Norsemen refers to the group of people who spoke what is now called the Old Norse language between the 8th and 11th centuries. The language belongs to the North Germanic branch of the Indo-European languages; it is the earlier form of the languages most commonly spoken in Scandinavia. Norseman means “person from the North” and applied primarily to Old Norse-speaking tribes who settled in southern and central Scandinavia. They established states and settlements in England, Scotland, Iceland, Wales, the Faroe Islands, Finland, Ireland, Russia, Greenland, France, Ukraine, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Germany, and Poland, as well as outposts in Sicily and North America. The Old Frankish word Nortmann “Northman” was Latinized as Normanni and then entered Old French as Normands, whence the name of the Normans and of Normandy, which was settled by Norsemen in the 10th century.
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