Surprising Countries You May Not Realize the Vikings Raided

Hailing from Scandinavia, Vikings were well-known for raiding neighboring countries including the UK, and portions of Europe such as France and Russia. Still, many may not realize that these seafaring people sailed extremely far, traveling far beyond the realms that many people realize. Here are some countries that Vikings visited that you may not have expected.

Spain

After sacking Bourdeaux, France in 844, the Vikings weren’t quite ready to head home just yet. Instead, they journeyed into Spain, laying siege to its coastal villages. It took the intervention of King Ramiro I of Asturias in the northwestern region of Galicia to put a stop to the Viking onslaught.

Turkey

One group of Vikings traveling east made it all the way to the grand Turkish city of Constantinople. Craving the gold and riches that lay in the regal city, the Vikings were never actually able to breach the walls of the heavily fortified city. Instead, in 987, 6,000 Viking mercenaries would enjoy Constantinople’s treasures by choosing to defend the city, not sack it. This is because they were recruited by Byzantine Emperor Basil II to quell an internal uprising.

United States

Centuries before the expedition westward led by Christopher Columbus, Vikings from Greenland arrived in the United States, establishing a trade route centered on the export of timber to Scandinavia. When they encountered Native Americans, whom they called “Skraelings” due to their screaming battle cries, the Vikings decided against settling in North America due to the difficulty in communicating with the locals and being vastly outnumbered.

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