Then, and now, the Danes, Norse and Swedes thought of themselves as different peoples, and to a certain extent they were. Although each group spoke its own distinct language, they could still understand each others speech. This is still true today, although the Scandinavians prefer to converse in English rather than go the extra mile to decipher the thousands of subtle differences between Danish and Norwegian. Culturally, the Scandinavians always shared many customs. During the Viking period, each nation contributed boatloads of blood thirsty marauders. But, Vikings being Vikings, the Danes, Norse and Swedes would eagerly fight each other. Over the last thousand years, these three nations have conquered each other at one time or another, which has led to their current orgainization as three separate nations. Plus, of course, there are the ancient Viking colonies on Iceland, Greenland and sundry islands off the coast of Britain and Russia.