The original Vandals (their name perhaps meant wanderers) were a savage Teutonic tribe from northeast Germany that flourished in the fifth century. According to historical records, a horde of 80,000, led by their king, Genseric, ravaged Gaul (France), Spain, and North Africa. In 455 A.D. they swooped down upon Rome and thoroughly sacked it, plundering it of its treasures of art and literature.
The word vandalism derives from the name of the Germanic tribe of Vandals, and it means a willful and wanton destruction of property. As in the form vandalisme, the word was first used by a French churchman at the end of the eighteenth century.