The Viking Age 789 – 1066

 

The Viking Age

 

Known as – Vikings, Northmen
From – Denmark, Norway and Sweden

The first Viking invasion was in 793 when the Vikings raided the monastery at Lindisfarne. The last was Harald Hardrada’s attempt to take the English throne in 1066.

 

 

789 (during)
A Viking force landed at Portland, Dorset. When the local reeve went to meet them he was killed. However, this was not an invasionary force but may have been a force that got blown off course.
793 (8th June)
A Viking force attacked the monastery on Lindisfarne, Northumbria. They destroyed the abbey, killed a large number of monks and took others as slaves.
794 (during)
A Viking force attacked the island of Iona, Scotland.
795 (during)
The Vikings first raided Ireland. They attacked monasteries on the west coast.
799 (during)
The Vikings began to make raids on France.
800 (during)
King Charlemagne of the Franks began organising defence of the French coast.
801 (during)
The Vikings attacked Iona again.
806 (during)
Iona was attacked for the third time. This time a large number of monks were killed and the rest fled to Kells, Ireland. They took with them a beautifully illustrated manuscript which became known as the Book of Kells.
812 (during)
The Vikings founded Limerick in Ireland.
815 (during)
Floki of Rogaland discovered Iceland north of the Faeroe Islands.
832 (during)
Armagh in Ireland was raided by a large Viking force of around 120 ships.
836 (during)
Battle of Carhampton
The Vikings attacked North Devon and Somerset. King Egbert of Wessex tried to defeat them but he was forced to retreat.
838 (during)
Battle of Hingston Down
King Egbert fought a combined force of Vikings and Cornishmen and was victorious.
838 (during)
A force of 60 Viking longships sailed up the river Boyne while a further 60 navigated the river Liffey. They began ravaging Ireland.
839 (during)
Viking settlers founded Dublin in Ireland.
839 (during)
King Egbert of Wessex died. He was succeeded by his son Aethelwulf.
840 (around)
The Vikings began making raids along the south coast of England.
843 (during)
A Viking force attacked Nantes in France. They then moved on to Tours.
844 (during)
A Viking force attacked Seville, Spain, but were defeated.
845 (during)
A Viking force led by Ragnar Loddbrok, made raids into France. They were paid 7,000 pounds of silver to leave Paris alone.
850 (during)
The Vikings spent the winter on the island of Thanet rather than returning to Denmark. This was the first time they had overwintered in England.
851 (during)
A Danish Viking force took Frisia.
851 (during)
King Aethelwulf’s son, Aethelstan, defeated a Viking force off the coast of Sandwich.
853 (during)
Ivar the Boneless landed in Dublin and, supported by Olaf the White, took control of the Viking settlement there.
853 (during)
The Vikings established Waterford in southern Ireland.
858 (13th January)
King Aethelwulf of Wessex died. He was succeeded by his son Aethelbald.
859 (during)
Hastein, Danish Viking Chief, accompanied by Bjorn Ironside, son of the legendary Ragnar Lothbrok, led a fleet of 60 ships and raided the coast of northern France.
860 (during)
Bjorn and Hastein, continued to the Mediterranean where they beseiged and then sacked the town of Algeciras.
860 (during)
Bjorn and Hastein, began raiding the south coast of France and northern Italy. They captured Pisa and then marched inland as far as Luni, which they believed to be Rome. They lay siege to the city and then Bjorn sent a message to the bishop of the city stating that Bjorn had died but had converted to Christianity and wanted to be buried in consecrated ground. He put himself into a coffin and was carried inside the city. He then jumped out of the coffin, opened the city gates and let him men enter the city. He was disappointed to find that the city was not Rome.
860 (during)
A force of Rus Vikings attacked Constantinople (Istanbul).
860 (20th December)
King Aethelbald of Wessex died. He was succeeded by his brother Aethelberht.

div class=”timeline-date”>861 (during)

