by Norman Descendants August 15, 2017


After raiding with full force for many years Rollo's Vikings were allowed to settle in Normandy. They allowed many other Vikings to settle the area as well and later used it as a launch point to raid other coastal areas. This proved to be valuable for the Franks as it stopped the raids deep in their territory. As time went by the Vikings that settled the area became known as Norman 'men of the north'. The land would then become known as Normandy. The Normans later adopted the local culture, language, and Christian identity, but never forgetting their Viking roots.

996-1259 Normandy's historical borders in the northwest of modern-day France and the Channel Islands. Image: wikimedia

In 892, the majority of Vikings that lived along the Seine crossed the English channel in full raiding force. Many stayed behind to settle and cultivate the land that was given to them for peace by King Charles the Simple. In 911, Rollo and his Vikings were defeated at the battle of Chartres. Fortunately, for Rollo, the defeat at Chartres wasn't all in vain as it led him to become the ruler of Normandy with the given title of "duke". In doing so Rollo kept other Vikings from sailing down the Seine to attack the Frankish Kingdom. Despite future border troubles, this agreement was a great success. The Vikings benefited with given land and the kingdom of King Charles the Simple was kept relatively safe. The Viking threat permanently ended.

Statue of Rollo, founder of the fiefdom of Normandy, standing in Falaise, Calvados, birthplace of his descendant William the Conqueror, the Duke of Normandy who became King of England. Image: wikimedia

In 924, Rollo was granted many more lands around Bayeux. Rollo's successor William Longsword was able to take Cotentin peninsula in 933 but any future expansions to the east were swiftly defeated.

Normandy from Normannia, or "Northman's Land" owes it's name to the Vikings. Evidence of place names points to heavy Scandinavian mostly of Danish settlements in coastal areas. This would later make sense as we learn more about Rollo. Evidence places Rollo and his Vikings as being from Denmark.

In 942 new arrivals of Scandinavia started a Pagan revival but by this stage, earlier settlers have already adopted the Christian religion making it difficult for Paganism to thrive in greater numbers. Scandinavian speech survived until the early 11th century. The last cultural influence was a Norwegian poet in 1025 for the ducal court.

Bayeux Tapestry scenes 16 and 17: William and Harold at Mont Saint-Michel (at top center); Harold rescuing knights from quicksand. Image: wikimedia


Norman Descendants
Norman Descendants

Normans were the people who gave their name to Normandy, a region in northern France. They were descended from Viking conquerors lead by Rollo of the territory and the native Merovingian culture formed from Germanic Franks and Romanised Gauls. Their identity emerged initially in the first half of the 10th century, and gradually evolved over succeeding centuries.