In my timeline fleet of Viking ships reached South Africa in 10th century, and settled there. They defeated indigenous tribes and created a Viking kingdom. They also stopped the Bantu expansion in the 12th century, but they are unable to go further North due to their low tolerance of high heat and tropical parasites.


The Vikings were cut off from Europe since their arrival, but there is some trade with Arab, Indian and Chinese merchants similarly to Mapungubwe

What kind of technology should they have when the Portuguese arrive in 1488?

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    $\begingroup$ I love how you have to provide a map of where South Africa is! a surprising number of ppl don't know where it is :) FYI, South Africa is pretty darn hot too! a lot hotter than Sweden and Scandinavia. The coldest areas are the Cape area and the higher altitude interior. The rest of the coast is pretty hot and VERY humid. Also, after 400 years, I think some of your Vikings descendants will have no memory of their cold homeland, so after a generation or two, it will be more cultural tradition that keeps them from expanding north rather than physical intolerance to heat,same goes for the diseases. $\endgroup$ Oct 30, 2016 at 21:38

2 Answers 2


Start with Viking technology and add whatever works best for your story from Arab, Indian & Chinese merchants of that period.

They could have firearms if you want, they were introduced to Middle East

Metallurgy should be quite developed Vikings had good blacksmiths & South Africa is rich in ore & coal.


The Vikings were avid seamen - how do you propose stopping them from interacting with Europe by sea?

During this time, though, the real technological advances were happening in Byzantium and the Arab nations in the Middle East - which are much easier to reach from South Africa than Europe is anyway.

Therefore, if your Vikings are motivated to do so, they can acquire Greek fire, incendiary grenades, and flamethrowers from the Byzantines, and disinfectants, surgery, lens-making, windmills, torpedos, algebra and cryptography from the Arabs. (Not to mention coffee.) And, of course, carbon steel, ink, buttons, the cotton gin, sugar cane, and the decimal numbering system from India.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Byzantine_inventions https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_inventions_in_the_medieval_Islamic_world https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Indian_inventions_and_discoveries

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    $\begingroup$ There be few of them in the beginning and they won't risk it. $\endgroup$
    – Raider
    Nov 13, 2016 at 20:38

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