York – “Jorvik”

York (to give the city its modern name) has for many centuries been an important place in the history and geography of England. Romans, Angles, Vikings and Normans all used York as a capital for governing and keeping military control over a large part of northern England. It also became an important religious centre.

Jorvik – the centre of Scandinavian power in England

Eoforwic fell to Scandinavian invaders in AD 866. The first part of the name was simplified to ‘jor’, perhaps a result of the Old English and Scandinavian languages being combined. The veterans of the Viking Great Army settled, “….proceeded to plough and support themselves”, and mixed with the local population through marriage.  The Vikings, like the Romans and Angles before them, appreciated the importance of Jorvik’s location for control of the region. It became the capital of a Viking kingdom within The Danelaw, a kingdom which more or less extended over what became known as Yorkshire. It was the Vikings who divided ‘Jorvikskyr’ (Yorkshire) into three administrative parts ‘thridjungr’. Under Scandinavian rule, Jorvik developed further as an important trading centre.

From the mid-ninth century to the mid-tenth century, control of York was contested amongst a succession of Viking, Hiberno-Scandinavian and English rulers.

There is a great museum at the site today. Be sure to visit it if you can!

Articles about Jorvik (York):