Harald Bluetooth enters the Information Age

Bluetooth Takes Name from Viking King

Those that use Bluetooth devices know that they provide a connection between disparate technology without needing a wire. The founders of the company named it after the Viking King Harald “Bluetooth” Gormsson, the first ruler of a united Denmark and Norway. Bluetooth didn’t just use the king’s name; they also took his rune symbols and use them for their trademark.

The Viking King

Harald Bluetooth inherited the throne from his father Gorm the Old. The exact date he took control is unknown, but it most likely happened in 958 A.D., give or take a couple of years. While experts differ on the reasons he was called “Bluetooth,” many believe it was because he had a dead tooth that appeared blue in color. His son, Svein Forkbeard, overthrew Harald Bluetooth in 987 A.D.

Christian Conversion

King Harald was baptized in 960 A.D. and proceeded to convert Denmark to Christianity. He removed his father’s remains from a pagan burial mound and moved them to a Christian church. One account of his conversion has a Bishop named Poppo providing a miracle in the presence of the Harald. However, some scholars believe Bluetooth’s conversion probably had more to do with eliminating the threat of a Holy Roman Empire Crusade to the North. Harald’s Christianity and his conversion efforts would protect his kingdom from the encroachment of the religiously fanatical, monetary motivated fighters of the time.

Political Unions

Harald raised the Jelling runestones in 965 A.D. They contain the first mention of Denmark as a united country. The stones have both Christian and pagan features. Bluetooth improved the protective Danevirke and built fortresses for defense of his country.

In 970 A.D., Earl Hakon gained control of Norway. Harald united Denmark and Norway when Hakon submitted to Harald’s rule.

Modern Connection

The company “Bluetooth” was supposed to have a cooler moniker. “Bluetooth” was just a placeholder until marketing could come up with something better. However, the front runner for the company name was already too popular in search engines, and there was no time to research the second choice before the company was launched. “Bluetooth” caught on, and a Viking king, a thousand years after uniting Denmark and Norway, now unites people across virtual platforms.

Sources: https://www.bluetooth.com/about-us/bluetooth-origin/


The Vikings by Else Roesdahl. Published by Penguin books, 1998, revised edition.

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