Friday, March 22, 2013

My Current Ancestral Interest

  My ancestral history is so broad.  On my dad's side, I have loads of German heritage, a teensy bit of Scottish added in (Collins); on my mom's side I have everything else in Northwestern Europe: England, maybe Ireland, Sweden, Denmark, Holland (The Netherlands).  The one area I've really been focusing on learning more about in the past year is the Scandinavian side of me: the parts from Sweden and Denmark (and maybe Norway since they all blended together at some point).  Here is what I've been learning about early Scandinavian history and culture!

The Nordic Countries
The difference between Scandinavia and the Nordic Countries:
Simple.  Scandinavia is the English word that refers to three countries: Norway, Sweden, and Denmark.  The Nordic Countries include Scandinavia as well as Iceland, Greenland, Finland, and the Faeroe Islands.

Something that I've always doubted is that any of my ancestors could be Vikings.  However, what I've been learning is that ALL of Scandinavia began in Viking tribes.  Who were the Vikings? They weren't all entirely brutal like we've always heard in history class.  They were actually a civil people that followed a sort of democratic type government.  While there were certain jobs of genders, the genders were all seen as equal.  Women could actually go to war, join on voyages, and still the rule was every man for himself.  The nuclear family was very strong.

Leif Erikson
Although we all know Christopher Columbus was not the first one to discover the North American continent since we know now that it was actually the Spaniards who first started developing the bottom of what is now Mexico and the United States.  However, in the year 1004 AD, Leif Erikson found land in North America in a place where is to be believed Newfoundland.  Who was he? He was the same guy who discovered Greenland and he was a native of Norway! He was a Viking!

You see, Vikings, while they did pillage and rape, that's not even a fifth of what they did.  Vikings held government much like what we hold here in the United States.  They were expert hunters and farmers, and they were master shipbuilders.  Many of their ship designs are still seen as some of the most influential structures and designs that led to our own way of ship-building today.  They were strong family-focused people, and before God came to their hearts, they were very loyal to their Norse gods.  They were known as Vikings mostly because of their quest to find and discover new parts of the world.  It's interesting to hear about all of the voyages that revealed to the rest of Europe where land existed! (No wonder I like traveling so much!)

As I learn more about this segment of my ancestry, I'll let the world know the knowledge I'm attaining!  If you are at all interested, there's a series on the History Channel (I'm sure you could watch it online) called Vikings, and it's about a few real people (Ragnar, Rollo, Canute, others) who may have all come from different times, but all these historical Nordic figures played huge parts in the development of the western Anglo-Saxon world.  The story line itself may or may not hold some truth, but it's so fascinating to see the history given through the real people of history - and my people who were real as well!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Leave some love?