Viking Geography and Climate
Vikings are unique in their own sense. History today would not have been the same had it not been for these extraordinary people. The Vikings inhabited a land that is known as modern-day Denmark, Sweden, Finland, and Norway (together make up the region of Scandinavia). The Vikings were also known for their expansion into the Eastern European region, Iceland, Northeast Americas, and Southern Europe. What makes these people so interesting however is how a culture and society rose to such great power and domination over other lands and why the geography and climate of Scandinavia played into that historical decision.
To first understand who the Vikings were, one must first look at the geography from which they originated. This example shows how the Scandinavian region shaped the day-to-day lives of Vikings. According to the journal article “The Viking Age Landscape” written by B. Berglund and J. Callmer, “The villages’ arable and grazing land thus constituted large, continuous stretches of almost totally open landscape. There is virtually no evidence of any trees growing in this cultural landscape, but there was woodland further away from the farms….The population of the area had excellent chances to develop a system of regional exchange. The hummocky landscape and the plain provide natural bases for different forms of specialization”(Berglund, Callmer 1991). The geography of the Scandinavian region where the Vikings originated from was very open and was populated in and around farmland where almost all Viking day-to-day activities involved. Because of this geography, diversification of activities was established and allowed new innovations and ideas to emerge and spread faster than without an open concept.
Now that the geography of the Vikings is established, it is also important to consider the climate in which these new territories evolved. This example shows how the climate affected the movement and lives of the Vikings during the Viking Age in Scandinavia. According to the journal article “Remnants of Viking Age Tundra in Spitsbergen and Northern Scandinavia” written by S. Baranowski and W. Karlen, “The warming of the west European climate between 800 and 1200 A.D. has been well documented. This period, which has been called the secondary climatic optimum, was characterized by the development of vineyards in England and expansion of the Vikings to Iceland and Greenland”(Baranowski, Karlen 1976). This climate change temperature increase was a driving force in what made the Vikings decide to expand and find new territory to settle and farm and is also a great glimpse into how much the climate in the Scandinavian region affected the lives of the Vikings. Had it not been for this climate change then the only Vikings known in the U.S. today would be the Minnesota Vikings (NFL football team).
Vikings rose to power and expanded to other lands because the geography and climate from which they originated forced them to. Had it not been for the climate change and increase in temperature during the Viking Age, the Vikings may have never made an impact on culture and society today. Farming was a major element in their day-to-day lifestyle and when the region became troublesome to Scandinavian farmers they set their sights on more prosperous soils to plant their crops into. After the Vikings expanded, however, the geography and climate changed for them because they had established new settlements and territories that produced more than just farmland but also included numerous amounts of wealth beyond any accumulation the world had ever seen from one group of people. Due to this expansion, the Vikings were able to plant not only their crops but also their culture and society which shaped a lot of what modern-day people have grown accustomed to. The geography and climate of the Scandinavian region was very important during the Viking Age and the great expansion of Viking culture and society across the world. This bears a remarkable resemblance to the modern-day climate change annual temperature increases that the world is facing today. Maybe the modern world should look at what the Vikings did to solve their climate change issue and look beyond what they know and make history by moving away from Earth and moving into the future.
 B. Berglund & J. Callmer, “The Viking Age Landscape”. Ecological Bulletins, (41)(1991): 82-86. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/20113066.
 S. Baranowski & W. Karlén, “Remnants of Viking Age Tundra in Spitsbergen and Northern Scandinavia”. Geografiska Annaler. Series A, Physical Geography, 58(1/2)(1976): 35-40. doi:10.2307/520741.