The Vikings are from Northern Europe (Scandinavian). Before the Scandinavians became Vikings they did not have sail technology. After they discovered sail technology they started to raid places nearby. They settled in towns or colonies to stay through winter. As they sailed further to northern Atlantic they found Greenland and started to settle there, portions of Vikings alsosettled in Iceland. Blue lines represent the Viking expansion Picture is from Wikipedia
The area Vikings settled had a short, cool growing season. In the mean time they started trading with mainland Europe. Such as animal furs, seal skins, beeswax, raised sheep, goats, cattle, hunted seal and caribou. Vikings’ homes were built of turf, each house used ten acres of grassland (see pictures above).
Vikings owned their animals. They kept pets and domesticated animals. Cats Dogs Bears HawksSheep Cattle Goats Pigs Bees Pictures are from
Iron was a main source for Vikings. They used plows, shovels, axes and sickles for heavy agricultural tools. For military tools such as swords, spear, battle-axes, and armor. Knives, scissors, and sewing needles as small household tools. They used other construction hardware as well.
In the A.D. 800s, during Vikings overseas expansion they were still pagans of Germanic religion. They worshipped traditional gods, such as the war god Odin, the fertility god Frey, and the sky god Thor. But as they expanded they became Christian. Diagram on the left is a hammer of the sky god Thor. Pagans worn it. Picture is from Wikipedia
Norse Vikings The Peak The Collapse &
The Pinnacle of the Greenland Norse Five thousand people. Very active agriculturally- raised livestock Christian society, focused on building churches Had kings and laws
Cracks in the Foundation What were some of their weaknesses? –Short, cool growing season meant that the pastureland recovered slowly. –Overgrazing the livestock was commonplace. –For every house they constructed out of turf, they destroyed 10 acres of pastureland. Viking turf house > From hurstwic.org
Cracks in the Foundation –Lots of time and resources spent importing non- essential goods, such as decorations for churches and luxury items for homes. –Refused to eat fish or adopt any of the practices of the Inuit, whom the Vikings found repulsive. From Nordic Carts
The End is Nigh! The environment cooled further (ie the “Little” Ice Age.) The Vikings were not prepared for this as they hadn’t been stocking up. The Vikings and the Inuit were having armed conflicts.
The Five Points Revisited Environmental Damage? Climate Change? Hostile Neighbors? Friendly Trade Partners? Society’s Response to Environmental Problems? What contributed to the Vikings’ Collapse?
The Five Points Revisited Environmental Damage: –Absolutely. The overgrazing of their pastures and thoughtless destruction of the pastureland for homes resulted in less food for their agricultural base: raising livestock. Did this contribute? Goat skull from iStock photos
The Five Points Revisited Climate Change: –Absolutely. Around the 13 th Century, the ice packs began to grow and there were higher amounts of rain than in previous year. This shortened the already brief growing season available to the Greenlanders. Did this contribute? Barren Northern Tundra
The Five Points Revisited Hostile Neighbors: –Absolutely. The Vikings despised the non-Christian Inuit. They called them “ skraelings” or wretches. The Vikings had many armed conflicts with their neighbors. Did this contribute? Viking battle reenactment
The Five Points Revisited Friendly Trade Partners: –Not really. The Vikings did trade with Europe regularly when they first settled, only later on did trade slow due to their own inefficiency. Europe was still willing and able to trade. The Vikings simply were running out of things to trade with. Did this contribute?
The Five Points Revisited Society’s response to its own environmental problems: –Yes, to an extent. Had they been willing to import less luxury items and/or learn from the Inuit, who survived this period, they may not have abandoned Greenland. Did this contribute?