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210 Vikings History Trivia Questions, Answers, and Fun Facts

How much do you know about Vikings History? This category is for trivia questions and answers related to Vikings History (History). Each one is filled with fun facts and interesting information.
1 In which century was the term "Viking" first used by historians to describe the Scandinavian raiders as far back as the 8th century?
Answer: 18th

The term "Viking" comes from the Old Norse noun 'viking' which referred to an overseas expedition. The term was adopted by historians in the 18th Century to describe the Scandinavian raiders who attacked and settled in Britain from the late 8th century. It was only in the 20th Century that the meaning of the word "Viking" extended to all the people of Scandinavia who lived at that time, not just the seaborne raiders. Thus, the period from the late 8th to the mid 11th century is now known collectively as the "Viking Age".
    Your options: [ 18th ] [ 14th ] [ 20th ] [ 10th ]
  From Quiz: The Truth About Vikings
2 What name was given to the eastern region of England, conquered and occupied by the Danish armies in the ninth century, which had its own legal customs and laws?
Answer: The Danelaw

In 886 Alfred the Great signed a peace treaty with the Danes which effectively partitioned England. To ensure the continuous safty of his people, Alfred built up defences to his kingdom. Danish raiders continued to harass the coast, so he established a navy to protect his people.

    Your options: [ Arni's Settlement ] [ Northern Inlet ] [ The Danelaw ] [ Town of Luda's People ]
  From Quiz: Age of the Vikings
3 King Canute was the scion of the Danish royal house. Who was his father?
Answer: Sweyn Forkbeard

Canute was the son of Sweyn Forkbeard, the most feared Norseman of his time. Harald Bluetooth was Canute's grandfather, Gorm the Old was his great-grandfather, and Hardicanute his great-great-grandfather. Gorm the Old is considered the first king of Denmark.
  From Quiz: King Canute
4 Lets start with an easy one. In which year was the first recorded raid on Lindisfarne?
Answer: 793

The Viking Age is believed to have begin in 793, when the first recorded raid occured at Lindisfarne in Northumbria.
    Your options: [ 793 ] [ 795 ] [ 787 ] [ 777 ]
  From Quiz: Vikings History
5 The word "viking" is based upon the word "vik," meaning a creek, inlet or bay. From which language does the word "vik" originate?
Answer: Old Norse

Old Norse is the language of the famous Eddas and sagas. The language has changed little, and speakers of modern Icelandic are able to read the Viking Eddas with little difficulty. The Icelandic capital of Reykjavik can be translated as "smoky bay."
    Your options: [ Faroese ] [ Anglo-Saxon ] [ Old Norse ] [ Old Swedish ]
  From Quiz: 'Ware the Norsemen
6 Although Leif Ericson was the first European to land in the New World, which earlier Viking was actually the first to sight it?
Answer: Bjarni Herjolfsson

Herjolfsson, an Icelandic trader, first sighted North America in 986 AD after he was driven there by a storm. Leif bought his ship and tried to retrace the journey according to Herjolfsson's account.
    Your options: [ Eric the Red ] [ Bjarni Herjolfsson ] [ Bjorn Olafsson ] [ Snori Sturluson ]
  From Quiz: The History and Culture of the Vikings
7 When did sailing-boats first appear in Scandinavia?
Answer: 600-700 A.D.

They were constructed from an old rowing-boat-type that was used by the Vikings. This boat-type was used until the ninth century.
  From Quiz: The Viking Ships
8 What are the main three countries that make up Scandinavia?
Answer: Denmark, Norway, Sweden

According to Wikipedia:
"The term 'Scandinavia' usually refers to Denmark, Norway and Sweden, but Finland and even Iceland are sometimes included".
  From Quiz: Vikings
9 The Vikings were perhaps the earliest culture to ice-skate. What material did they carve their skates primarily from?
Answer: cattle bones
  From Quiz: Viking Culture
10 The first Viking raid on the British Isles happened at Lindisfarne but in what year?
Answer: 793

"It was the summer of seven ninety three..."
Perhaps you remembered this from listening to the Horrible Histories team's rock song on the Vikings? Either way, 793 is the date generally used by British historians as the beginning of the Viking Age in Britain, due to the attack on Lindisfarne off the coast of Northumberland.

