Bluetooth Is Named After An Ancient Viking King Who United Denmark And Norway

by : Cameron Frew on : 10 Feb 2021 14:21
Bluetooth Is Named After An Ancient Viking King Who United Denmark And NorwayPA

Here’s your random fact of the day: Bluetooth is named after an ancient Viking king who united Denmark and Norway. 

I mean, who isn’t pondering the origins of the ubiquitous data-transfer technology on this fine Wednesday? It’s in just about any electronic device you can get your hands on, such as laptops, tablets, phones, controllers, remotes and much more.


You generally don’t really consider why things are called what they are. Is an orange called an orange because it’s orange or is orange called orange because of an orange? Why is a dictionary called a dictionary? And why is the everyday wireless tech called Bluetooth? We have the answer to the latter.

BluetoothPA Images

King Harald ‘Bluetooth’ Gormsson reigned as King of Denmark and Norway in the late 10th century, taking up the throne after the death of King Gorm the Old of Denmark and the assassination of King Harald Greycloak of Norway.

Harald is known for uniting the tribes of Denmark into a single kingdom, as well as converting the Danes to Christianity. His Bluetooth nickname came from his bad, darkly-coloured tooth.


So, how does this Viking king’s legacy stretch all the way to Bluetooth technology in 1997? It’s thanks to Jim Kardach, an Intel worker key to the tech’s inception, who’d earlier read a book on Viking history.

Harald BluetoothHistories of the Unexpected

In a piece for the EE Times, he explained:, ‘Harald had united Denmark and Christianised the Danes! It occurred to me that this would make a good codename for the program.’

He added, ‘At this time I also created a PowerPoint foil with a version of the Runic stone where Harald held a cellphone in one hand and a notebook in the other and with a translation of the runes: Harald united Denmark and Norway; and Harald thinks that mobile PC’s and cellular phones should seamlessly communicate.’


According to Bluetooth’s website, its logo symbolises ‘a bind rune merging the Younger Futhark runes (Hagall) (ᚼ) and (Bjarkan) (ᛒ), Harald’s initials.’

Bluetooth Cameron Frew

However, while King Harald died in 986 after trying to fight off a rebellion, Bluetooth is still the ruling wireless technology today.

Once upon a time, when Iyaz’s Replay was dominating the charts, it was used to transfer songs to one another’s phones. Nowadays, its presence is incredibly efficient and far wider, whether it’s hands-free phone calls through your car’s speaker or booming music from your speaker in the shower.


Long live the king, I guess.

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Cameron Frew

After graduating from Glasgow Caledonian University with an NCTJ and BJTC-accredited Multimedia Journalism degree, Cameron ventured into the world of print journalism at The National, while also working as a freelance film journalist on the side, becoming an accredited Rotten Tomatoes critic in the process. He's now left his Scottish homelands and taken up residence at UNILAD as a journalist.

Topics: Technology, Denmark, history, Norway


EE Times and 1 other
  1. EE Times

    Tech History: How Bluetooth got its name

  2. Bluetooth

    Origin of the Bluetooth Name