Vikings in Britain

Vikings in Britain .. England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales

Vikings in Britain left a very important mark on British history that affected Britain culturally and linguistically to a great extent.

In this post, we will talk about the history of Vikings in Britain and how they established themselves and prospered.

Vikings in Britain

About Vikings in Britain

The Viking invasion of Britain has taken a lot of different stages, starting with England, and going through Ireland and Scotland.

The Vikings in England

Vikings in Britain Existence starts with the invasion of England, which had the biggest effect compared to other kingdoms.

Vikings raided England in 793, storming Lindisfarne and stealing the bones of Saint Cuthbert that were kept in a monastery there.

A group of people killed the monks and took their money. In this attack, the “Age of Viking Conquest” began.

The Vikings were able to do this because they used tall ships.

In the last decade of the 8th century, there was a lot of violence on the northern and western coasts of England, but on a small scale. Viking invasions kept going on in English coastal towns. While the first raiding groups were small, it was thought that they had a lot of plans.

It was winter between 840 and 841 when the Norwegians went out. They had been waiting on an island off the coast of Ireland. For their first winter in the United Kingdom, the Vikings stayed on the island of Thanet in Kent.

It was the second time in 854 that the group of raiders stayed on the Isle of Shepey in the Thames Estuary for winter. In 864, they came back to Thanet to set up camp for the winter.

The crippled brothers Ivar, Halfdan, and Ob Ragnarson led a sizable pagan army that arrived in East Anglia the following year. They were joined by another Viking ruler (Gathram).

They then went into Northumbria and took over York, making Norse York, a Viking town where some people lived as farmers and artisans.

The Vikings took over most of the English kingdoms, which were in a state of chaos at the time. During an attack on Northumbria by the Halfdan brothers, sons of Ranger and Ivar the Boneless, the Englishman King Forced was made a mere puppet by the Halfdan brothers. This made Northumbria their northern home.

In 870, a Viking chief named Bagsick and the Five Earls led the “Great Summer Army” to England. They took over the country. It was a fight between the Viking forces that had been in charge of the majority of England until 871, when they planned to invade the Kingdom of Wessex with help from the Great Pagan Army.

Bagsick’s men and Halfdan’s forces tried to stop them (who had already conquered much of England from their stronghold in Norse York).

Bajsek and the Earl were killed in the Battle of Ashdown on January 8, 871, when the two were killed. As a result, a lot of Vikings came back to northern England, and Scandinavian York became the capital of the Viking kingdom. But Alfred the Great was able to drive them out. After defeating Viking raids on the frontier, Alfred and his successors were able to take over York, which was on the coast.

As a result of Eric Bloodaxe’s victory over York in 947, a new wave of Norwegian Vikings came into England. Canute the Great, who ruled from 1016 to 1035, kept the Vikings in Denmark, but a series of succession battles weakened the influence of his successors.

Thingmen was a group of Vikings in 1012 who fought for the King of England. This group was called the “Thingmen.” From 1012 to 1066, they were charged the Danion tax, which was meant to stop the Vikings from coming for about two decades. When the English won the Battle of Stamford Bridge in 1066, the Vikings lost their power.

Nineteen days after that, the Normans came to England. The Normans are related to the Norwegians who killed and crippled the English army in the Battle of Hastings.

The Vikings in England

Vikings in Ireland

The Vikings built Waterford, Cork, Dublin, and Limerick in Ireland. Vikings and Scandinavians moved to Ireland and mixed with the native people. It was shown in Irish and British literature, as well as in handiwork and decorative patterns, that Norse culture was important.

Vikings did business in Dublin’s Irish markets. There were textiles from England, Byzantium, Persia, and Central Asia that were found during the excavations. A lot of people were living outside of Dublin’s walls by the eleventh century.

In 795, Vikings raided Ireland’s west coast monasteries before moving on to the rest of the coast. In the north and east of the island, most of the storm hit.

These attacks were first led by small groups of Vikings who were very mobile. In 830, the groups were made up of huge fleets of Viking ships. Around 840, the Vikings started to build long-term strongholds on the seashore so they could stay there.

Dublin was the most important colony for a long time. When the Vikings were around, the Irish got used to them and sometimes formed alliances through marriage.

