- Isle of Man
- Faeroe Islands
- Finland / Aland Isl.
- British Isles
- Useful Links
- About the Author
Danish and Norwegian Vikings colonized the Orkney Islands, the
Shetland Islands and the Hebrides. They raided Wales, and occupied the Isle of
Man (located in the Irish Sea at the geographical center of the British Isles),
the latter serving as naval base for many of their raids over the next 300
hundred years. The Isle of Man not being part of the United Kingdom, it is
described separately. Read more in the Norway-section about
The Isle of Man.
On the Continent they attacked Rouen, Nantes and Paris in France, and the
townships in southern Germany along the River Rhine.
||The French word "Boulevard", originally built as
fire breaks and also serving as defense lines from invading tribes,
originates from Scandinavian languages; "bolwark" [bolværk]
being a quay and harbour protection from ocean waves created by the tide
and the frequent, harsh westerly storms.
Classic playwrights used it indirectly and humorously in sentences
like "Lord, protect us from the fierce Normans"!
Isle of Man 1978. Viking warrior (without horned helmet!)
Isle of Man 1979. Coat of arms depicting a stylized Viking
ship, compare with the Irish millennium coin immediately below.
they came to control the coastal regions of Ireland and the harbours of Limerick
and Cork, as well as their fortified naval base and trade station for slaves by
the River Liffey later developed into the city of Dublin. The Irish and the
Viking cultures are closely connected, but although the old perception of the
Vikings as hooligans and monastery raiders is still heard, there is also an
increasing attention to the Vikings' positive contributions to the general
development of Ireland.
The Vikings went forth to set foot in Ireland but at the time
this island was a myriad of belligerent Celtic chieftains and dozens of
different armies, so the Vikings were never really got foothold there.
am unaware of any Irish stamps on the Viking-subject. If visitors to this page
know of any such, please send me relevant info (stating year of issuance and/or
Scott-number), by using the email-address provided below.
Instead I have found a Millennium coin of 1 Punt from Eire,
showing on the head side an allegorical viking ship, and on the tail side a
- I suppose - some sort of musical instrument of Gaelic origin. The minting
year of the coin is not indicated except for the "Millennium"
designation, fitting fine into the total concept of a mixed Gaelic-Viking
culture of the period.
The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle refers generally to the raiding armies
as þa Deniscan [the Danes] while those
who settled in England were identified by their place of settlement, and writes for the year 865, that "a
huge pagan army landed in East Anglia and conquered the City of York, which they
called Jorvic. The Vikings dominated York for the next hundred years, transforming
it into an international trade center.
|| York being their base, the Vikings
conquered three of England's four kingdoms, and around the year 900 practically
half of England had become Viking-land. The area became known as Danelagen [old
Norse for Danish Law = jurisdiction], and was reigned by the Danish Viking Erik "Bloodaxe".
The Danish invaders were reputed for their ferocity, and Erik did not have his
nickname because he was good to children! He was dethroned in 954,
and was thus the last Viking-king in York. Without King Harold to oppose the bloodthirsty
Dane, possibly Christianity would not have survived in Great Britain.
Note about Lundy Stamps
Mr. Bob Harper (Great Britain) has notified me that the stamps, or more
properly 'carriage labels' issued by Lundy were not just valid for internal
postage within the island (it is only 3.5 miles long and half a mile wide and
99.9% of the residents live in the sole village). They were introduced in 1929
to pay for the cost of handling and shipping the mail to the UK mainland (a
ship ride of about 2 hours these days). and until the 1980's were also fixed
to incoming mail.
Interestingly, apart from a period from 1954 until
about 1961 they were issued only for this purpose. The 7 years
mentioned are called the 'Wallpaper period' by Lundy collectors and
occurred because the island 'outsourced' its stamp production to an
agent named Anton Medaware who produced a vast surplus which were
aimed at collectors. The Viking stamp is part of this.
In York the Vikings became urbanized, built streets,
minted silver coins, and started a mass production of basic goods
for sustaining life -- such as combs carved from stag antlers, and
leather footwear. Even today many of the street names still carry
their names of Danish origin, such as Petergate, Marygate, etc. The presence of the Vikings is still commemorated
by the Channel Islands Guernsey and Jersey.
||After Erik's death the area was invaded by new Vikings
who fiercely collected "protection fees" from the new -- and
weak -- English rulers, and controlled English sovereignty for another
decade. By 1066 the half-Danish Viking Erik Godwinsson was crowned King
of England, only to face two enemies, the brutal Norwegian Harald
III Sigurdsson, and William the Conqueror from Normandy in France, who
both attacked England with a few days interval.
- Great Britain Regional Issues for Guernsey 1958. Queen Elizabeth II
looking serenely alongside the Crown of William the Conqueror. The
emblem is the Guernsey lily (Nerine Sarniensis).
These attacks were decisive for history. Harald III,
also known as "Harald Hardrada [The Harsh]" was defeated and killed in
the Battle of Stamford Bridge near York. Having defeated the Norwegians
at Stamford Bridge, the English army quickly had to confront the Norman
Vikings, who had crossed the English Channel at Hastings. The Battle of
Hastings is known to be one of the bloodiest ever in English history,
and now considered to be the last act of the Vikings' appearance in
England. It has been immortalized through the world famous Bayeux
Jersey 1982. Bayeux Tapestries telling the story of
the Viking William the Conqueror and, to some extent, also the
Battle of Hastings. Note that Queen Mathilda, appearing in the
lighthouse on the 5th
stamp, is also honoured by a French stamp "Tapisserie de la
Reine Mathilde, Bayeux", Scott #887.
A similar set
was issued by Great Britain in 1966, celebrating the 9th anniversary
of the battle. The
complete British set of stamps can be seen here. Also a few
French stamps of the Bayeux Tapestries are released (Scott #2054,
and #2412-2413). See also the Danish
stamp from 1970 top left on the Danish page.
are two slogan postmarks, which both refer to The Battle of Hastings in
1066 and the "second-hand" Viking - William the Bastard, Duke of
Normandy, and his invasion of England where he defeated Harold, completely
exhausted after just defeating Harald Hardrada's mainly Viking army at Stamford
Bridge, and then having to force march his army to the South of England to face
William. Both scans contributed by Rodney Cork (Australia).
Slogan postmark from Hastings in Sussex, Aug, 1, 1963.
Slogan postmark from Hastings in Sussex, saying
"Hastings - Popular with Visitors since 1066". The date is
illegible, but appears to be from the 1960s.
|William the Conqueror and the Battle of Hastings is shown on
this stamp which belongs to the above mentioned Great Britain-set of eight
from the Bayeux Tapestries.
- Great Britain 1966. William the Conqueror defeating Harold.
The Danish influence
in England must have been
legendary. Personally I remember one delightful occasion when
"raiding" a stamp shop in Yorkshire some years ago. When the shopkeeper
was from Denmark he stared at me, seemingly horrified, and exclaimed:
"Oooh no, not another a Dane!". But, after all, when I had
paid my purchase he saw me to the door, shook hands and added, somewhat
more kindly "Nahh, never mind -- welcome back another time"
Top of page