Five Fun Facts About Vikings

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We enjoyed a double dose of all things Viking when we went to the IMAX movie, Vikings: Journey to New Worlds followed by the Vikings Exhibition at the Royal BC Museum.

Here are five fun facts I learned about Vikings:

1. The only Vikings who wear horns on their helmets are the ones in cartoons or operas. The rest of them wore streamlined, horn-free helmets. Note: the lack of horns didn’t make them look any less ferocious.

2. We’re not sure why, but some of them carved deep grooves in their front teeth (ouch!) If you’re considering replicating this Viking dental technique–don’t do it! The carved teeth on the Viking skull at the museum show this fad to be less attractive than it sounds. Plus, flossing all those horizontal grooves would require a huge time committment.

3. Vikings were governed by an assembly of free people called…wait for it!…The Thing. I love the idea of calling it The Thing. You’d never forget the name! (“What’s the name of that thing?” “The Thing.”) The Thing took place at The Place. Just kidding! The Thing met at The Thingstead, which is actually a pretty cool name, too.

4. The first European born in North America was a baby Viking named Snorri Thorfinnsson, son of Gudred the Traveller. Little Snorri was born around 1005 in Vinland (thought to be present day Newfoundland). The next European baby to born in North America wouldn’t arrive for about five hundred years.

5. Vikings are wildly popular with modern-day Canadians. Both the movie and the exhibit were packed with non-Viking types soaking up the information.

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8 thoughts on “Five Fun Facts About Vikings

  1. Great post. I used to love doing projects on subjects like The Vikings, The Egypians, The Mayans at school, whether my teachers were expecting the massive folder at the start of the new term to read that’s what they got lol. I used to like to have a key fact on each page and I remember drawing a scarab beetle on every page of my Egypian project with a speech bubble, it must have worked because I remember lots 🙂

  2. Is that a recorded fact? I know it is thought that some people may have reached America before Columbus but is there evidence for this? How was the birth of that child recorded? It seems an awful lot of effort to go all the way there and then turn around and come back. Or did they not?

    • The First Nations peoples reached North America long before any European explorers. The Vikings were next. There’s an archaeological site at L’Anse aux Medows, Newfoundland which proves the Vikings arrived centuries before Columbus. Their journey was done in stages: Greenland to Labrador, then south to Newfoundland. My research indicates that the settlement was never meant to be permanent, but a place to winter and gather supplies (especially wood, which was scarce in Greenland) before returning to Greenland. It’s believed they used this settlement for ten years before abandoning it. The Vikings were oral historians, passing their stories from generation to generation. At some point, one of them compiled a written history (called The Sagas), which no doubt included information about Snorri’s birth. Viking history is fascinating stuff!

  3. 1. I shall refrain from typing a double entendre.
    2. Sugar has already done it to my remaining teeth. I don’t need to do it myself.
    3. See #1 re the Thing.
    4. I wouldn’t mind being called Snorri. (Snorri about that).
    5. Chihuahua is definitely not a Viking word.

    Great posting Nanette. Loved it!

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