People who have challenged the casting choice of a Black woman playing a Viking in Netflix’sVikings: Valhalla were immediately proven wrong and given a history lesson in the process.

In the series, viewers see Jarl Estrid Haakon a Black Scandinavian ruler in the diverse city of Kattegat where she oversees the “tense intermingling of religions and the vibrant intercultural exchanges” under her leadership.

The background behind the character is that her Viking grandfather fell in love with her royal African grandmother in Alexandria, Egypt and returned to Kattegat which Haakon rules over in the show.

While Haakon is a fictional character, the series creator Jeb Stuart said that she reflects how diverse the Vikings were in reality which the media often doesn’t portray.

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“The Vikings went all over the globe: We know, from DNA evidence, that there’s Viking DNA all around what we considered the known world in the Middle Ages; we know that they were in Palestine and Constantinople,” he told Tudum.

Though the casting choice has been slammed by some, as one person tweeted: “I thought it was a meme but Netflix literally casted this woman as a Viking…”

Another exchange on the platform where someone found out Black Vikings were a thing and declared: “I turned it off when I saw a Black Viking. Guess I can start rewatching now it’s not woke BS.”

Critics of the casting choice will be surprised to learn that there were, in fact, a small number of Black Vikings due to the Vikings’ vast travels (which included as far south as North Africa) or sadly as a result of being enslaved as part of a slave trade which is thought to have extended across the Mediterranean from Spain to Egypt.

Tríona Sørensen, Ph.D., a curator of the Viking Ship Museum in Roskilde, Denmark, explained to Tudum how archaeological records also further show the influence of the Vikings’ vast trade routes.

“You see this clearly in the archaeological record here in Scandinavia — in silver coins from Arabic lands, precious metalwork from Ireland and Britain, silks from the East — all items that made their way to Scandinavia via maritime trade networks.”

“Ethnicity is always a thorny subject, but I think one thing that typified the Viking expansion was their ability to adapt when they settled outside of Scandinavia,” she added.

People on Twitter were also quick to school those choosing not to educate themselves on the diversity during this time period and also pointed out the Vikings weren’t a race.

Swedish actor, Caroline Henderson who plays Haakon explained to Tudumwhat she would say to those who say a Black woman can’t be a Viking queen.

“I would say that you should do your research, because [even though] Jarl Haakon is a fictional character, but most likely there [have] been people of color [who ruled]. We know that through DNA [and] research.”

She continued: “We know for a fact that they mixed and travelled all over the place, much more than what we knew 100 years ago. Now we actually know, through science, that [Vikings] were really travellers and of course they mixed cultures and babies and knowledge and foods and slaves and, yes, of course, they were mixed. They were not this little isolated colony up north.”