I want to explain large Viking kingdom that keeps the worship of the Norse Gods (Odin, Thor, Loki) not the Christian nonsense of the Normans.

So I was thinking of bringing a Viking fleet to South Africa where they would be far away from disgusting missionaries and fight cool enemies such as Zulu or whatever tribes are there. The climate won't be so hot so they won't be at huge disadvantage against the locals.

I know that Vikings were excellent seaman, but I'm afraid if such trip isn't too far away for their ships.

On the one hand technology is the most advanced in the later centuries, on the other hand Scandinavia becomes Christian at the 12th century which sucks.

How to bring enough Vikings in South Africa together with their women (or at least some of them)?

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    $\begingroup$ put gold, fertile land, and people there. vikings will come. $\endgroup$ – tuskiomi Oct 26 '16 at 18:55
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    $\begingroup$ You need a bigger longship. $\endgroup$ – Thomas Jacobs Oct 26 '16 at 19:35
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    $\begingroup$ Why are you not putting them in North America instead? They did get there for real (Labrador, maybe as far as Long Island). They just didn't stick around, possibly due to a prolonged period of extremely cold winters (Little Ice-Age) and lack of support from Greenland and Iceland. If they had only gotten a little further south to better climate our world could have looked quite different today. $\endgroup$ – Tonny Oct 27 '16 at 9:46
  • $\begingroup$ @Tonny I want them somewhere as far as way from Christians as possible. And I want the world to be similar so I don't have to create histories for other countries. $\endgroup$ – Raider Oct 29 '16 at 14:41
  • $\begingroup$ @Raider.. I understand your reasoning, but Christian travelers (followed by the inevitable missionaries) reached North America and South Africa around the same time. (Columbus 1492 to the Carribean. Bartholomeu Dias got to the Cape in 1488). Doesn't make much difference I think. $\endgroup$ – Tonny Oct 29 '16 at 14:51

Viking longships were not very suitable for long voyages. Their cargo ships, used for trading, called Knarr could make long voyages, but they usually went along coasts rather than striking out into unknown oceans.

It's important to realise that raiding was a secondary activity: they'd raid somewhere if there was known to be good plunder that they could not get by trade. A raid involved collecting a lot of men, and convincing them the loot was worth the risk, and the loss of income from their normal work as traders, craftsmen or farmers.

So if they got to South Africa, they'd do it by coastal trading, possibly establishing bases along the way, if there was enough trade to make it worthwhile. And the problem with doing that down the coast of Africa is the tropical diseases you catch when you put into port. Scandinavians would have no resistance to them, and would die like flies. This will tend to put them off exploring further, because they're doing it as individual entrepreneurs, rather than because a king is saying "this must be done" and ignoring the casualties.

The only way to get them to do it is some wonderful land or treasure, there pretty much for the taking. This is difficult for you to achieve plausibly: they don't have a strong technological advantage over the inhabitants of South Africa.

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    $\begingroup$ If their Knarr could make the voyage, perhaps a call from the Norse gods could persuade them to undertake the voyage? Its very important for me to lose contact with Europe & Christianity for centuries so trading outposts are out of question. $\endgroup$ – Raider Oct 26 '16 at 19:32
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    $\begingroup$ You can always have the trading outposts fall to fighting with the locals, disease, not knowing how to farm sorghum etc after the migration has been 'completed'. Then your southern Africa settlement can be isolated from the homeland for centuries. $\endgroup$ – EveryBitHelps Oct 26 '16 at 20:01

I was going to leave this as a comment but wanted explain a bit more.

The Zulu's and other 'bantu' speaking Africans spread from the Nigeria Basin area to the south of Africa a lot later than what you are wanting.

enter image description here image from websearch on bantu migration This migration pattern is based off linguistic studies of the South African Bantu Languages. yellow - before 3000BC to 500BC, orange - 500BC to 400AD and red - 400AD to 1100AD.

As you can see, the Bantu people only made it down to the southern reaches of Southern Africa after 1000AD, pushing other people and clans before them. The Zulu's would be found just above the 30degree South Line in circa 1709AD and the strong Zulu Kingdom of Shaka Zulu would only be formed in 1818AD.

There is the Kingdom of 'Mapungubwe' and Great Zimbabwe' at the Limpopo River, at about the 12th Century timeline. Their civilisation fell though, to drought and bad omens a few decades later.

If you are wanting Vikings to travel to South Africa before this 12 Century marker, they would actually encounter the hunter-gathers and other smaller tribes that were being pushed south by the Bantu expansion.

You could have the Vikings do this, create an established settlement and society and then have the Bantu Migration hit them from the North. Instead of melting away like the other tribes did in this timeline, you could have the Vikings halt the Bantu migration or at least hinder it. This would either prevent the rise of the Zulu Kingdom, or possibly allow it to rise earlier with different leaders. One thing is for sure, if there are Vikings in 1200AD...Shaka Zulu type leaders would be needed a lot earlier than 1818!

Also something else to note, The Chinese and other Indian and Asian traders made it to Mapungubwe (or at least the Maputo area, in Mozambique). There is evidence of glass beads and pottery etc. The Swahili language was created as a trade language (though I'm not sure if Chinese influenced it). You could have your Vikings have some interaction with the powerful Chinese Empire before they withdrew into isolation. Maybe even prevent them from withdrawing into isolation.


Consider how the vikings got to Constantinople. Say that a similar mechanism took them a bit farther east, to Baghdad instead of Constantinople. Of course there may be problems if they are not "people of the book" as Islam defines it, but some trade-focussed rulers might help to overcome that for a generation or two.

From there, they travel to Zanzibar as bodyguards of some traders. Some headstrong young men resign that position and strike out farther south.


If you would use some for of natural disaster like a storm you could make them reach further into new territory then they otherwise would do by themselfes and also unable to return. Having a storm push them all the way to South Afrika sounds unlikely, so maybe they somehow get to North Afrika and the storm pushes them south from there or they get pushed to north Afrika and sail down as they think its the way home/a more suitable settling space (colder).


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