchy and eventually the entirety of the country, traditional shamanistic practices were marginalized and eventually persecuted. Sweden required a little more time to transition to Christianity, with indigenous religious practices commonly held in localized communities well until the end of the eleventh century. A brief Swedish civil war ensued in primarily reflecting the divisions between practitioners of indigenous religions and advocates of Christianity; by the mid-twelfth century, the Christian faction appeared to have triumphed; the once resistant center of Uppsala became the seat of the Swedish Archbishop in The Christianization of Scandinavia occurred nearly simultaneously with the end of the Viking era.

The adoption of Christianity is believed to have aided in the absorption of Viking communities into the greater religious and cultural framework of the European continent. Kalmarunionen was a series of personal unions — that united the three kingdoms of Denmark, Norway and Sweden under a single monarch.

The countries had given up their sovereignty but not their independence, and diverging interests especially Swedish dissatisfaction over the Danish and Holsteinish dominance gave rise to a conflict that would hamper it from the s until its final dissolution in No more Danish attempts would be made to re-create the Kalmar Union following this war. The Protestant Reformation came to Scandinavia in the s, and Scandinavia soon became one of the heartlands of Lutheranism.

Catholicism almost completely vanished in Scandinavia, except for a small population in Denmark. The Thirty Years' War was a conflict fought between the years and , principally in the Central European territory of the Holy Roman Empire but also involving most of the major continental powers. Although it was from its outset a religious conflict between Protestants and Catholics, the self-preservation of the Habsburg dynasty was also a central motive. The Danes and then Swedes intervened at various points to protect their interests. The period began in and lasted till Christian IV had profited greatly from his policies in northern Germany Hamburg had been forced to accept Danish sovereignty in , and in the Danish heir apparent was made Administrator of the Prince-Bishopric of Verden.

In he became Administrator of the Prince-Archbishopric of Bremen too. It also helped that the French regent Cardinal Richelieu was willing to pay for a Danish incursion into Germany. Christian IV invaded at the head of a mercenary army of 20, men, but the Danish forces were severely beaten, and Christian IV had to sign an ignominious defeat, the first in a series of military setbacks to weaken his kingdom. The Swedish intervention began in and lasted until Some within Ferdinand II 's court believed that Wallenstein wanted to take control of the German princes and thus gain influence over the emperor.

Ferdinand II dismissed Wallenstein in He later recalled him after Gustavus Adolphus attacked the empire and prevailed in a number of significant battles. Gustavus Adolphus, like Christian IV before him, came to aid the German Lutherans to forestall Catholic aggression against their homeland and to obtain economic influence in the German states around the Baltic Sea.

From —, they drove the Catholic forces back and regained much of the occupied Protestant lands. The Swedish rise to power began under the rule of Charles IX. During the Ingrian War Sweden expanded its territories eastward. Several other wars with Poland, Denmark-Norway, and German countries enabled further Swedish expansion, although there were some setbacks such as the Kalmar War.

Sweden began consolidating its empire. Several other wars followed soon after including the Northern Wars and the Scanian War. Denmark suffered many defeats during this period. Finally under the rule of Charles XI the empire was consolidated under a semi-absolute monarchy. It started by a coordinated attack on Sweden by the coalition in and ended with the conclusion of the Treaty of Nystad and the Stockholm treaties.

As a result of the war, Russia supplanted Sweden as the dominant power on the Baltic Sea and became a major player in European politics. Both Sweden and Denmark-Norway maintained a number of colonies outside Scandinavia starting in the 17th century lasting until the 20th century. Denmark also maintained colonies in India, Tranquebar and Frederiksnagore. Sweden also chartered a Swedish East India Company. Scandinavia was divided during the Napoleonic Wars.


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Most of the Danish fleet was captured following the Second Battle of Copenhagen in The bombardment of Copenhagen led to an alliance with France and outright war with Britain, whose navy blockaded Denmark-Norway and severely impeded communication between the two kingdoms and caused a famine in Norway. Sweden, allied with Britain at the time, seized the opportunity to invade Norway in but was beaten back. After the war, Denmark was forced to cede Heligoland to Britain.