Any member of a Germanic people who ruled a kingdom in North Africa from 429 to 534 and who sacked Rome in 455. Fleeing westward from the Huns, they invaded Gaul before settling in Spain (409). Under King Gaiseric (r. 428–477) they migrated to North Africa and became federates of Rome (435). Four years later Gaiseric threw off Roman overlordship and captured Carthage. The Vandals later annexed Sardinia, Corsica, and Sicily, and their pirate fleets controlled much of the western Mediterranean. When they invaded Italy and captured Rome (455), they plundered the city and its artworks, and their name has remained a synonym for willful desecration and destruction. The Vandals were Arian Christians (see Arianism) who persecuted Roman Catholics in Africa. They were conquered when the Byzantines invaded North Africa (533–534).

This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
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