Long before the Viking Age, Scandinavia was already settled. Its population descended from ancient Germanic peoples, with whom they shared the origins of their mythology, language and culture. The inhabitants of present-day Denmark, Sweden and Norway were trading and had contact with numerous surrounding countries and societies. In the 8th century the contact and the purpose of these expeditions changed, when the Vikings set forth in their clinker-built ships and sailed all over the world. Over a span of 300 years, they carried out raids, trade and migration all over Christian Europe and even to more far-flung regions.