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A.D. 795 to 1260
Viking Raiders
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Beginning to A.D. 350
A.D. 350 to 794
A.D. 1260 to
The Viking Invasion of Scotland

Viking warriors from Scandinavia began to attack the coasts of western Europe towards the end of the eighth century. Spurred on by the mixed dynamics of land hunger and political rivalry, they became one of the most feared of the early "tourists" to the country, which was to become Scotland.

The Christian writers of the time, wrote enthusiastically of their horror at the raids by the Pagan Vikings upon religious sites (which would commonly store gold and other valuables) and homes and villages. The raiders were mobile, using highly manoeuvrable lightweight sailing ships, which could also be rowed and once on land they spared no-one.

They caught the armies/tribes of the Christian kingdoms unprepared, lacking the organisation and the abilities to deal with them effectively. In A.D. 795 they systematically plundered areas from Skye to Iona. By A.D. 807 the situation was so bad that the Island of Iona was undefendable and the Abbey was transferred to Kells in Ireland.

Some of this did have a positive impact upon the country and it would be unfair to think of the Norsemen as mere killing machines. Some settled in Scotland and in the Scottish islands, where their characteristic place-names survive on modern maps. In some ways they also hastened evolution of the country into Scotland from its origin of Pictland.

In A.D. 839 Eoganan, King of the Picts, was killed fighting the Norsemen. In the same year, Kenneth became King of the Scots and by A.D. 844 he had organised a massacre of Pictish Chiefs to become Pictish King also. This prompted a fundamental change in the governance of the country. From this point on any King of the Scots also ruled the Picts. Although the Pictish Kingdom was far larger than that of the Scots in many ways it was becoming obsolete and by the end of the first millennium the whole country would be Scotland.

Pictures of Castles