Viking Trade Towns: The Flourish and Demise

Viking trade towns

Back to the Viking trade towns, there were not any real towns. Rather, the Scandinavian landscape was full of farming and fishing villages. There the Viking farmers would work and live. Generations after generations.

As time progressed, the Vikings began to raid and trade around with their neighboring traders in Europe or Russia. It was during the 8th or 9th century that the Vikings started to bring fear into the enemies.

And it was also during this time that the Vikings started to build up trading centers where the Vikings and the international traders could come and bring goods to exchange.

Viking trade towns
Viking trade town where the Vikings and international traders would come and do business.

However, some traders of course felt insecure about the places. This motivated the Viking chieftains and kings to establish protection for the traders. This was not only for economic purpose but also for the political reason. But for the use of the land and protection, the traders must pay tax for the goods they brought to trade.

All of the famous Viking trading towns like Hedeby in Denmark, Birka in Sweden, and Kaupang in Norway began their glory in this way. Gradually, they became the important Viking trading towns.

Viking trade towns

Originally, the Vikings only dominated the towns in the warm seasons, late spring, summer, and early fall. Later, they became full-time trading towns where people lived all year round. Each of the town was in strategically important habors where the international traders could come easily.

Viking trade towns attracted many talented craftsmen. This once again made the towns became busier with trading activities. Excavations revealed that the Vikings left many pieces of silver and gold in the site.

Viking trade towns
Drawing of Viking Hedeby town

However, the glory of these Viking trade towns didn’t last long. The Vikings quickly abandoned these towns moving to another place. Because the towns gradually lost its strategical importance. The Vikings left the towns, they also left many artifacts there. This was why we often found Viking artifacts in these sites.

Leave a Reply