Sunday, May 8, 2011

Dane Lands




Just about the time that the Anglo-Saxons began writing down their history, a number of folks showed up wanting some of the land. Vikings they were called, these people from Denmark, Norway, and Sweden. Arriving around 875 AD they took over a large part of this island, mostly along the coast. The map to the left shows a rough distribution of these settlements down to the very heart of the land. Their language named a multiple of sites and villages which have been marked in green. The Anglo-Saxon continued to fight them right up to the time that the Frenchman William arrived in 1066. The map to the right shows the distribution of the name John as it is recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086. It was far from the most common used name, but the blue shows a wider distribution than the green. This would make me believe that it had to do with the establishment of Christianity among the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms, and not from anything the Danes language had to contribute. Please note that this was the spelling translated as "John".

A helpful reference is "A History of The Vikings", by Gwyn Jones, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1984. [another Jones!]

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