There were 120 Viking ships in 832, when they invaded the northern and eastern parts of what is now Ireland’s northern and eastern coasts. According to some people, the number of invaders rose because the Scandinavian rulers were ready to attack Ireland’s western coasts with military force.

Attacks on Ireland began in the middle of the ninth century, unlike previous invasions, which only reached the coasts (830). Navigable rivers made it possible for this to happen. After 840, the Vikings built a lot of strongholds across Ireland that were well-placed.

İn 838 AD, A small Viking fleet came to Ireland in Eastern Ireland. The Vikings built a fortified naval station. The Irish called it the fortified naval base because it was very strong.

This rule was called the Dublin Rule. After this time, the Irish and the Vikings fought for about 40 years. Vikings also fortified naval bases in Cork, Limerick, Wexford, and Wexford. The Vikings sailed up and down the main river and its branches to get around the area.

Vikings in İreland

Battle of Clontarf

On April 23, 1014, a conflict took place at Clontarf between the Vikings and an Irish army under King Brian Borough. It was one of the Vikings’ last great fights.

When people read about the Battle of Clontarf in Irish and Viking literature, they saw it as a battle between natural and supernatural forces. For example, there were witches, goblins, and demons that are mentioned in these literature.

Vikings in Scotland

It is said that the Vikings tried to enter Scotland for the first time in 794 on the island of Iona, a year after they took over the island of Lindisfarne in Northumbria. There are very few records about this.

In 839, a huge Scandinavian fleet swam down the Tai and Irne rivers and into the heart of the Pict kingdom of Fortray, where the Picts lived.

Norwegians had set up homes in Shetland, Orkney (North), the Hebrides, the Isle of Man, and parts of Scotland by the middle of the 9th century, when the Vikings came to the area.

In the Hebrides and Man, Norse settlers mixed in a little with the Gaelic people (see-Nordic Gaelic people). Local earls, who used to be local Viking ship captains or military leaders, ran these territories. On the other hand, the Earl of Orkney and Shetland claimed to own and run it.

During the year 875, King Harald Firererer led a naval force from Norway to Scotland. When he tried to unite Norway, many people who didn’t like him took refuge on the islands.

In addition to pillaging other places, they also tried to attack Norway, which they did not like very much. He built a fleet and defeated the rebels, gaining control of the earls who had fled to Iceland. In the end, he ruled more than just Norway. He also ruled parts of Scotland.

Often in Scotland, the year 1266 is thought to be the real end of the Viking Age.

In 1263, Norway’s King Haakon IV sent a fleet of ships from Norway and Orkney to the west coast in response to a raid by the Scots on Skye. Magnus III, Magnus, and Dougal ships from the Isle of Man were all in contact with his ship, which made contact with their fleets as well.

After peace talks broke down, his troops fought the Scots at Largs in Ayrshire. Even though the fight took a long time, it meant that the Scandinavians would not be able to invade again this year. During the winter, Haakon died while he was sleeping in Orkney. His son Magnus had given the Kingdom of Man and the Isles and all the Scottish islands to Alexander III through the Treaty of Perth.

King Christian I of Denmark gave up Orkney and Shetland to secure the dowry of his daughter, who was going to marry James III of Scotland, in 1468.

The earls of Orkney and Shetland ran the areas and were under the rule of Norway until then. When Charles II signed the Act of 1669, he kept his promise to bring Orkney and Shetland into his kingdom. He said that they would be excluded from any “dissolution of His Majesty’s lands,” and they are now officially part of the United Kingdom.

Vikings in Scotland

Vikings in Wales

The Vikings didn’t take over Wales as much as they did in England.

The Vikings moved to the south, near St. David, Haverfordwest, and other places. It’s still possible to find old Norse homes in Skokholm, Skomer, and Swansea, as well as in other places.

But the Vikings did not overrun the Welsh kingdoms that were on top of hills, as some people thought they would do.

Vikings in Wales


  1. Barraclough, E.R. (2017). Top 10 books about the VikingsThe Guardian.
  2. Williams, T. (2017). Viking Britain: A History.
  3. Fitzhugh, W., & Ward, E. (Eds.)Vikings: The North Atlantic Saga.

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