Leif Ericson by: Richard Rutter

  • Leif Ericson lived from ~970 AD - ~1020 AD
  • He is credited as the first European to reach North America, 500 years before Columbus
  • He was a Norse explorer
  • Born in Iceland
  • Nicknamed Leif the Lucky because of his rescue of an Icelandic castaway
  • There is not just one way to spell his last name ( Ericson, Erikson, Eriksson)
  • Congress authorized October 9th to be Leif Erikson Day in 1964, to celebrate Leif's discovery of North America
  • There are two theories on how Leif reached North America, one accidental, another being intentional.
  • From the Saga of Erik the Red - he drifted off course to Vinland (modern day Nova Scotia)
  • From the Saga of Greenlanders - he heard from Bjarni Herj√≥lfsson who had been there before, and Leif traveled from Helluland (Baffin Island) to Markland (Labrador), then landing on Vinland.
  • In either case, Leif was commissioned by Norwegian King Olaf I to spread Christianity.
  • Evidence of an early viking settlement was found in (northern) Newfoundland (L'Anse-Aux-Meadows) in the 1960's that support the idea of a North American Explorer predating Columbus.
  • Approximately, 2000 viking objects have been discovered there.
  • When the vikings reached America, they found out there were native people there
  • Naturally, with viking nature, conflict emerged
  • Vikings raided native villages and killed them.
  • Although, they did trade fur, cloth, and other goods between their groups
  • Viking homes were made out of sod with clay floors
  • Sod is the surface of ground with grass with roots still attached, which made for good insulation
  • More conflict, either between the vikings themselves, or them and the natives, lead to the settlement being abandoned.
  • It is speculated that Norsemen had been up to modern day Minnesota by either sailing across the Great Lakes or down the Hudson River
  • Evidence of European influence on Mandan Indians comes in the form of a carved rune stone of Scandinavian nature dating to about 1030 AD
  • Only hard evidence of the vikings reaching modern day USA is an 11th century Norse coin, the Maine Penny, discovered from a Native American trading center excavation, along with other viking artifacts.

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