The various conquests of the Viking expansion.
The medieval Scandinavians left an impact not just on Greenland and Iceland, but on France, England, Russia, and even briefly North America. But how did Scandinavian society begin, and what incited its voyage across the seas?
Rollo the Walker led the Great Heathen Army and had his sights set on sacking Paris, in a time when relations between the Vikings and the Franks had become, essentially, getting paid to raid. Eventually his sights would turn to stability--and he became the founder of Normandy.
When Thorgest arrived on the coasts of Ireland with over a hundred long ships, he was ready to raid--and to establish cities like Dublin and many others that shaped the religion and culture of Ireland, much to the population's excitement.
The Rus Vikings headed further inland into eastern Europe, raiding Constantinople (unsuccessfully) at first, and then eventually falling into negotiations with the Byzantines and changing their own culture over time. One of their most famous descending rulers was Olga of Kiev, who was also the grandmother of Vladimir.
The Scandinavians stumbled on Iceland, at first on accident--then, gradually exploring it--and finally intentionally migrating there because despite the clash of glaciers and volcanoes, Iceland was full of uninhabited empty land--perfect for settlers and saga-writers.
From Greenland, explorers like Bjarni, Freydis, and Leif Erikson--aka "Leif the Lucky"--ventured into Vinland, the very first bit of North America sighted by Europeans. It was rich in natural resources, including the grapes (and thus wine) for which it received its title, but this set of expeditions would be very, very short-lived...