Bjorn and Hastein raided Sicily before making a series of raids along the North African coast.
861 (during)
Bjorn and Hastein were defeated by a Muslim fleet in the Straits of Gibraltar. Although they suffered heavy losses both men survived and sailed to the Loire in France.
862 (during)
The Rus Viking, Ulrich, founded Novgorod in Russia.
865 (during)
The legendary Viking leader, Ragnar Lothbrok, was killed by King Aelle of Northumbria. Legend states that he was thrown into a pit of vipers.
865 (during)
A Viking force known by the Saxons as The Great Heathen Army landed in East Anglia. They were led by Ivar the Boneless, Sigurd Snake-in-the-eye, Halfdan, Ubba and Guthrum.
865 (Autumn)
King Aethelberht of Wessex died. He was succeeded by his brother Aethelred I.
866 (during)
Ivar and the Great Heathen army marched north and invaded Northumbria.
866 (1st November)
The Danish Vikings in England took Jorvik (York) and used it as a base to make raids into Mercia.
867 (23rd March)
Osberht and Aelle, rivals for the Northumbrian throne made an alliance and marched to expel the Vikings from York. They were badly defeated. Osberht was killed during the battle. Aelle was executed, allegedly by being subjected to the Viking Eagle as revenge for his killing Ragnar Lothbork.
867 (after 23rd March)
Ivar installed Egbert as puppet king of Northumbria.
868 (during)
The Viking force, led by Ivar the Boneless, invaded Mercia and captured Nottingham. King Aethelred and his brother Alfred marched north, but by the time they arrived Burgred, King of Mercia had paid the Vikings off.
870 (during)
A Viking force known as the Great Summer Army, led by Bagsecg, arrived in England.
870 (during)
The Vikings attacked East Anglia and killed King Edmund. Legend states that the Vikings tied King Edmund to a tree and shot arrows into him until he died. Later, his body was moved to a place which became known as Bury St Edmunds.
870 (during)
The Viking forces led by Ivar the Boneless and Olaf the White captured Dumbarton in Scotland.
871 (during)
Ivar the Boneless returned to Dublin.
871 (4th January)
Battle of Reading
King Aethelred and Alfred attempted to lay siege to Reading but the Vikings led by Halfdan had fortified the town with a dyke and palisade and the Saxons were defeated by the Vikings.
871 (8th January)
Battle of Ashdown
Bagsecg, King of Jutland and Wendland, leader of the Great Summer Army, was killed in this battle between the forces of the Great Heathen Army and those of King Aethelred and his brother, Alfred.
871 (after January)
Halfdan succeeded Bagsecg as King of Jutland and Wendland in Denmark.
871 (22nd January)
Battle of Basing
Aethelred was defeated by the Vikings.
871 (22nd March)
Battle of Merton
Aethelred, supported by his brother Alfred, fought the Vikings. The battle was inconclusive and both sides withdrew. Aethelred had been badly injured in the battle.
871 (23rd April)
King Aethelred of Wessex died from injuries sustained in the Battle of Merton. His sons were considered too young to succeed and so Aethelred’s younger brother, Alfred became King.
871 (early Summer)
Battle of Wilton
The Saxons were defeated by the Vikings.
872 (during)
Harald I, known as Fairhair, became King of Norway.
873 (during)
Sigfred and Halfdan, son of Ragnar Lothbork, worked together to take control of Denmark.
873 (around)
It is believed that Ivar the Boneless died in Dublin.
874 (during)
The Vikings established a settlement in Iceland.
874 (during)
The Vikings took Mercia after defeating King Burgred. Burgred fled overseas. A puppet King, Ceolwulf was installed.
874 (during)
Harald Harfagra became King of Norway.
876 (during)
The Vikings began dividing up Northumbria preparing to settle the land permanently.
876 (during)
Alfred made a deal with Guthrum, leader of the Vikings, but Guthrum did not keep the deal. He killed his Saxon hostages and moved to Exeter, leaving the Viking ships at Wareham.
877 (during)
King Rhodri Mawr of Wales was defeated by the Vikings and fled to Wales.
877 (during)
The Vikings began dividing up Mercia preparing to settle the land permanently
877 (during)
The Vikings made further raids on Wessex taking land in Wiltshire and Hampshire.
878 (January)
