The Vikings, known for their seafaring skills and exploration of new territories, had a significant impact on Europe during the Middle Ages. While most people associate the Vikings with countries like Norway, Denmark, and Sweden, Finland also has a connection to Viking history. In this article, we’ll explore the Viking influence in Finland and its connection to Finnish history.
The Viking Influence in Finland
The Viking Age is generally considered to have begun in the late 8th century and lasted until the mid-11th century. During this time, the Vikings explored and colonized many areas of Europe, including parts of Finland. The Vikings who settled in Finland were known as the Varangians, and they established trade routes between Russia and Scandinavia.
One of the most significant Viking settlements in Finland was in the city of Turku, which was then known as Åbo. The Varangians established a trade center in Åbo, and the city became an important hub for trade between the Vikings, the Rus’ people of Russia, and the Finns. The Varangians also had an influence on the Finnish language, as they introduced words such as “maija” (maiden) and “herra” (lord) into the Finnish vocabulary.
The Connection to Finnish History
The Viking influence in Finland played a role in shaping Finnish history. One example is the Finnish-Swedish wars that occurred in the 13th and 14th centuries. During these conflicts, the Swedish king attempted to gain control of Finland, which was then under the rule of the Novgorod Republic. The Varangians, who had settled in Finland centuries before, played a role in these wars as they fought on the side of the Novgorod Republic against the Swedes.
Another example of the Viking influence in Finnish history is the use of runic inscriptions. The Vikings used runes to write in their language, and these inscriptions have been found in various parts of Finland. Runic inscriptions have provided valuable insights into Viking culture and history, and they have helped historians better understand the Vikings’ role in Finland.
While the Vikings are often associated with Norway, Denmark, and Sweden, they also had a significant impact on Finland. The Varangians who settled in Finland introduced new words into the Finnish language, established trade routes, and played a role in Finnish history. The Viking influence can still be seen today in Finland’s language, culture, and history, making it an important part of the country’s heritage.