“The first Viking attack on Seville took place in the year 844. They ascended the Guadalquivir, a river that has tides, they killed all the inhabitants of Coria so that they would not raise the alarm and attacked Seville. The governor and the military fled to Carmona, the city of which César said was the strongest in Bética. Seville was destroyed except for the mosque, Ibn Addabas, current church of El Salvador. That first aljama mosque, recently built, was literally saved by a miracle, “he said historian Andrés Nadal in a Twitter thread.
“The only army that could stand up to the Vikings was the one far to the north, fighting the Christians. That is why the Vikings were able to plunder at will. Once defeated, Abd al-Rahman II planned the defense of the river , door of Seville”, also pointed out the historian, who complains that “a war port was built, which today is a shameful parking lot for the Seville city council, with two large doors to protect the ships. He organized a navy that prevented further attacks, at least until the Portuguese start of 1181”.
Of the Viking attacks on the peninsula, the one in 844 stands out for its virulence when they invaded the south from the Galician coasts, entering through the river to Seville. The Vikings launched towards Lisbon or Cádiz and a group tried to take the now Andalusian capital, which was Muslim. The riot lasted a week and is reported by the Arab historian Ibn Hayyan. The Scandinavian fleet consisted of about 54 longships, which in Norse means “long ship”.
The Viking base was in the Guadalquivir marshes to control the exit from the city. They destroyed Coria del Río and stormed Seville twice. The first, the population fled in terror. In the second, the Muslim defenders resisted without success.
The Sevillians took refuge in Córdoba, seat of the emirate of Abderramán II. “After using siege and defense weapons, the army put the Vikings to flight. The Arabs killed five hundred of their men and captured four of their ships, which they burned after looting anything of value. Large numbers of Vikings went put to the sword; others were hanged in Seville and others were hanged from palm trees at the battle site. (…) In total, forty-two days passed from their arrival to their expulsion. Their leader and all of them passed through our sword as divine punishment for their crimes. The emir communicated the happy outcome to all his provinces, and sent them the head of the Viking leader and two hundred of the best Viking warriors,” Ibn Hayyan collected.
October 3 will mark the 1,179th anniversary of the Viking invasion of Seville. The Muslims spoke of the mayüs, “worshippers of fire.” The Vikings aware that the governor fled to Carmona and the lack of preparation of the troops, the Vikings entered the Arenal of Seville, burned the suburbs and hand-to-hand broke the doors of the Seville wall. In the second volley, looking for treasures, they only left terror again.
Partial view of the interior of the Royal Shipyards of Seville, the largest medieval shipyard in Spain. EFE/Julio Muñoz Julio Muñoz EFE
In Córdoba, Abd-al-Rahman II accelerated the formation of three expeditionary forces towards Seville. The Vikings fled after the skirmishes. According to the chronicles, “many of them perished, some of them being hanged in Seville, others hanging from the palm trees of Talyata (Tablada) and thirty of their boats burned (…). The emir communicated the happy outcome to all his provinces, and sent them (to the Sevillians) the head of the Viking leader and two hundred of the best warriors ».
Some Vikings embraced Islam and settled on the lower Guadalquivir, famous for cattle raising and dairy production.
In 859 there was another Viking raid but they were met by Umayyad warriors. In 966 the Vikings again tried to attack Seville, but were intercepted by a Seville fleet near the Algarve.
The panic that remained in the imagination of the city was such that the churches prayed against the wrath of the Normans.