Guthrum returned with a large force and marched on Chippenham. Guthrum killed many of the town’s inhabitants. It is likely that this was the last straw for the Witan and that Alfred lost their support due to the fact that his attempts to pay off the Vikings had not worked. Alfred was forced to leave Wessex in fear for his life. He sought refuge in the Somerset marshes at Athelney. The legend of King Alfred and the Burnt Cakes stems from this period.
878 (Spring)
Alfred summoned his troops and defeated the Viking leader, Guthrum and agreed terms at Wedmore.
878 (June)
As per the treaty of Wedmore agreed between Alfred and Guthrum, the Viking leader and around 30 chief Vikings were baptised.
879 (during)
Rurik made Kiev the centre of Kievan Rus.
879 (during)
Another band of Vikings arrived in England. They sailed up the Thames and Alfred was concerned that they would join with Guthrum and mount a new attack. However, after a short while they left England and sailed to France.
882 (during)
Alfred’s new navy won a naval battle against the Vikings, destroying two Viking ships and forcing the surrender of two others.
884 (during)
Battle of Norditi
The Vikings were forced to withdraw from East Frisia after being defeated by a Frisian army.
885 (during)
A Viking force lay siege to Paris, France.
885 (during)
A band of Vikings arrived and attacked Rochester in Kent. The town had been fortified by Alfred in 878 and was able to hold out until Alfred arrived with the army and defeated the Vikings.
886 (during)
King Alfred of Wessex negotiated with the Vikings and allowed them control of the North under Danelaw.
893 (during)
Battle of Farnham
While King Alfred had been busy trying to make peace with Haesten, the Appledore Vikings had raided towns in Hampshire and Berkshire. They were returning to Appledore with their booty but were cut off by Alfred’s son, Edward who recovered the stolen treasure and put them to flight. Edward then pursued the Vikings, caught up with them and held them under siege at Thorney.
893 (during)
While Alfred and Edward had been occupied with the Vikings in Kent and Appledore, the East Anglia Vikings had sailed to Exeter and lay siege to the city. Alfred had intended to help his son defeat the Vikings at Thorney but had to divert and go to Exeter to relieve the siege to the city. Alfred encircled the besiegers. A further group of Vikings marched west probably to relieve the siege of Exeter but they were met at Buttington by a large force led by the Ealdormen of Mercia, Somerset and Wiltshire who succeeded in putting them to flight and the Vikings returned to East Anglia. Soon afterwards the Vikings in Exeter withdrew and also returned to Thorney, East Anglia.
894 (Spring)
The Vikings were forced, through hunger, to leave Thorney, they moved north to Chester but were placed under siege and forced to leave.
894 (late)
The Vikings built a new fort about 20 miles north of London by the river Lea.
895 (Autumn)
Alfred built two new fortresses by the river Lea which meant that the Viking force further up the river were unable to get their boats out to sea.
895 (late Autumn)
On learning of Alfred’s actions the Vikings abandoned their boats on the river Lea and marched overland to Bridgenorth on the river Severn where they built a new fort. Alfred marched to Bridgenorth and lay siege to the Vikings.
896 (Summer)
The Vikings gave up their raids on English towns and returned to East Anglia and Northumbria. Wessex was finally at peace.
899 (26th October)
King Alfred the Great died. He was succeeded by his son, Edward the Elder.
900 (during)
The Vikings made a series of raids on the Mediterranean coast.
901 (during)
Aethelwold, cousin of King Edward the Elder, had contested Edward’s position as King. He had gained the support of the Vikings and was made King of York. He received the allegiance of the Northern Vikings.
901 (Autumn)
Aethelwold of Wessex and the Northern Vikings landed in Essex and allied with the East Anglian Vikings
907 (during)
The Swedish Viking, Olef the Wise led a large force to Constantinople (Istanbul). He was paid a large sum to leave the city alone.
910 (5th August)
Battle of Tettenhall (Wednesfield)
The combined forces of Mercia and Wessex defeated the Northumbrian Vikings
911 (during)
The Viking Rollo was given land in the North of France by the French King, Charles the Simple. It became known as the land of the Northmen (Normandy).
914 (during)
