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 Herjólfsson 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.