The Viking Age is the Scandinavian Iron Age last period, from the late 700's to about 1100 AD
The term is primarily used in the description of the Nordic region's prehistory, but also in British and Irish history. The period is counted in other parts of Europe either likewise as part of the Iron Age or as part of the early Middle Ages.
The word Viking means "fjord (or bay) people". There are different theories to how they got their name - either because it all started with people from "Viken" ("the bay" - marked with a red circle in the map to the right), or because the Vikings in their speedy longships would hide in a fjord (vik) and then launch surprise attacks on passing ships. Strictly speaking, only the people who went on raids were called Vikings. They were probably part time farmers, but there was a large population of regular farmers too. Going on raids was practical only to those who lived close to the sea.
In the territory which today is Sweden at viking Age , lived about 100 000 people, maybe even less. (Before Gustav Vasa's reign (1523-1560) we had no information about population)
The average Viking lived about 30-35 years. There were certainly those who were both 70 and 80 years old, but it was rare.
Vikings spoke a kind of Nordic, reminiscent of the Icelandic language as it is now.