The Viking Timeline

Cnut the Great
789 – Vikings begin their attacks on England.
800 – The Oseberg Viking longship is buried about this time
840 – Viking settlers found the city of Dublin in Ireland.
844 – A Viking raid on Seville is repulsed.
860 – Rus Vikings attack Constantinople (Istanbul).
862 – Novgorod in Russia is founded by the Rus Viking, Ulrich.
866 – Danish Vikings establish a kingdom in York, England.
871 – Alfred the Great becomes king of Wessex; the Danish advance is halted in England.

King Alfred the Great
872 – Harald I gains control of Norway.
879 – Rurik establishes Kiev as the center of the Kievan Rus’ domains.
886 – Alfred divides England with the Danes under the Danelaw pact.
900 – The Vikings raid along the Mediterranean coast.
911 – The Viking chief Rollo is granted land by the Franks and founds Normandy in France.

The Baptism of Rollo
941 – Rus Vikings attack Constantinople (Istanbul).
981 – Viking leader Erik the Red discovers Greenland.

Erik the Red
986 – Viking ships sail in Newfoundland waters.
991 – Æthelred II pays the first Danegeld ransom to stop Danish attacks on England.
995 – Olav I conquers Norway and proclaims it a Christian kingdom.
1000 – Christianity reaches Greenland and Iceland.
1000 – Leif Eriksson, son of Erik the Red, explores the coast of North America.

A statue of Leif Erikson, the Viking thought to have sailed to the Americas 500 years before Columbus, guards the Hallgrímskirkja Church in Reykjavík, Iceland.
1000 – Olav I dies; Norway is ruled by the Danes.
1002 – Brian Boru defeats the Norse and becomes the king of Ireland.
1010 – Viking explorer Thorfinn Karlsefni attempts to found a settlement in North America.
1013 – The Danes conquer England; Æthelred flees to Normandy.
1015 – Vikings abandon the Vinland settlement on the coast of North America.
1016 – Olav II regains Norway from the Danes.
1016 – The Danes under Knut (Canute) rule England.

A 15th-century stained glass window from Canterbury Cathedral, depicting King Cnut
1028 – Knut (Canute), king of England and Denmark, conquers Norway.
1042 – Edward the Confessor rules England with the support of the Danes.
1050 – The city of Oslo is founded in Norway.
1066 – Harold Godwinson king of England defeats Harald Hardrada king of Norway at the Battle of Stamford Bridge
1066 – William duke of Normandy defeats the Saxon king Harold at the Battle of Hastings.

William I King of England


8 thoughts on “The Viking Timeline”

    1. They were definitely there. There is archaeological evidence of settlements in Point Rosee and L’Anse aux Meadows in Newfoundland and possibly even the US mainland as Native American tribes have talked of ‘tall pale skinned men’ trading with their ancestors. Exciting stuff!

      1. I firmly believe that the Native Americans and the Vikings interacted. It (in my opinion) is only a matter of time until archaeological evidence is discovered to support this hypothesis.

  1. That is an awesome statue in Iceland! I’d love to see it in person!
    Btw, you might want to consider adding the Verden massacre to the timeline, for the part it may have played in the viking age.

    1. Hi Jessica. I tweeted about the massacre of Verden a few weeks ago. I decided to leave it out of the Viking timeline because it (whilst pivotal in the spread of Christianity in Europe and the questionable ways in which it was indentured upon unwilling populations) was part of the Saxon wars and indirectly affected the Viking population. Many say that Charlemagne was a mass murderer and the massacre became particularly significant and controversial among German nationalists in the late 19th and early 20th centuries and in Nazi Germany. In 1935, landscape architect Wilhelm Hübotter designed a memorial, known as the Sachsenhain (“Saxon Grove”), that was built at a possible site for the massacre. This site functioned for a period as a meeting place for the Schutzstaffel. Popular discussion of the massacre made Charlemagne a controversial figure in Nazi Germany until his official “rehabilitation” by Adolf Hitler and Joseph Goebbels, after which Charlemagne was officially presented in a positive manner in Nazi Germany. The actions of Charlemagne cast a long shadow through history.

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