the discussion leader should post a “discussion starter” post that answers the following question: How did geography influence Scandinavian social, political, and economic structures?Â
Geographically, Scandinavia is situated in an area with a lot of natural resources. Water is abundant (surrounded mostly by ocean and many fjords within), which created an abundance of sea life for travel/exploration, trading, and food sources. The position of the Scandinavian countries creates an environment where land is abundant, therefore, the water was easy to navigate.Â
Scandinavia is rich in natural resources such as as forests, which contribute to an abundance of timber used to build sophisticated dwellings and boats to travel and spread the social and political views of the Vikings.Â
Because of Scandinaviaâ€™s geographical position, it has a large contrast in seasons, light, and climates, that the Viking people had to learn to adapt to and with, which helped them to be more resilient to other European climates as they explored and expanded.
Its climate makes it less than ideal for farming, but the soil and landscape proved to be good for grazing animals. Bogs and swampland/meadows provided hay and grasses that could be cut in winter to feed cattle during the colder months (Thurston 43).Â
Although Scandinavia is composed of large amounts of land, it had dispersed settlement patterns in the Viking Age. This created an inability to have larger, more extensive political groups that the areas with smaller, close-knit communities had. With these smaller communities, archaeological evidence points to a social and political system where leaders and status wasnâ€™t determined by a bloodline like the kings and queens of Medieval Europe, but by moving up in rank based on competition and rivalry between chiefs for followers and allies (Thurston 47).Â
Later on, evidence shows that rulers began ruling larger geographic areas by bringing together these smaller, close-knit communities and political territories (Thurston 53). These small kingships were eventually replaced later by national monarchies (Kellogg).
Furthermore, in later years, powerful Chiefs were sought out by the Romans, because they knew they had enough power and prestige to stop wars and facilitate treaties. Economically, this skill could be used by the Vikings in their own political world. They were awarded silver and other goods (prestige goods) from the Romans to trade with others within the Viking community (Thurston 47).