What drove some Vikings to leave their homeland?

Setting sail from Scandinavia

It was their magnificent longships that enabled the Vikings to set sail from their Scandinavian homelands in search of treasures and adventure.

The development of the square sail at the start of the Viking era meant that the Scandinavians were no longer restricted to sailing along shorelines – for the first time they could move out into the open seas and travel thousands of miles to the British Isles and beyond.

Their ships were big enough to accommodate up to 120 men and could hold cargo, livestock and food to survive the long journey. The crew and passengers on these longships were mainly young Viking males - but what factors drove them to board these ships and leave their families and homelands for the unknown?

Find out more about the reasons why people left Scandinavia during the Viking era.