A Viking force from Brittany that tried to advance up the River Severn was defeated. King Edward stationed a force on the south of the River Severn to deal with any further attempted attacks. In the Autumn the Vikings sailed to Ireland.
915 (during)
First battle of Corbridge
The-Anglo Saxons were defeated by the Vikings.
916 (during)
Harthacnut I became King of Denmark when Sigtrygg Gnupasson died.
917 (Summer)
A force of Vikings from Northampton and Leicester attempted to take the fort at Towcester but were successfully repelled.
917 (Summer)
A force of East Anglian Danes constructed a fort at Tempsford and used it as a base from which to attack Bedford. They were unsuccessful and forced to retreat.
917 (late Summer)
Battle of Tempsford
The Anglo-Saxons defeated the Danes at Tempsford. The sole surviving Danish King of East Anglia was killed in the Battle.
917 (Autumn)
King Edward defeated the Danes and took Colchester. The Danes retaliated by besieging the fort at Maldon but they were unsuccessful and many died.
917 (late)
King Edward the Elder received the submission of all the Danes south of the River Humber.
918 (during)
Battle of Corbridge
This was a battle between Viking forces led by Ragnall and Constantine II of Scotland supported by Ealdred of Bamburgh. Although the battle was indecisive the Vikings suffered huge losses and only a quarter of their force survived.
919 (during)
The Viking, Ragnall, took York and proclaimed himself King of York.
919 (during)
The Vikings routed an attack by an alliance of Irish Kings. Many of the Kings were killed in the process.
920 (during)
The Norse Vikings attacked Cheshire
924 (17th July)
King Edward the Elder died. He was succeeded by his son, Aethelstan.
926 (January)
King Aethelstan married one of his sisters to Sihtric, the Viking ruler of Northumbria.
927 (during)
Sihtric of Northumbria died. He was succeeded by a son from a previous marriage who did not support an alliance with Aethelstan. Aethelstan therefore invaded Northumbria and captured York.
931 (during)
Eric Haraldsson, known as Eric Bloodaxe, became King of Norway when Harald Fairhair abdicated.
934 (during)
Hakon the Good became King of Norway. Sources are unclear as to why he took over from Eric Bloodaxe.
936 (during)
Gorm the Old became King of Denmark when Harthacnut I died.
937 (October)
Battle of Brunanburh – This battle, fought between King Athelstan of England and the combined forces of Constantine of Scotland, Owain of Strathclyde and Olaf Guthfrithson King of Dublin lasted all day but saw Aethelstan victorious.
939 (during)
Eric Bloodaxe, became King of Northumberland.
939 (27th October)
King Aethelstan of England died. He was succeeded by his son Edmund.
940 (early)
The Viking Olaf III Guthfrithson, with the support of the Archbishop of York, Wulfstan, conquered Northumbria and invaded Mercia.
941 (during)
The Rus Vikings attacked Constantinople (Istanbul).
941 (during)
Olaf III Guthfrithson was killed during a raid. He was succeeded by Olaf Sitricson who was not as strong as his predecessor. Edmund attacked and was able to take back Mercia.
943 (during)
King Edmund made an alliance with King Olaf of York. Edmund became godfather to Olaf.
944 (during)
Edmund re-took Northumbria from the Vikings
944 (during)
King Olaf of York was unable to retain his throne and so left England for Ireland where he became King of Dublin.
946 (26th May)
King Edmund I of England died. He was succeeded by his brother Eadred.
947 (during)
Eric Bloodaxe captured Jorvik (York) and took control of Northumbria.
948 (during)
King Eadred managed to re-take Northumbria.
949 (during)
The former ruler of York, Olaf Sihtricson, returned to the North of England and was accepted as ruler of Northumbria.
952 (during)
Eric Bloodaxe returned and took Northumbria.
952 (during)
King Eadred captured and imprisoned Archbishop Wulfstan of York who helped the Vikings.
954 (during)
Erik Bloodaxe, the last Viking King in England, was driven out of Northumbria and killed.
955 (23rd November)
King Eadred of England died. He was succeeded by his nephew, Eadwig.
958 (during)
Harald Bluetooth became King of Denmark when Gorm the Old died.
959 (during)
King Eadwig of England died. He was succeeded by his brother Edgar.
961 (during)
Hakon the Good, regent for Harald Greycloak in Noway, died.
970 (during)
Harald Greycloak died. Harald Bluetooth took the throne of Norway.
973 (during)
