Civilization VI: Harald Hardrada leads Norway

New to the Civilization series and leading Norway is the last Great Viking King Harald Hardrada.

Norway’s eventual king wasn’t always close to the throne. Exiled from his native land in 1030 after supporting his half-brother Olaf’s failed campaign, Hardrada sought refuge in Kievan Rus and later, Constantinople. Being a highly skilled warrior, he climbed the ranks of the Varangian Guard, earning the nickname “Devastator of the Bulgarians” after quelling an uprising.

In 1042 he returned to Norway and skillfully maneuvered his way into joint kingship with Magnus I. After Magnus’ passing, the now sole ruler of Norway warred with Sweyn, King of Denmark, in 1048 until 1064 before settling peacefully. He then attempted to claim the throne of England, perishing during the Battle of Stamford Bridge in 1066.

Hardrada’s reign was marked by war, but also by great progress. Peace flourished as Norway was unified under a strong government, new currency, external trade, and religious advancement.


Unique Unit: Berserker

Norse Berserkers were intimidating warriors who fought with ravenous ferocity as they plundered enemy lands and struck down enemies without hesitation. Berserkers were driven by uncontrollable rage as they allegedly performed superhuman feats in battle, despite being mostly clad in animal skins rather than armor.

Unique Unit: Viking Longship

Invented by Norsemen during the Viking Age, the Longship was used for commerce, trade, exploration and even war. Longships were categorized as speedy wooden vessels able to traverse waters only a meter in depth, and permitted Viking raiding parties to land on just about any beach. Its light weight allowed it to be easily carried over land, and the Longship’s symmetrical design meant its crew could reverse direction on water without conducting a full turn-around.

Unique Building: Stave Church

The large and elaborate wooden Stave Churches were large stone cathedrals named for their unique timber corner posts. The churches once numbered in the thousands throughout north-western Europe and have since been replicated globally, but originals now exist nearly exclusively in Norway. 

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