The Vikings were the explorers of new lands and trade routes. About 850 BC, the tribes around Lake Ladoga offered the Viking Rurik the throne of Novgorod. From the new Novgorod centre, Holmgard, he united the villages in the region and established the Novgorod kingdom, the Gardarike, including the villages around the neighbouring lakes: Ladoga, Onega, the White Sea, Lake Ilmen and Lake Tjudo. In the late-9th century, King Alfred of England received a visit from a man from northern Norway, called Ottar of Hålogaland, who spoke of his travels and his home. Ottar related the story of how he sailed northwards, eastwards and then southwards and found permanent settlements. He had obviously got as far as the southern shore of the White Sea and may have visited the mouth of Northern Dvina.