The civilization of the Vikings died because of walruses.The last Viking settlement could disappear due to the migration of walruses to this unexpected conclusion reached by researchers from the University of Cambridge.
It is known that the community of Scandinavian seafarers, founded by Erik the Red thrived in Greenland for five hundred years, and in the XV century, suddenly ceased to exist. Historians could not understand the reason for the sudden decline. Recently, British scientists said, that seems to have solved this mystery.
One of the main sources of income for the Vikings was the sale of walrus ivory.
“For 1100 years Greenland became the main supplier of ivory in Western Europe, it was almost a monopoly,” – said study co-author Dr James Barrett.
DNA tests showed that virtually all of the walrus ivory that came in that era in European countries including the UK, took place from Greenland. The material was considered so valuable that it was used to decorate churches and the manufacture of luxury items.
But after several centuries of constant hunting of the marine mammals began to avoid the coast of Greenland.
In addition, the fashion for walrus ivory in Europe in that era went into decline. Buyers began to prefer the elephant coming through the Mediterranean trade routes. Finally foreign trade “finished off” the epidemic plague that devastated the Western countries.
It is also worth considering that in the XV century began the so-called little ice age. The usual sea route was icebound, and the shipping almost to a standstill.
At some point, the Vikings were not able to survive in the inhospitable conditions of Greenland. By the end of the XV century, their villages stood empty and ruined. Further traces of this civilization, which once kept at Bay the whole of Europe, disappear from the pages of history.