Sola Rey

Vikings in Morocco and Africans in early medieval Ireland & Britain?

This might explain why some Scandinavian genes are showing up in a few DNA test results of African descendants.

Sea expeditions of the Viking Age

Three burials from early medieval Britain that have been identified as those of African women on the basis of an examination of their skeletal remains. One of the burials in question was discovered in 2013 at Fairford, Gloucestershire, and has been described as being that of ‘a woman, aged between 18 and 24, from Sub-Saharan Africa’, with radiocarbon analysis indicating that she very probably died at some point between AD 896 and 1025.

#2 – Another was found in a Late Saxon cemetery at Norwich.

#3 – And the third and best known is that of a young African woman buried c. 1000 in the Late Saxon cemetery at North Elmham, Norfolk. This last is discussed in detail in Calvin Wells’ and Helen Cayton’s contribution to the East Anglian Archaeology report on North Elmham, published in 1980, and also in Helen Cayton’s 1977 PhD thesis, and whilst the identification was made from skeletal evidence alone (DNA analysis of the North Elmham woman’s bones was planned in 2009, but was never carried out due to the relocation of the researcher), it is said to ‘leave little doubt’ and be ‘incontestable’. Needless to say, if the identifications can indeed be relied upon, then these three burials are obviously of significant potential interest: although they were found in Britain, not Ireland, they do indicate that at least some people from Africa or of African descent were living and dying in rural and urban communities in the British Isles during the ‘Viking Age‘ (eighth to eleventh centuries). Even though it is impossible to know quite how these specific women ended up in Britain, slavery has frequently been cited as a potential mechanism, and their presence would certainly seem to suggest that the claim that North African people taken captive by the Vikings ended up in the British Isles could have had some basis in reality.

Amazing results of Vincent Banks ancestry

55% African & 42% European with an 18% of Scandinavian genes as the highest of his European ancestry.

-Thank you for sharing! This will help others & erase their feeling of isolation or confusion.


The anticipation, awaiting the package, was a killer. This was one of the most exciting surprise unwrapping ever, and it ain’t even Christmas!

The eleventh-century Fragmentary Annals of Ireland that tells of a Viking raid on Morocco in the 860s. This raid is said to have led to the taking of ‘a great host’ of North African captives by the Vikings, who then carried them back to Ireland, where they reportedly remained a distinct group—‘the black men’—for some considerable period of time after their arrival. The narrative in question runs as follows:

Then their arrogance and their youthfulness incited them to voyage across the Cantabrian Ocean (i.e. the sea that is between Ireland and Spain) and they reached Spain, and they did many evil things in Spain, both destroying and plundering. After that they proceeded across the Gaditanean Straits (i.e. the place where the Irish Sea [sic] goes into the surrounding ocean), so that they reached Africa, and they waged war against the Mauritanians, and made a great slaughter of the Mauritanians. However, as they were going to this battle, one of the sons said to the other, ‘Brother,’ he said, ‘we are very foolish and mad to be killing ourselves going from country to country throughout the world, and not to be defending our own patrimony, and doing the will of our father, for he is alone now, sad and discouraged in a land not his own, since the other son whom we left along with him has been slain, as has been revealed to me.’ It would seem that that was revealed to him in a dream vision; and his Ragnall’s other son was slain in battle; and moreover, the father himself barely escaped from that battle—which dream proved to be true.

While he was saying that, they saw the Mauritanian forces coming towards them, and when the son who spoke the above words saw that, he leaped suddenly into the battle, and attacked the king of the Mauritanians, and gave bim a blow with a great sword and cut off his hand. There was hard fighting on both sides in this battle, and neither of them won the victory from the other in that battle. But all returned to camp, after many among them had been slain. However, they challenged each other to come to battle the next day.

The king of the Mauritanians escaped from the camp and fled in the night after his hand had been cut off. When the morning came, the Norwegians seized their weapons and readied themselves firmly and bravely for the battle. The Mauritanians, however, when they noticed that their king had departed, fled after they had been terribly slain. Thereupon the Norwegians swept across the country, and they devastated and burned the whole land. Then they brought a great host of them captive with them to Ireland, i.e. those are the black men [literally ‘blue men’ but with the sense ‘black’, see further here]. For Mauri is the same as nigri; ‘Mauritania’ is the same as nigritudo. Hardly one in three of the Norwegians escaped, between those who were slain, and those who drowned in the Gaditanian Straits. Now those black men remained in Ireland for a long time. Mauritania is located across from the Balearic Islands. (J. N. Radner (ed. & trans.), Fragmentary Annals of Ireland (Dublin, 1978), FA 330, pp. 120–1)

Map Of Mauritania

In its time, the Viking longship was a unmatched work of naval technology. But what made the longship the Vikings most effective secret weapon? Find out in this episode of “Secrets of the Vikings.”

Thanks for sharing!

“”Secrets Of The Vikings”” is a six-part digital documentary series filmed on location in Scandinavia in which “”Vikings”” series creator Michael Hirst and leading archaeologists offer viewers a revealing look at Viking culture through artifacts and other discoveries.

A clip from ‘The Long Ships’ (1964), Starring Richard Widmark and Sidney Poitier, and the ‘Mare of Steel’ !!

Moorish ruler El Mansuh (Sidney Poitier) is determined to locate a massive bell made of gold known as the “Mother of Voices.” Viking explorer Rolfe (Richard Widmark) also becomes intent on finding the mythical treasure, and sails with his crew from Scandinavia to Africa to track it down. Reluctantly working together, El Mansuh and Rolfe, along with their men, embark on a quest for the prized object, but only one leader will be able to claim the bell as his own — if it even exists at all.

The suggestion that Vikings might have raided along the coast of North Africa and even perhaps captured and enslaved people from this region is supported, to some degree, by other historical and archaeological evidence. Of particular importance in this regard is the fact that medieval Muslim writers also refer to Vikings (Majūs) having raided along the North African coast in the mid-ninth century.

Dr. Caitlin Green has a great website/blog on European history and the forgotten or unknown diversity of other ethnicities in our past.

About Dr. Caitlin Green


I’m a historian and writer whose professional interests lie in the history, archaeology, place-names and literature of late Roman and early medieval Britain. Up until recently I was engaged in research at the University of Oxford and have written a number of books, articles and various other things over the years; I’m currently a tutor & lecturer at the University of Cambridge, Institute of Continuing Education. I’ve also appeared on local and national TV and radio, including BBC One’s The One Show, and have given lectures, talks and seminars on a range of historical topics to a wide variety of audiences, both academic and lay.

Although my main academic research foci and publications are dealt with elsewhere on this site and on my Cambridge and pages, this blog will feature posts on these and other topics that I’m currently working on, including drafts of papers, ideas and similar. These posts are usually identifiable by the presence of footnotes; you’re free to cite these drafts if they are of interest, and are reminded that academic blogs are indeed citable under most citation systems. In addition, the current site also houses posts relating to my personal interests, including landscape and coastal history, early literature and legends, and the history, archaeology, place-names and legends of Lincolnshire.

If you want to contact me, feel free to email me via caitlin at; I’m also on Twitter as @caitlinrgreen, which is probably by far the easiest method.

The information contained on this site is intended for educational purposes only.

“Copyright Disclaimer Under Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976, allowance is made for “fair use” for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Fair use is a use permitted by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing. Non-profit, educational or personal use tips the balance in favor of fair use.

Exit mobile version