The Vikings were the international tradesmen of their time. In Constantinople (Istanbul) they traded silk and spices for slaves that they had brought from Russia. Amber they found in the Baltic area. From the north and Greenland in the west, they brought furs, skins and walrus tusk ivory to the trading towns in western Europe.
The Vikings founded trading cities in Scandinavia such as Birka, Ribe, Hedeby and Skiringsal. In Ireland they founded Dublin and in England they made York flourish to become the most important trading town outside of London.
At a time when old trade routes between east and west through the Mediterranean were closed or unsafe, the Vikings kept the trade route between Byzantium and the west open by way of Kiev and Russia.
Viking graves often contain Arab silver, Byzantine silks, Frankish weapons, Rhenish glass, and other products of an extensive trade. Silver coins from the caliphate and Anglo-Saxon coins from England flowed into the Viking lands and further stimulated economic growth.
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