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Viking, also called Norseman or Northman, Scandinavian seafaring warrior, who from the late 8th to the late 11th centuries raided and colonized parts of Europe. The Vikings had a profound impact on the early medieval history of Scandinavia, the British Isles, France, Estonia, and Kievan Rus'.
In A.D. 793, an attack on the Lindisfarne monastery in northeastern England marked the beginning of the Viking Age. For several decades, the Vikings confined themselves to hit-and-run raids against the British Isles, Ireland, Iceland, Greenland, Normandy and the Baltic coast. The mid-10th-century reign of Harald Bluetooth as a king marked the beginning of a second Viking age. However, the defeat of Harald III Sigurdsson, at the Battle of Stamford Bridge in 1066 is considered the end of the age of Viking raids.
The Vikings spoke Old Norse and followed the Old Norse religion, but later they became Christians. The Vikings had their own laws, art and architecture.
Viking society was organized into three classes: karls, who were freemen and landowners; jarls, who were wealthy nobles tasked with maintaining the well being of their subjects; slaves, also known as thralls were at the bottom of Norse society.