D’où viennent les vikings ?

Where do the Vikings come from?

The Vikings come from Scandinavia.
Here is the list of the most famous Viking countries:

  • Sweden
  • Norway
  • Denmark

But the barbarians of the north end up reaching and colonizing many countries and lands during their expeditions and invasions . Today, Viking descent is found in Iceland , or even in France . Finally, isn't there a little Viking in all of us?

The countries of origin of the Vikings

viking country

The first Vikings hailed from what are now Sweden , Norway and Denmark .

Then these northern barbarians set out to conquer new worlds aboard their Drakkars . In 793, an early Viking party plundered Lindisfarne Monastery . Then they hit Scotland in 794 and Ireland in 795. Nearly four years later, the Vikings set sail for France . They skirt the coasts of the English Channel, take Normandy . Then continue on the Seine to take Paris . These are no longer simple looting, but real raids set up to dominate new lands.

The Viking fleet goes as far as Spain , Italy . And even arrive in America thanks to their "stone of the sun", which guides them at sea. It is said that the Vikings set foot in Africa , as well as in Russia where they founded Kiev and Novgorod.

In short, the Vikings are a great seafaring people.

What if the Vikings came from Central Europe?

vikings dna europe

In January 2018, Mattias Jacobson ofUppsala University in Sweden and his colleagues deciphered the DNA of those believed to be the first inhabitants of Scandinavia. They draw a conclusion, published in the scientific journal PLoS Biology (see source ).

The researchers therefore analyzed the DNA of four men and three women, former inhabitants of Scandinavia. All were buried on the islands of Gotland and Stora Karlsö in the Baltic Sea 6,000 to 9,000 years ago. And all of them have been preserved brilliantly, thanks to the low temperatures. A real boon for the researchers who were able to correctly restore the genomes.

Genetic studies by Mathias Jacobson and his colleagues have revealed similarities with two European populations . Indeed, the DNA of the inhabitants of present-day western Norway is closer to that of the ancient inhabitants of northern Russia . In contrast, their DNA is much less close to the ancient inhabitants of southern Scandinavia .

For the researchers, there would have been two different populations having formed the Viking population , by two different migration routes . According to Mattias Jacobson and his colleagues, a group would have arrived from the south, via Denmark. And the other from the East, towards Norway. At the time, the ice cap dominated the interior of Scandinavia. But the entire northern coast of Norway was ice-free. Where they would have settled, among others, still according to Mathias Jacobson and his colleagues.

One of the populations was made up of Men with blue eyes and tanned skin. While the other had Men with paler skin, and eyes of different colors.

The Vikings of Normandy

Vikings in Normandy

It is a fact, the barbarians from the north invaded France and present-day Normandy in the year 841. They first took Rouen, then struck Bayeux and Saint-Lô, to stay there for long periods. Today, there is little trace of their passage through Normandy. But many surnames, or names of places and villages guard against influences.

In April 2016, a genetic study was carried out in the Cotentin by Richard Jones, from the University of Leicester in the United Kingdom. The goal: to analyze the share of Viking descent in present-day Normandy . And it is in Cotentin that the density of people and places with Viking names is particularly high. There are Lanfry, Osouf, Gonfray, Tougis, and many more.

To carry out this study, the researchers only retained those whose four grandparents were born within a radius of 509 kilometers around their current home. A total of 89 men are selected. They are subjected to a saliva test and then a genealogical questionnaire. The search then focuses on a "Viking signature" on the Y chromosomes, only present in men. Of the 89 men, 52 represented haplogroup R1b, the most common in northern and western Europe. So not typically Viking. In 11 of the Normans , a haplogroup that suggests possible Viking ancestry .

So is Normandy still populated by Vikings? A little… but not that much.

Find out more here: The Vikings in Normandy .

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