Vandals 2: On the Move

The Vandals were constantly moving, especially after they had suffered an attack. Around 400, the Vandals were on the move once again after the Huns took interest in launching attacks against them. In this article, you will learn more about where they settled and their different exchanges of land.

When the Vandals were ruled by King Godigisel, he took his tribe and their allies (the Sarmatian Alans and Germanic Suebians) west , which was Roman territory. Eventually, some of the Silingi joined up with the group. During the winter of 401 or 402, the Vandals most likely lived in a region around the Middle and Upper Danube when they raided the Roman province of Raetia.

The Vandals in Other Parts of the World

The Vandals left Pannonia in 406 and moved west along the Danube. They didn’t meet much opposition. However, when they reached the Rhine, they faced the Franks, who lived and controlled Romanized sections of land in northern Gaul. A battle ensued and 20,000 Vandals lost their lives. King Godigisel also died in battle. In the end, the Alans aided the Vandals and the Franks were defeated. On the last day of 406, the Vandals crossed the Rhine and invaded Gaul. The devastation was great. Their new leader was Gunderic, who was the son of Godigisel. He guided the Vandals westward and southward , plundering everything in their path.  

Upon crossing the Pyrenees in October of 409, the Vandals found themselves at the Iberian Peninsula. As a way to appease the Vandals, the Romans gave the Hasdingi land in Gallaecia. The Silingi received land in Hispania Baetica.

Becoming Established

The Vandals reached Africa in 429 under the leadership of a new king, Genseric , who played one of the most significant roles in Vandal history. It is estimated that there were 80,000 Vandals and Alans when the group settled in North Africa. An account of Procopius states that the Vandals went to Africa at the request of Boniface, who was the military leader of the region. Other theories suggest that the Vandals were seeking a place where they could be safe. When a Roman army attacked the Vandals in 422 and failed attempts at establishing a treaty took place, historians feel that it was their best bet to relocate.

In 430, the Vandals traveled east along the coast and lay siege to Hippo Regius. Saint Augustine and his priests were inside the city walls praying for an end to the invasion. They knew that if the city fell, many Roman Christians faced death or religious conversion. Three months into the siege and St. Augustine died at the age of 75 years old. It is said that he died of starvation or stress. During the siege, the wheat fields found outside of the city were neglected and not harvested. After 14 months had passed, both the inhabitants of the city and Vandals settled outside of the city walls were dying of hunger and succumbing to subsequent diseases.