Leif Eriksson

Erik Thorvaldsson, popularly know as Erik the Red, led a colonizing party to Greenland in 986 A.D. after being forced out of Iceland. His son, Leif Eriksson, was most likely born in Greenland (but some say Iceland); his date of birth is uncertain. Legend relates that Eriksson served King Olav I of Norway and in the year 1000 sailed back to Greenland for the purpose of introducing Christianity.

Some experts believe that Eriksson’s ship was blown off course in a storm and he unwittingly ended up on the shores of North America.

Other authorities, citing the Greenland Saga, believe that Eriksson purposely outfitted his expedition for a voyage to the west. Some years before, Bjarni Herjulfsson sailed in that direction and reported sighting land. Some maintain that Eriksson was attempting to verify this claim.

Eriksson’s party apparently landed first on Baffin Island, then possibly on Labrador, and finally in what was called “Vinland." In Old Norse, the word "vin" meant something like "grassland" or "open fields" or "good pasture."*

The actual location of Vinland remains a matter of controversy. Some historians have reasoned that it was in northern Newfoundland, while others have argued for a site as far south as Cape Cod. Current thinking seems to favor the northern site; in 1963, archaeologists discovered the ruins of a Viking outpost at L’Anse aux Meadows, Newfoundland, which seemed remarkably similar to Eriksson’s description.

Eriksson and his crew wintered in Vinland, then returned to Greenland in 1001.

Eriksson never returned to the lands in the west. His brother Thorvald, however, took the ship on later voyages and lost his life in an encounter with American Natives. No permanent settlements in North America resulted from these ventures.


*Today, "vin" is still part of geographical names in Scandinavia and is a current word in Icelandic.

Off-site search results for "Leif Eriksson"...

Royalty.nu - History and Royalty of Greenland
Did Vinland, that mysterious "land of grapevines" that Leif Eriksson discovered almost a thousand years ago, ever exist? This book examines the history of Vinland in ancient manuscripts and the archaeological evidence. Out of print, but Leif Eriksson discovered almost a thousand years ago, ever exist? This book examines the history of Vinland in ancient manuscripts and the archaeological evidence. Out of print, but available ...
http://www.royalty.nu/America/Greenland.html

Vikings -- Britannica Student Encyclopedia
... ships to win over the people of this rocky island, where Vikings led by Leif Eriksson ... >longshiptype of sail-and-oar vessel that predominated in northern European waters for more than 1,500 years and played an important roleLeif Eriksson ... >longshiptype of sail-and-oar vessel that predominated in northern European waters for more than 1,500 years and played an important role in history.
http://www.britannica.com/ebi/article-9277601

American History Editorial April 2004
Whether Christopher Columbus or Leif Eriksson or someone else first discovered the New World actually misses the point. For what these intrepid travelers and their crews did was challenge the unknown. Neither Columbus nor Eriksson feareLeif Eriksson or someone else first discovered the New World actually misses the point. For what these intrepid travelers and their crews did was challenge the unknown. Neither Columbus nor Eriksson feared falling ...
http://www.historynet.com/ah/editorial_04_04

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