BUSINESS

Trade during the Viking Age

While the Vikings are perhaps best known for accumulating wealth through plunder, tribute, and conquest, they were also successful traders.

Image above: A painting shows a Viking selling a slave girl to a Persian merchant. By: Tom Lovell

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The Vikings developed several trading centres and long-distance trade routes during the Viking Age (c. 8th Century AD to 11th Century AD). The Vikings also established a "bullion economy" in which weighed silver, and to a lesser extent gold, was used as a means of exchange.


Trade routes

The Vikings had a very vast, expansive, and planned out trade network. Trade took place on a gold level and over short distances. The majority of trade was conducted among the several ports that lined the Scandinavian coasts.The Vikings also engaged in trade with merchants throughout Europe, Asia and the Far East The Volga and Dnieper Trade Routes were the two main trade routes that connected Northern Europe with Constantinople, Jerusalem, Baghdad, and the Caspian Sea. Several trade routes also ran through central Europe that connected Scandinavia with the Mediterranean. The Vikings are also believed to have sent merchants as far west as Greenland.


At the beginning of the Viking Age, the first proper trading towns developed in Scandinavia. These appeared in central locations along Scandinavia’s coasts near natural harbors or fjords. Trading centers varied in size, character, and significance. Only a select few developed into international trading posts. Every town was ruled by a king who imposed taxes on imported and exported goods in exchange for military protection of the town’s citizens.


Trading towns

The largest trading centers during the Viking Age were Ribe (Denmark), Kaupang (Norway), Hedeby (Denmark), and Birka (Sweden).


Hedeby was the largest and most important trading center. Located along the southern border of Denmark in the inner part of the Schlei Fjord, Hedeby controlled both the north/south trade routes (between Europe and Scandinavia) and the east/west routes (between the Baltic and the North Seas).At its peak, Hedeby’s population was around 1000 people.


Ribe, located on the West coast of Denmark, was established in the early 8th century as the eastern end of a trading and monetary network that stretched around the North Sea.[8]


There were also several Viking trading centers located along several rivers in modern-day Russia including Gorodische, Gnezdovo, Cherigov, Novgorod, and Kiev. These towns became major trade destinations on the trading route from the Baltic Sea to Central Asia


Goods


Imports

Silver, silk, spices, weapons, wine, glassware, quern stones (for grinding grain), fine textiles, pottery, slaves, both precious and non-precious weapons.


Exports

Honey, tin, wheat, wool, various types of fur and hides, feathers, falcons, whalebone, walrus ivory, reindeer antler, and amber.


Slaves and furs were the most important trade items. The Vikings bought and sold slaves throughout their trade network. Viking slaves were known as thralls. The majority of imported slaves came from the Islamic world.


Most of the trade during the Viking Age took place at the local level primarily involving agriculture products such as vegetables, grains, and cereals. Domestic animals were also traded among local peoples. These items were brought into town by farmers and traded for basic necessities, such as tools and clothes, and luxury items, such as glassware and jewelry




Source: Wikipedia


Referneces:


"Towns and Trading in the Viking Age". Hurstwic.

"Trade in the Viking Period". The National Museum of Denmark.

Williams, Gareth (2014). Vikings: Life and Legend. London: British Museum.

"Towns and Trading in the Viking Age". Hurstwic.

Williams, Gareth (2014). Vikings: Life and Legend. London: British Museum.

"Trade in the Viking period". The National Museum of Denmark.

"Towns and Trading in the Viking Age". Hurstwic.

Williams, Gareth (2014). Vikings: Life and Legend. London: British Museum.

Vikings: Life and Legend. London: British Museum. 2014.

Williams, Gareth (2007). Vikings: Life and Legend. London: British Museum.

"Imports in the Viking Age". The National Museum of Denmark.

"Towns and Trading in the Viking Age". Hurstwic.

Graham-Campbell, James (2007). Silver Economy in the Viking Age. Walnut Creek, CA: Left Coast.

"Towns and Trading in the Viking Age". Hurstwic.

"Vikings as Traders". SWIRK.

Williams, Gareth (2014). Vikings: Life and Legend. London: British Museum.

Ashby, Steven P.; Coutu, Ashley N.; Sindbæk, Søren M. (April 2015). "Urban Networks and Arctic Outlands: Craft Specialists and Reindeer Antler in Viking Towns". European Journal of Archaeology. 18 (4): 679–704. doi:10.1179/1461957115Y.0000000003.

"Imports in the Viking Age". The National Museum of Denmark.

Williams, Gareth (2014). Vikings: Life and Legend. London: British Museum.

"Trade in the Viking Period". The National Museum of Denmark.

Williams, Gareth. "Viking Money". BBC.

Graham-Campbell, James (2007). Silver Economy in the Viking Age. Walnut Creek, CA: Left Coast.

Williams, Gareth (2014). Vikings: Life and Legend. London: British Museum.

Williams, Gareth (2007). Vikings: Life and Legend. London: British Museum.

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Williams, Gareth (2007). Vikings: Life and Legend. London: British Museum.

"Towns and Trading in the Viking Age". Hurstwic.

Williams, Gareth. "Viking Money". BBC.

"Vikings Scales and Weights". Teaching History.org. The British Museum.

Gareth, Williams (2007). Vikings: Life and Legend. London: British Museum.

Williams, Gareth. "Viking Money". BBC.

"Vikings Scales and Weights". Teaching History.org. The British Museum.

Graham-Campbell, James, and Gareth Williams. Silver Economy in the Viking Age. Walnut Creek, CA: Left Coast, 2007.

"Imports in the Viking Age." The National Museum of Denmark. <http://natmus.dk/en/historical-knowledge/denmark/prehistoric-period-until-1050-ad/the-viking-age/expeditions-and-raids/imports/>

Short, William R. "Hurstwic: Towns and Trading in the Viking Age." Hurstwic.<http://www.hurstwic.org/history/articles/daily_living/text/Towns.htm>.

"Trade in the Viking Period." The National Museum of Denmark. <http://natmus.dk/en/historical-knowledge/denmark/prehistoric-period-until-1050-ad/the-viking-age/expeditions-and-raids/trade-in-the-viking-period/>.

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Williams, Gareth, Peter Pentz, Matthias Wemhoff, and Sunhild Kleingärtner. Vikings: Life and Legend. London: British Museum, 2014.

Williams, Gareth. "Viking Money." BBC News. BBC, Feb. 2011. <http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/ancient/vikings/money_01.shtml>.

"Vikings as Traders." SWIRK. N.p., n.d. Web. <http://www.skwirk.com/p-c_s-56_u-473_t-1287_c-4945/SA/7/Vikings-as-traders/The-Viking-society/The-Vikings/SOSE-History/>

"Viking Scales and Weights." Teaching History with 100 Objects. The British Museum. <http://teachinghistory100.org/objects/about_the_object/viking_scales_and_weights>.


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