Vikings were the seafaring Norse people from southern Scandinavia who from the late 8th to late 11th centuries pirated, raided and traded from their Northern European homelands across wide areas of Europe, and explored westward to Iceland, Greenland, and Vinland. This period of Nordic military, mercantile and demographic expansion had a profound impact on the early medieval history of Scandinavia, the British Isles, France, Estonia, Kievan Rus' and Sicily.
Expert sailors and navigators aboard their characteristic longships, Vikings voyaged as far as the Mediterranean littoral, North Africa, and the Middle East. After decades of exploration around the coasts and rivers of Europe, Vikings established Norse communities and governments scattered across north-western Europe, Belarus, Ukraine and European Russia, the North Atlantic islands all the way to the north-eastern coast of North America. The Vikings and their descendants established themselves as rulers and nobility in many areas of Europe. The Normans, descendants of Vikings who conquered and gave their name to what is now Normandy, also formed the aristocracy of England. While spreading Norse culture to foreign lands, they simultaneously brought home strong foreign cultural influences to Scandinavia, profoundly influencing the historical development of both. During the Viking Age the Norse homelands were gradually consolidated from smaller kingdoms into three larger kingdoms; Denmark, Norway and Sweden.
Norse civilisation during the Viking Age was technologically, militarily and culturally advanced. Yet popular, modern conceptions of the Vikings—a term frequently applied casually to their modern Scandinavian descendants—often strongly differ from the complex, advanced civilisation of the Norsemen that emerges from archaeology and historical sources.
- Scandinavia belongs to the continent.
- The Vikings could be described as .
- The word descendants in this article refers to .
- "The Vikings and their descendants established themselves as rulers and nobility in many areas of Europe." It can be inferred from this sentence that .
- Historically, the Vikings .