In 406 the Vandals crossed the Rhine and traveled through Reims, Ameins, Arras and Tournai, causing wanton, widespread and wholesale devastation. The Roman forces were helpless to stop this catastrophic invasion and devastation, which caused the Vandal nation to bequeath its name to the term "vandalism" for wanton destruction. They then went into Spain and on to Northern Africa.
Under the leadership of Gaiseric (a crippled son of a slave elected king), the Vandals went across the strait of Gibraltar and along the African coast through the rich Roman towns. One by one they fell, and were vandalized. Gaiseric turned pirate and the Vandals fought amongst themselves and persecuted the Roman captors. They grew weak, corrupt, and disorganized, and were conquored by an army from the Eastern Roman Empire in 533. Soon afterward the Vandals disappeared as a distinct people.