The Vikings were some of the cruelest people groups in the history of Europe. Many towns and villages that they oppressed did not have the strength to fight these beasts. Thus, the oppressed men looked to a local strong man for safety. This strong man (who was also known as a lord) would be a person who was very wealthy and controlled and large amount of land. He would hire several other men to fight along side him, as he would ward off the invasions from the Vikings. In return the village people would be his servants (they were also called serfs). The serfs would receive the bare-necessities of life (such as food and shelter) and they would also receive protection from their lord. The lord would receive their labor in return. This system is known as Manorialism.
Out of Manorialism came an interesting social setup called Feudalism. While Manorialism was the relationship between lords and serfs Feudalism was the relationship between lords and vassals. A vassal was the person the lord employed to fight along side him to protect the serfs. They would receive a significant amount of land and money from the lord as payment for their services. They would also give their advice to the lord when he needed it. It was here that the first form of parliament could be seen in history.