King Edgar received the submission of eight kings of the North, including the Kings of Scotland and Strathclyde at Chester thus strengthening his position.
975 (8th July)
King Edgar of England died. He was succeeded by his son Edward.
978 (during)
King Edward of England was murdered by supporters of his step-brother, Aethelred at Corfe Castle. He is known as Edward the Martyr. He was succeeded by his half-brother Aethelred, known as Unready.
980 (during)
There were Danish Viking raids on Chester and Southampton.
981 (during)
There were Danish Viking raids on Devon and Cornwall.
982 (during)
There were Danish Viking raids on Dorset.
982 (during)
Erik the Red, who had been banished from Iceland, discovered Greenalnd.
985 (during)
Harald Bluetooth, King of Denmark and Norway died. He was succeeded by his son, Sweyn Forkbeard.
986 (during)
Viking ships reached Newfoundland.
991 (10th August)
Battle of Maldon
Byrhtnoth of Essex was defeated by the Danish Vikings led by Olaf Tryggvason.
991 (during)
Following the Viking victory at Maldon King Aethelred was forced to pay the Vikings £10,000 pounds (3.3 kg of silver) to make them leave Wessex alone. The payment was known as a Danegeld.
994 (during)
A party of Viking raiders sailed up the River Thames and put London under siege. King Aethelred was forced to make another Danegeld payment to make the raiders leave. This time the Viking leader Olaf Trygvasson, demanded £16,000 (5.3 kg of silver)
995 (during)
Olaf Trygvason became King Olaf of Norway.
995 (during)
King Olaf of Norway and Sweyn Forkbeard of Denmark made a joint invasion on London. It was unsuccessful but they made several raids on the south of England.
1000 (during)
Leif Eriksson, son of Erik the Red, reached North America becomming the first European to reach the New World.
1000 (during)
Olaf I of Norway was killed in battle by Sweyn Forkbeard. Norway came under Danish rule.
1002 (during)
St Brice’s Day Massacre
King Aethelred ordered the massacre of all Danes living in England. He hoped that by ridding England of Danes he would minimise the risk of attack from within. A significant number of Danes were killed including the sister of Sweyn Forkbeard.
1002 (during)
Sweyn Forkbeard and a party of Vikings raided the South coast retaliation for the St Brice’s day massacre. They gained control of land from Exeter to Hampshire.
1002 (late)
King Aethelred had no choice but to pay the Danes to leave his land alone. The Danegled demanded was £24,000 (8kg of silver).
1004 (during)
Sweyn Forkbeard destroyed the town of Norwich.
1006 (July)
Sweyn Forkbeard and the Vikings returned and made a series of raids on Kent and Sussex.
1007 (during)
King Aethelred was unable to raise sufficient forces to defeat the Vikings and so was forced to make another Danegeld payment to keep the Vikings away. The sum demanded this time was £36,000 (12 kg of silver).
1008 (during)
King Aethelred decided that he could not keep paying off the Danes and so decided to build a new fleet of ships.
1009 (during)
A group of Vikings led by Thorkell the Tall made a series of devastating raids on the coast. King Aethelred was unable to defeat the Vikings using his new ships because his Captain, Wulfnoth had taken 20 boats on a piracy mission. Another Captain, Brihtric, who had tried to stop Wulfnoth had run several ships aground.
1010 (during)
The Danes invaded East Anglia. A battle was fought near Ipswich which left the Danes in control of the town.
1011 (during)
The Danish Vikings captured Canterbury and took Archbishop Aelheah prisoner.
1012 (19th April)
The Danish Vikings in Canterbury went on a drunken raid and murdered Archbishop Aelheah of Canterbury. The Viking leader, Thorkell the Tall, tried to stop the murder but was unsuccessful. He was so angry at his comrades that he defected and joined Aethelred’s forces.
1012 (April)
King Aethelred made another Danegeld payment of £48,000 (17 kg of silver) to stop the destruction being caused by the Vikings.
1013 (during)
Sweyn Forkbeard returned and took Wessex, Mercia and Northumbria. London alone held out against the Danes.
1013 (December)
Having conquered the majority of England Sweyn Forkbeard proclaimed himself King of England. Aethelred, Emma and their children fled to Normandy.
1014 (during)
