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As asked on Quora:

The film opens with Red Skull breaking into a church and stealing a hidden Tesseract. But why was it there in the first place? Is there a possibility it was a gift to the vikings by Odin himself?

Surely such a powerful object wouldn't be hidden behind a brick wall in Norway. Why wasn't it kept in Asgard along with all the other powerful items that Odin owns?

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    This question along with others you have posted seem to be copied from Quora. As per their policies you must provide a link back to the original in order for the question to be replicated. – Tablemaker Jul 14 '13 at 22:11
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The opening sequence of Captain America: The First Avenger, combined with the historical information at the start of Thor provides the answer. ~1000 years ago, Asgardians fought the Frost Giants on Earth as part of a cross-realm war. During this war, the Tesseract was lost on the Earth. (Source : Scifi)

So it is clear that Odin didn't give it to anybody intentionally but it was lost on the earth. Human's found it here and hid it in Norway to save it from bad people.

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