It is believed the Inner Hebridies of Scotland were under Viking control by 847. 802 was when the island and religious community of Iona in Scotland was sacked.
  From Quiz: The Truth About Vikings
11 Which Viking raider founded the duchy of Normandy in the tenth century?
Answer: Rollo

Rollo, known in Icelandic sources as Hrolfur, was nicknamed Gongu-Hrolfur because he was so huge that no horse could carry him and he had to walk. In 911, King Charles III granted him the lands of Normandy in exchange for his promise to defend France against further Viking inroads.
    Your options: [ Toblerone ] [ Pez ] [ Rollo ] [ Skittle ]
  From Quiz: Age of the Vikings
12 Canute became king of England in 1016 AD. What significant governmental act did he commit soon after his ascension to the throne?
Answer: He divided the entire country into four parts

According to the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, in 1017 AD, Canute divided the country into four military zones: Wessex, East Anglia, Mercia, and Northumbria. Originally, the three main earls ruling England were Thorkell the Tall, Eadric Streona, and Erik of Norway. Canute governed Wessex personally. Over the course of his reign, other earls and earldoms would appear in charters.
  From Quiz: King Canute
13 What is the name of the animal or bird that is believed to have been used on most "Viking" war banners?
Answer: Raven

The raven is often believed to have been used by the pre-Christian armies of Scandinavian warbands, there has even been found evidence suggesting this. The raven was a sacred animal in the Norse religion, because of the two ravens that sat on each of Odin's shoulders. Since Odin was a god of war, his ravens also became associated with war.
  From Quiz: Vikings History
14 Leif Ericson's last name means he was the son of Eric the Red. However, what was Eric the Red's real last name (________son)?
Answer: Thorvaldson

Eric's father, Thorvald, was an outlaw in Norway so he moved to Iceland. Eric, however, repeated history by becoming an outlaw in Iceland and had to move to Greenland.
  From Quiz: The History and Culture of the Vikings
15 What was the private boat-type?
Answer: Karv

The karv was used for local travelling along the coast. The longships are identical with the karv, except that they are larger.
  From Quiz: The Viking Ships
16 The Vikings practiced early-forms of Landnam, due to a series of bad crops. What does this word, for raiding translate to?
Answer: land taking
  From Quiz: Viking Culture
17 Which naval battle off the south-west of Norway late in the ninth century enabled Harald Fine-Hair to unite the whole of Norway under a single crown?
Answer: Havrsfjord

Harald faced, c.890, a confederate fleet of Norwegian chieftains and independent "kings" off Stavanger and won a resounding victory.
    Your options: [ Ravnsborg ] [ Clontarf ] [ Havrsfjord ] [ Vejlby ]
  From Quiz: Age of the Vikings
18 There is very little recorded history of Vikings in Russia. What evidence of their presence did the Vikings leave behind?
Answer: all of these

Vikings usually established temporary trading settlements in Russia, though the ones in Kiev and Novgorod were more permanent. The Vikings used the Russian rivers to navigate through the country. They would portage their boats around rough water.
    Your options: [ weapons ] [ all of these ] [ runic inscriptions ] [ brooches ]
  From Quiz: The Viking Age
19 Though Canute was a Christian, he followed the pagan tradition of polygamy. Who were his two wives?
Answer: Aelfgifu and Emma

Aelfgifu, technically Canute's concubine, was a Saxon lady who belonged to a very powerful family. She bore him two sons, Sweyn and Harold Harefoot. Harold Harefoot ruled England for five years as Harold I.

Canute's official wife was Emma of Normandy. She had previously been the wife of Aethelred the Unready, Canute's defeated foe. Canute and Emma had two children: Hardicanute and Gunhilda. Hardicanute became the king of England after Harold Harefoot's death.
  From Quiz: King Canute
20 Harald Fairhair (Hårfagri) united Norway. What is the name of the final battle in this war of unification?
Answer: Hafrsfjord

The battle of Hafsfjord was the last of the many great battles fought by Harald Fairhair to unite Norway. After that battle he ruled for about 60 years (according to tradition), with little resistance in Norway. However after his death and then his son Håkon's death in 961, troubles began again for the young Kingdom of Norway.
  From Quiz: Vikings History
21 Many people know that the Vikings used short, straight lines to form the carved writing known as runes, but what did they call their alphabet?
Answer: the futhark

The Vikings had slightly different runes depending on geographic region, but they all called the collection of runes the futhark. The original Germanic Elder-futhark had 24 characters, but later was pared down to 16 by various Viking groups. It is named for the first six characters: Fehu, Uruz, Thurisaz, Ansuz, Raido, and Kauno.
  From Quiz: 'Ware the Norsemen
22 Vinland was the name the Vikings gave to what land?
Answer: Newfoundland

Newfoundland, the area where Leif Ericson landed, was called Vinland ("Wineland") because of the grapes that grew there.
  From Quiz: The History and Culture of the Vikings
23 What was the knorr used for?
Answer: Trading

This was the most commonly built ship-type in the Viking fleet. It was tougher and broader than the longshps, and could carry both men, cargo and animals. The oarholes were concentrated in the front or in the back, and the cargo was stored in the centre of the boat.
  From Quiz: The Viking Ships
24 How did Erik the Red earn his nickname?
Answer: he had a long red beard
  From Quiz: Vikings
25 The Vikings, sailing with their mighty Gokstads, invaded the aborigine peoples of Newfoundland. What was the derogatory term the Vikings used to call these people?
Answer: skraelings
  From Quiz: Viking Culture
26 The Vikings were renowned shipbuilders. Their longships have become an integral part of the Viking image but what were their smaller cargo ships called?
Answer: Knarrs

