The Viking Invaders
The Middle Ages
Horrible Histories – Vicious Vikings 25m
• TN SPI
– 6.5.7 Recognize the world’s major historical time
periods (Middle Ages)
– 6.6.1 Recognize examples of groups impacting
world history. (Vikings)
– 6.1.5 Identify differences between various
– 6.5.5 Identify major technological advances.
(advances in weaponry)
Charlemagne – Fields of May
• Charlemagne valued learning and knowledge. Each
spring during the Fields of May, he invited scholars to
teach his nobles about law and other subjects.
• He set up schools to promote learning and culture.
• He spread the Christian religion, issued money, and
improved the economy.
• After his death, his kingdom was divided among his
three sons. The kingdom was weakened because of
fighting between the brothers.
• This opened the way for fierce attacks from a northern
people called the Vikings.
• Charlemagne’s kingdom faced many invaders.
Among the worst, was a group from
Scandinavia called the Vikings or Norsemen.
• Scandinavia – the present day countries of
Denmark, Norway, and Sweden.
• Because the population of their homeland
was growing rapidly, many Vikings left on
longships to search for food and steal it if
• The Vikings were skillful shipbuilders.
• Their fast-moving longships were powered by
large square sails and many strong rowers
who served as fighters as well.
• Longships allowed the Vikings to reach many
coastal areas of northwestern Europe and to
sail inland along rivers.
• They traded animal skins, fish, iron, and
timber for slaves, spices, and sugar.
A Viking Long Ship
• Viking long ships could travel rough, open
seas. A long ship could be as long as 75 feet
and could carry up to 35 people.
• Unlike other warriors of the Middle Ages, the
Vikings attacked at night or early in the
morning in order to take people by surprise.
• Upon attack, these fierce fighters would often
kill everyone they found and destroy what
they did not take.
• The Vikings began to settle the lands they
attacked taking control of England and France.
• While most people think of the Vikings as
seagoing warriors, most actually lived on
farms or in villages.
• They built one-story homes of wood or stone.
• Farmers grew oats, barley, and rye.
• Some Vikings were fishermen, metal workers,
and wood carvers.
Viking Social Classes
• There were three social classes in Viking
– Nobles – a ruling king or chief
– Working class – farmers and artisans
– Slaves - captured in battle or raids
Stories of an Unknown Land
• For a very long time, people had told
stories about an unknown land between
Europe and Asia.
• No one knew for sure if stories of a New
World could be true.
• These stories began a new era called the
Age of Exploration.
Leif Eriksson – 975-1020
• Leif Eriksson was the son of Eric the Red, who
started the first European settlement of
Greenland in 985.
• He was born in Iceland around 975.
• Leif was a leader of Viking expeditions and
may have been the first European to reach
Landing in North America
• In the year 1000, Leif sailed to Norway, which is where
his family had originally come from.
• While he was there, he became a Christian and
planned to return to Greenland to teach the Vikings
• As Leif sailed back to Greenland, he was blown off
course and ended up in North America instead of
• He landed in a place he called Vinland. This was
probably part of Canada now called Newfoundland.