Leif Erikson

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Leif Erikson:

Leif Erikson The first man to settle North America?

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Leif Ericson was a Norse explorer born ca.970. It is believed that he arrived in North America ca.1000

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Leif was the son of Erik the Red, another Norse explorer It is not clear when or where he was born. But, the most popular opinion is that he was born c. 970 in Iceland.

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Leif Erikson’s grandfather, Thorvald Asvaldsson , was banished from Norway for manslaughter He went into exile in Iceland Leif’s father, Erik, was later banished from Iceland and traveled west where he found a land he named Greenland and extablished a permanent settlement in 986

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Leif travelled from Greenland to Norway in 999 and stayed the summer, where he became a hirdman to King Olaf Tryggvason He also converted to Christianity while in Norway and was given the task of bringing the religion to Greenland

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The only accounts of how Leif discovered North America are in The Saga of Erik the Red and The Saga of the Greenlanders Both books are believed to of been written around 1200, more than 100 years after Leif’s death

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The Saga of the Greenlanders claims that Leif had heard the story of the merchant Bjarni who claimed to of sighted land to the west of Greenland. Leif bought the merchant’s ship and set off on an expedition to find the fabled land. It is said that he first landed in a rocky and desolate place that he named Helluland. He kept traveling and landed on a forested area he called Markland. 2 more days of traveling and he landed on Vinland. He and his crew made a settlement there and stayed the winter. In the spring he returned to Greenland with grapes and timber

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The Saga of Erik the Red has another story of Leif Erikson’s voyage The saga claims that Leif first saw Vinland after being blown off course when traveling back Greenland to introduce Christianity

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Research had been conducted in the 1960s by Norwegian explorer Helge Ingstad and his wife an archaeologist They identified a Norse settlement in New Foundland It is believed that this is Leif’s Vinland, also called Leifsbudir

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Information obtained from: http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/historic_figures/erikson_leif.shtml http://www.mnc.net/norway/LeifErikson.htm http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leif_Ericson

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