The Vikings invaded Europe in the eighth century. Why were the Vikings important to future European history?
When the Vikings invaded Europe, they came for wealth, exploration, and trade. We know some of the Vikings explored as far as Canada and that they loved to raid the wealth of the monasteries. Ultimately, the Vikings established trade centers in the towns that they frequented. The Vikings came from three areas: Denmark, Norway, and Sweden. The Danish Vikings raided primarily in England. They were the ones who established the Danelaw and fought with Alfred the Great. The Norse Vikings attacked Ireland, Scotland, and northern France, set up a kingdom in Greece, and island hopped across the Atlantic. The Swedish Vikings sailed down the Eastern European rivers, making their way eventually to Constantinople. Some of them even entered the service of the emperor as his private guard. The Vikings are important to European history because they built trade routes and helped found cities. They turned Kiev, Rouen, and Dublin into thriving trade centers. They also settled in Normandy and would eventually unite all of England under William the Conqueror. The Viking raids encouraged the formation of the feudal system. Tales of Viking travels would stay in the minds of the Europeans and could perhaps have spurred on some of the exploration that would take place several centuries later.
– Hannah S. Bowers