“Viking” – The First Viking Ship Replica

Viking ship was among the most important constant companions to the Vikings during their glory. Not only was it majestic but it also helped the Vikings stand out from the crowd. By far, the archaeologists have excavated a number of Viking ships and only some of them in good condition. Of course, the Viking ship inspires us a lot, especially Scandinavians. Back to 1893, the first Viking ship replica crossed Atlantic Ocean, dominating the headlines the day after.

The idea came from Gokstad ship

Gokstad ship has been among the best-preserved Viking ships on Earth. It was a 9th-century Viking ship that the archaeologists found out around 1880s in Vestfold, Norway. Gokstad is also the largest as well as best-preserved ship found in Norway.

Viking Gokstad ship currently on display of Viking Ship Museum
Gokstad ship currently on display of Viking Ship Museum Oslo, Norway.

The news of Gokstad hit the headlines capturing the public attention. In 1889, a Norwegian man, whom we are yet to know his true identity, came up with replicating the Gokstad ship. This idea though published soon fell into oblivion.

Later in 1892, a replica of Columbus’s ship would be on display in the Chicago square to celebrate 400 years of American discovery. Coincidentally, a group of insightful men living in Norway grabbed the opportunity to make a Viking ship as well. Whether this movement was to celebrate Columbus’s discovery or not remains to be seen and we don’t discuss it here. The centerpiece was the first Viking ship replica.

Magnus Andersen, a naval captain, led the team constructing the first Viking ship replica. His greatest desire was to finish the ship and set sail to Norway on the celebration day.

Viking was her name

Yes, the team named her Viking.

Captain Andersen standing in the middle of the photo holding the raven banner. This raven banner led to the misunderstanding that the name of the ship was Raven.

Everyone was filled with energy and enthusiasm back then when they teamed up to erect the ship. However, they quickly met up with a big problem. They found it extremely hard to pile up enough the exact material of the Gokstad ship. Some of the materials came from the local and the rest had to be taken from Canada.

During the construction, only the staff could enter the site. This meant we now have no photos and footage of the construction.

After months of construction, she could finally make her first move on the ocean. On 30 April 1893, she was ready. During the journey to get over the high wave, the captain wrote down carefully her excellent performance under the harsh weather.

The first Viking ship replica crossed Atlantic Ocean to reach Chicago Fair
Viking ship replica reached Chicago Fair

During that time, many ships were attempting to reach Chicago for the celebration day. Captain Andersen saw this as a golden opportunity and he allowed Viking to take on the race. She, a 1,000-year-old-design ship, could finally outpace those from the 19th century.

Viking stole the show when she reached Columbian Exposition. The day after, her name dominated the headlines, this time with a large corner of the news.

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