Vandals, an ancient confederacy of barbarous nations of Germanic race. Schafarik considered them a mixed people of Suevi, Slavs, and Celts, and others have held that they were Wends or Sarmatians; but the best authorities classify them as a purely Germanic race, and generally as Goths. They first appeared on the northern coasts of Germany, whence they migrated S., settling in the Riesengebirge, which from them were called Vandal moantains, and subsequently in Pannonia and Daeia. At the beginning of the 5th century A. D. they turned west, traversed Germany, Gaul, and the Pyrenees, and about 410 settled in N. Spain by the side of the Suevi. Shortly afterward they marched further south, and founded a powerful kingdom in ancient Baetica, which took from them its present name Andalusia (Vandalusia). In 429, under Genseric, they crossed over into Africa with a powerful fleet, and, although numbering not more than 50,000, conquered the whole of the northern coast as far as Tunis, and subsequently gained possession also of Sicily, Sardinia, Corsica, and the Baleares. In 455 they sacked Rome. (See Genseric.) Having adopted the Arian creed, they persecuted the orthodox Christians. For more than a century they maintained their power in Africa, with Carthage as capital, until it was overthrown by Belisarius, the general of the emperor Justinian, who conquered their last king Gelimer in 534. After this defeat they disappeared from history, but some suppose that descendants of them are still to be found among some of the Berber tribes with blue eyes and blonde hair.
Many of the atrocities and cruelties of which the Vandals have been accused are probably fables.