Sweyn Forkbeard died. His son Harald became King Harald II of Denmark. In England the English rejected his son, Cnut and asked Aethelred the Unready to return. Only the people of Lindsey had wanted Cnut to succeed.
1014 (23rd April)
Battle of Clontarf
Brian Boru, King of Munster fought the King of Leinster who had allied with the Dublin Vikings. Boru was killed in the fighting.
1016 (during)
Olaf II retook Norway from the Danes.
1016 (early January)
Cnut began attacking more regions of England. King Aethelred’s son, Edmund Ironside, summoned an army but the men refused to fight without authorisation from King Aethelred. Aethelred summoned an army but was warned that his son may betray him and returned to London.
1016 (Spring)
Cnut took Northumberland then marched towards London.
1016 (April)
Edmund Ironside marched to London to try to stop Cnut from taking the city.
1016 (23rd April)
King Aethelred II of England died. His son, Edmund Ironside, was proclaimed King Edmund II of England.
1016 (c. 9th May)
Battle of Brentford
Edmund Ironside managed to defeat the Danish army led by Cnut at Brentford.
1016 (18th October)
Battle of Assandun
This battle fought between Edmund Ironside and Cnut saw the Dane victorious and left Edmund in control of only Wessex.
1016 (after 18th October)
King Edmund had no choice but to agree to share rule with Cnut. Cnut ruled Northumbria, Mercia and East Anglia while Edmund ruled Wessex. It was agreed that on the death of either party the other would rule all of England.
1016 (30th November)
King Edmund Ironside of England died and Cnut seized the throne of England.
1016 (December)
Edmund Ironside’s two children were taken to Hungary as it was feared that they would be murdered by Cnut.
1016 (December)
The three children of Aethelred the Unready by Emma of Normandy were taken to Normandy as it was feared their lives were in danger.
1017 (During
Cnut divided England into four earldoms: Wessex – controlled by Cnut himself, Mercia controlled by Eadric Streona, Northumbria controlled by Erik of Hlathir and East Anglia controlled by Thorkell the Tall.
1017 (6th January)
Cnut was crowned King of England at St Paul’s Cathedral.
1017 (2nd July)
Cnut married Aethelred’s widow, Emma. It was agreed that the succession would be with the children of Emma and Cnut.
1019 (during)
King Cnut became King of Denmark.
1019 (Summer)
Cnut went to Denmark to claim the Kingdom.
1026 (during)
Battle of Helgea
A combined Norwegian and Swedish force launched an attack on Denmark. Cnut responded by sending a combined English and Danish fleet. Despite heavy casualties the battle was won by Cnut.
1028 (during)
Following victory at the Battle of Helgea over King Olaf II of Norway, Cnut became King of Norway. He was now King of England, Denmark and Norway and became referred to as Cnut the Great
1035 (Autumn)
Cnut lost the Kingdom of Norway to Magnus the Good
1035 (12th November)
King Cnut died. His son and nominated heir, Harthacnut, was in Denmark claiming the Danish throne and unable to return to England immediately. The English throne was therefore taken by Harold Harefoot, son of Aethelred the Unready by his first wife.
1040 (during)
King Harold Harefoot of England died. He was succeeded by his Danish half-brother, Harthacnut.
1042 (8th June)
King Harthacnut of England died and Edward the Confessor, son of Aethelred the Unready became King of England. Magnus the Good became King of Norway and Denmark.
1047 (25th October)
Magnus the Good died. Sweyn II became King of Denmark and Harald III, known as Hardrada became King of Norway.
1050 (during)
Oslo was founded in Norway.
1066 (during)
King Edward the Confessor of England died. He had no children and the throne passed to Harold Godwinson as King Harold II. The succession was contested by Harald Hardrada of Norway and William Duke of Normandy.
1066 (25th September)
Harald Hardrada invaded England. He was defeated and killed at the Battle of Stamford Bridge. This was the last Viking invasion of England.
1066 (14th October)
William of Normandy defeated Harold II at the Battle of Hastings.
1066 (25th December)
Having conquered England, William of Normandy was crowned King at Westminster Abbey.

 

Harvard Reference for this page:

Heather Y Wheeler. (2018). The Viking Age 789 – 1066. Available: http://www.totallytimelines.com/the-viking-age-789-1066 Last accessed April 20th, 2018

 

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