The Viking Diaspora

From the eighth to the eleventh centuries, the Vikings, comprising mainly Danes and Norwegians, shot around the Northern Hemisphere, plundering vast swaths of territory with the rapacity of a Genghis Khan. The Norsemen raided throughout the British Isles and the Frankish empire, and even attacked North Africa. They headed west to Iceland, Greenland, and what is now Canada, becoming the first Europeans to set foot in the Americas. And they traveled east into what is now northern Russia, ultimately lending their own name Rus, the Slavs' name for them, to that great country.

Physical and social traces of the Vikings' lightning-like passing remain in sites stretching from Newfoundland to north Russia. On the map at left, click on Norse sites and get a feel for the sheer breadth of the Viking diaspora.