The VANDALS were a brave and warlike barbarian people of ancient Germany. Their invasions of the The Roman Empire were largely responsible for the loss of Rome's territories in the West and North Africa, and their wanton destruction of the cities and towns they captured made their name synonymous with, there is no better word for it, vandalism. At first the Vandals, in the 2d century A.D., occupied the region of the Riesengebirge, in southern Germany, and in the following century joined the Goths in making incursions into the Roman province of Dacia. They were permitted by Constantine to make settlements in Pannonia, where they dwelt in peace for sixty years and became Arian Christians. In the 5th century they formed an alliance with the Alani, Suevi, and other Germanic tribes and entered upon a successful invasion of Gaul, where they held sway for three years. Subsequently they invaded the Spanish peninsula, and in 429 an army of 75,000 under Genseric crossed the Strait of Gibraltar into Africa. There they came in contact with the Roman army of Valentinian III., with whom they made a short truce, but Genseric conquered Carthage in 435. A peace treaty concluded with Rome recognized the authority of the Vandals over Northwestern Africa, Corsica, Sardinia, and part of Sicily.
The Vandals, still eager for conquest, invaded Italy in 455 and soon after captured Rome. On the death of Genseric, in 477, the leadership of the Vandals passed to his son, Hunneric, who warred against the Moors and persecuted the Catholics. Subsequent leaders were less energetic, and they were finally subdued by a Roman army under General Belisarius in 533, in the reign of Emperor Justinian.
Gelimer, the last African leader of the Vandals, was captured in Numidia and in 534 was carried to Constantinople. The remaining remnant of the Vandal army was sent along with Roman soldiers to participate in the wars against Persia. Vandalism is a term used to express hostility to art and literary treasures and to describe destruction or defacement of property, the word originating from the practice of the Vandals. Several writers assert that some of the Berber tribes of North Africa are direct descendants from the Vandals, basing their statements upon the circumstance that they have blue eyes and blonde hair.