Agree. This is one of the major issues here.
I mean, it’s all conjecture. They didn’t write it down until later. All we have is the archaeological record, and the records of others. AFAIK, and admittedly a lot of this is from ten years or so ago, so maybe it’s outdated, it’s a totally valid interpretation that they weren’t doing great in a lot of parts of Scandinavia (particularly if we don’t include Denmark, and I have to admit, I tend to forget it was part of this), that there was serious overpopulation, and the fact is, much of that land simply is (to this day) bad-to-terrible for farming (of all kinds) compared to places like Britain (and Denmark isn’t nearly as farmable as Britain or France).
The Danelaw never controlled “all of England”, so that’s an odd thing to say. The actual, Danish/Norse-controlled Danelaw lasted less than a century by the most generous interpretation, and less than fifty years by a stricter one (which wasn’t counting just odd bits and bobs). Individual jarls and stuff retained control but under an Anglo-Saxon feudal system where they were vassals.
As for leaving an impression on English, not that much of one - the vast majority of what people casually attribute to the Norse or the like is actually from the Saxons. The most prominent one, Thursday isn’t even certain - the word before that was Þūnresdæg which is basically Thunrsday - it’s thought Norse influence caused people to drop the N, but that’s not certain (and just as easily explained by typical linguistic drift) There are some pop-culture articles on this that really stretch to claim Norse roots for very similar Anglo-Saxon words like “Oh well the modern English sounds slightly more like the Norse, so it’s from the Norse!”. Like fuck off, that’s not linguistics! The British education system has certainly been complicit in this. I was taught, at school, that most of the days had Norse roots, which is absolute bollocks, and which was known to be bollocks at the time, if you asked an actual linguist.
This is the archaeological equivalent of a repeated meme or trope. There’s barely a civilization or culture in history where the claim “[Culture/civilization which is the focus of the article/book] had access to more calories and a more nutritious diet than [nearby culture/civilization]” hasn’t been made. Shit, it was getting repetitive in the 1990s. It can’t have been true for all of them! Usually it’s the results of bad comparisons, like comparing one small population group where there’s limited evidence to a much larger population group where there’s a lot more evidence, or focus on a narrow time period for one group, but a broad time period for another group (which is often excused with what is frankly scientific slight of hand)
Thanks for teaching this old lady to suck eggs!
If you include Denmark, sure, I was mentally excluding it, which isn’t accurate I agree, but I think it’s pretty fair to say of stuff north of the Baltic. Certainly, it’s very clear that a significant number of people, an atypical number of people (given that they weren’t people at the bottom of society, by and large), wanted “out” of Scandinavia, and there’s not going to be anything “metal” behind that. Nor were viking tactics “metal” - on the contrary, they were the very essence of cunning, dishonorable and tricksy - which is cool, but it’s 180 degree from the conventional portrayal of them until recently (since the TV series Vikings it seems like that’s changing a bit, but there’s still this false idea that vikings were 1 on 1 better fighters than others, which is just totally not supported by historical battles, where they managed to lose quite a few battles whilst outnumbering the enemy, sometimes significantly - including in Britain in this period).
Agree: re: religion btw, and yeah I think Norse religion being fucking miserable was definitely part of it lol. Indeed I suspect a lot of the success of Christianity and Islam worldwide before we got into colonial shit was “Yo you guys have a miserable-ass religion where you’re all going to wander around moping when you’re dead and the gods suck hard, well, listen up!”. Esp. as the places which resisted conversion hardest tended to be ones with less depressing religions. But this is a totally supported personal theory to be clear.