The Vikings were what the people of Scandinavia were known as a long time ago. Sweden was not like it is now at the time...many different kingdoms existed. It wasn't until much later (the 11th and 12th century) that Sweden was finally consolidated into one country. Boundaries were still in question though and the Vikings of Sweden (led by the King) were at war with different nations/kingdoms. In the early 1600's the King of Sweden was Gustavus Aldophus. King Aldophus was at war with his cousin, the King of Poland, and ordered the Viking warship Vasa to be built. Vasa was to be a magnificent ship and the king invited people from all over Sweden to Stockholm to watch Vasa set sail to Poland. With the whole kingdom watching, Vasa (filled with Viking warriors) set sail....and sank 12 minutes later right in the harbour. Unfortunately even though the Vikings were tough, most of them did not know how to swim so many of them drowned. The ship was found in the 1960's and now rests in a museum where you can see the actual boat that tried to set sail many many years ago. Vikings in general were known to be tough warmen who pillaged and plundered their way through life. The Vikings of Sweden were not this way though. They were not as mean as the rest (at least that is what they tell you when they go to Sweden!) One last note about the Vikings: most people, including the Minnesota Viking football fans, wear hats with horns to be Vikings. This is not historically accurate. Horns would have made them very easy targets in battle to grab onto and slit their throat. Instead they wore hats they made them look more like a gnome!
P.S. My brother Russell is the Viking expert of the family, so be sure to tell me if I am forgetting anything terribly important Russell.
P.P.S. I wore my SAINTS shirt when we went on the Viking tour so everyone would be clear as to where my loyalties lie.