By the end of the 8th century, the phrase “Normanii” is used for the first time. Monks of the Frankish Empire use this when they describe a barbarian (i.e. non-Christian) people form the Remote North. These people came on fast ships and plundered the coasts of the Low Countries and the British Isles. “Normannii” is a very old Frankish word which stands for “Men of the North”. This referred to the people from Denmark, Sweden and Norway. They lived here since before the year 0 and descend from earlier Germanic tribes, just like the Frisians and Franks which lived in the Low Countries and further south. For still unknown reasons, Scandinavians sailed to other countries from the end of the 8th century on for trade, booty and new living areas. These travels from Scandinavia end in the 11th century as suddenly and inexplicable as they once started. In English literature, these people are called “Vikings”, in some countries, the phrases “Vikings” and “Normans” are used side by side.
In the mean time, the Normans obtained a large area at the French coast. In the 10th century, the Westfrankish king gives this area as duchy to the Normans to prevent further war. This duchy receives the name Normandy. Further raids and wars take place with this as basis direction of Southern Europe. These new Normans conquest costal areas in the Mediterranean, like Southern Italy. In the next decenniums, the Normans turn more French and at the end, Normandy becomes a regular part of France. Still, however, the Normandic inhabitants take pride in their adventurous descent.
Internationally, only the Normandic French of the 10th and 11th century are called “Normans”.