Knarrs had a shorter, wider and deeper hull compared to those designed for longships allowing them to carry more cargo. They were used to transport items such as wool, ivory, timbers, furs and pelts as well as slaves. The only knarr ship that has been found relatively well preserved was discovered in Roskilde Ford in 1962 and is currently undergoing restoration at the Viking Ship Museum there.
The other ships are all types of longships.
  From Quiz: The Truth About Vikings
27 What was the name of the fortified military encampment on the Baltic coast which was the headquarters of the Jomsvikings, the semi-legendary professional warriors in the tenth century whose adventures are recounted in Jomsviking Saga?
Answer: Jomsborg

Archaeologists have identified it with the port and island of Wolin near the mouth of the River Oder in Poland.
    Your options: [ Gamrie ] [ Haylie Brae ] [ Jomsborg ] [ Jomberg ]
  From Quiz: Age of the Vikings
28 What was the treasure a Viking was buried with called?
Answer: grave goods

Grave goods were a deceased Viking's best or favorite things. The items found in Viking grave sites give a glimpse of their daily life. Cooking utensils, furniture, gold and silver and even long boats have been excavated from Viking Age graves.
  From Quiz: The Viking Age
29 Soon after securing power in England, Canute also became the king of Denmark. How did he accomplish this?
Answer: His older brother died without an heir

While Canute had been helping his father conquer England, Denmark had been left to the care of Canute's older brother Harald. In 1019 AD, Harald died and apparently left no viable heir. Canute swiftly traveled to his homeland, and claimed Denmark as his birthright. He found little opposition and peacefully acceded to the Danish throne. England, however, remained his primary home and the seat of his power.
  From Quiz: King Canute
30 What the traditional date for the battle of Hafsfjord set by Snorri Sturluson?
Answer: 872

The year was 872 is that given by Snorri and by tradition, but Saxo Grammaticus however sat it as far back as 852.
  From Quiz: Vikings History
31 Created in 930 AD, where is the world's oldest functioning legislature known as the Althing?
Answer: Iceland

After Norway took away Iceland's independence, the power of the Althing slowly diminished. In 1800, the legislative body was suspended, but was reconvened in 1843 and has continued since.
The Isle of Man has the longest 'continuous' parliament, which commenced in 1077. Nonetheless, the Althing is still the oldest legislature although suspended for 43 years.
  From Quiz: The History and Culture of the Vikings
32 What is the name of the first European with any kind of claim to have sighted America?
Answer: Bjarni Herjolffson

However, there is only one old source for the claim and that is an Icelandic saga - which means that the source is not reliable.
  From Quiz: Vikings
33 The Vikings were good farmers, but also good at taming animals. What animal did they train to hunt ducks?
Answer: peregrine falcon
  From Quiz: Viking Culture
34 The Emperors of which Eastern empire employed Vikings as their bodyguards?
Answer: Byzantine

The Byzantium Emperors used Viking mercenaries as their own personal guard and they became known as Varangians. The empire later became the Ottoman Empire.
    Your options: [ Byzantine ] [ Chinese ] [ Mongol ] [ Persian ]
  From Quiz: The Truth About Vikings
35 What Scottish historical novelist published, in 1817, a long narrative poem set in Viking times, 'Harold the Dauntless'?
Answer: Walter Scott

Scott published a precis in English of one of the Icelandic sagas (Eyrbyggja Saga, 1813) and wrote a novel set in the northern Isles of Scotland but rooted in their Viking past, "The Pirate" (1822).
  From Quiz: Age of the Vikings
36 What were Vikings NOT known as?
Answer: missionaries

Vikings were renowned as daring explorers, crafty traders and talented craftsmen. Spreading religion was not a top priority. They traveled and traded as far east as Constantinople and Jerusalem. They built longboats capable of sailing across the Atlantic in search of new lands. They created intricate jewelry of great beauty.
  From Quiz: The Viking Age
37 Which earl rose to great prominence under Canute's patronage?
Answer: Earl Godwin

Earl Godwin rose from obscure beginnings to become one of the most powerful men in England. While he was a major player in Canute's England, he later became the man who controlled three other kings: Harold I, Hardicanute, and Edward the Confessor. His sons all became great earls, and his daughter married King Edward the Confessor.
    Your options: [ Earl Leofwine ] [ Earl Eilaf ] [ Earl Godwin ] [ Earl Eadric ]
  From Quiz: King Canute
38 What is the original Old Norse name for Norway?
Answer: Nordvegr

It is Nordvegr, or one can say Nordveg, depending on context. It means the "Road to the north" - "From Skiringsal to Hålogaland" as Ottar said it.
  From Quiz: Vikings History
39 The Vikings had a kind of navy. What was it called?
Answer: Leidang

In case of emergency, each region had a standing fleet of ships ready to counter the enemy. They were large longships with 25-30 rooms.
  From Quiz: The Viking Ships
40 Who was the only person to find Vinland and winter there?
Answer: Leif Ericson

Roland and Bjader are not real.
  From Quiz: Vikings
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