By Tim Lambert
The first humans in Denmark arrived about 10,000 BC after the end of the last Ice Age. The first Danes were Stone Age hunters and fishermen. However about 4,000 BC farming was introduced into Denmark. The earliest Danish farmers used stone tools and weapons. However about 1,800 BC bronze was introduced into Denmark. Danish craftsmen soon became expert at making goods from bronze. By 500 BC iron was introduced into Denmark. The Iron Age Danes had contact with the Romans. They sold Roman merchants slaves, furs, skins and amber in return for Mediterranean luxuries.
By about 200 AD the Danes had started to use Runes (a form of writing) for inscriptions.
After the fall of the Roman Empire in the West in the 5th century the Danes continued to trade with the eastern half of the Roman Empire, which became known as the Byzantine Empire.
Like the rest of Europe Denmark suffered a terrible outbreak of plague in the 6th century, which killed a large part of the population. Despite this trade flourished and in the 8th century the first trading settlements grew up at Hedeby and Ribe.
The first humans arrived in Finland about 7,000 BC after the end of the last ice age. The earliest Finns were stone-age hunters and gatherers. Over the millenia successive waves of people entered Finland. After 2,500 BC the Finns lived by farming. About 1,500 BC they learned to make tools and weapons from bronze. About 500 BC the Finns learned to use iron. However the Finns had little or no contact with the classical civilisations of Greece and Rome.
The first people arrived in Norway after 7,000 BC when rising temperatures after the end of the last ice age made the country habitable. The first Norwegians lived by hunting (elk, deer, seal and whales) and by fishing.
After 3,000 BC farming was introduced into Norway. The earliest farmers made tools and weapons from stone but after 1,500 BC bronze was used. After 500 BC Norwegians used iron. About 200 AD they began to used a form of writing called runes.
The first humans arrived in Sweden by 8,000 BC after the end of the ice age, when warming temperatures first made the country habitable. The first Swedes were stone age hunters and fishermen who lived near the coast. However after 4,000 BC farming was introduced into Sweden. The farmers used stone tools and weapons. After 2,000 BC they learned to use bronze. The bronze age craftsmen soon became very skilled at making things of bronze. In bronze age Sweden horses and chariots were used and carvings of boats suggest that trade was important.
Then about 500 BC iron was introduced into Sweden. The iron age Swedes had contact with the Romans. They sold slaves, furs and amber to Roman merchants. In return the Romans sold them Mediterranean luxuries.