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What Bluetooth Technology Has To Do With A 10th Century Viking King

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A gold plaque records the baptism of King Harald Gormsson; he introduced Christianity in Scandinavia - Getty Images

In 1999, a technology came into the market that made it possible to connect fixed and mobile devices at close range over a shortwave radio frequency.

It was Bluetooth, which is probably present in your cell phone and other electronics, but whose name you may never have understood – in English, something like "blue tooth."

But what does a tooth have to do with this technology born at the turn of the millennium? You have to go back a few centuries and travel to the Nordic countries of Europe.

Viking king

The "original Bluetooth" was Harald Gormsson, nicknamed Blåtand (Danish Blue Tooth), king of Denmark from 958 to 986, and also of Norway, when he conquered it from the year 970.

Gormsson introduced Christianity in Denmark and consolidated its power over most of Jutland and Zealand, respectively the largest continental portion and the largest island in Denmark.

There are several versions to explain your nickname. He is said to be so named because he did not look very Nordic, having dark skin and dark hair – blå, it is "dark" to the ancient Norse.

A gold plaque records the baptism of King Harald Gormsson; he introduced Christianity in Scandinavia

Image: Getty Images

Another, more widespread, says he had a bluish or dark tooth due to an illness.

A millennium later, the nickname was resurrected in Silicon Valley, part of the US state of California that concentrates many of the world's top technology companies.

Nordic Saga

At a computer industry meeting held in 1996 to standardize shortwave connectivity technology was Jim Kardash of Intel.

Kardash, tasked with developing this technology for laptops, is said to be reading The Long Ships, a novel that tells the adventures of the Vikings and how Harald "Bluetooth" Gormsson managed to unify the different Danish tribes under his crown.

Kardash, who worked to get different devices to communicate wirelessly, found a parallel between Harald "Bluetooth" and the new technology, and the king's nickname became the name of the tool.

The official Bluetooth website says Kardash said at the time: "King Harald Bluetooth was famous for unifying Scandinavia just as we were trying to unify the computer and mobile industries with a short-range wireless connection."

However, the same site recognizes that the name was only tentative until something more appealing emerged.

But with the consecration of technology, the name also prevailed.

Rune logo

The relationship between Bluetooth technology and Scandinavia does not stop there.

The logo uses runic symbols – letters characteristic of Germanic and Scandinavian languages ​​of the time.

Bluetooth is distinguished by the fusion of runes H and B, the initials of Harald Bluetooth. This is the symbol that appears in the menu bar at the top of your device screen each time you turn on Bluetooth settings.

It should be noted that the pioneers of this technology in the late 1980s were Nils Rydbeck and Johan Ullman, two Swedes.

In other words, two Scandinavians.

And the historic meeting held in 1996 to standardize the connectivity system included companies Ericsson and Nokia, then giants of mobile technology.

The first is Swedish and the second, Finnish, Nordic regions dominated centuries ago by the Vikings.

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