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The Vikings Are The Ones Who Really Discovered America, not Christopher Columbus

Nearly 500 years before the birth of Christopher Columbus, a band of European sailors left their homeland behind in search of a new world. Their high-prowed Viking ship sliced through the cobalt waters of the Atlantic Ocean as winds billowed the boat’s enormous single sail. After traversing unfamiliar waters, the Norsemen aboard the wooden ship spied a new land, dropped anchor and went ashore. Half a millennium before Columbus “discovered” America, those Viking feet may have been the first European ones to ever have touched North American soil.

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Exploration was a family business for the expedition’s leader, Leif Eriksson (variations of his last name include Erickson, Ericson, Erikson, Ericsson and Eiriksson). His father, Erik the Red, founded the first European settlement of Greenland after being expelled from Iceland around A.D. 985 for killing a neighbor. (Erik the Red’s father, himself, had been banished from Norway for committing manslaughter.) Eriksson, who is believed to have been born in Iceland around A.D. 970, spent his formative years in desolate Greenland. Around A.D. 1000, Eriksson sailed east to his ancestral homeland of Norway. There, King Olaf I Tryggvason converted him to Christianity and charged him with proselytizing the religion to the pagan settlers of Greenland. Eriksson converted his mother, who built Greenland’s first Christian church, but not his outlaw father.

Icelandic legends called sagas recounted Eriksson’s exploits in the New World around A.D. 1000. These Norse stories were spread by word of mouth before becoming recorded in the 12th and 13th centuries. Two sagas give differing accounts as to how Eriksson arrived in North America. According to the “Saga of Erik the Red,” Eriksson crossed the Atlantic by accident after sailing off course on his return voyage from Norway after his conversion to Christianity. The “Saga of the Greenlanders,” however, recounts that Eriksson’s voyage to North America was no fluke. Instead, the Viking explorer had heard of a strange land to the west from Icelandic trader Bjarni Herjolfsson, who more than a decade earlier had overshot Greenland and sailed by the shores of North America without setting foot upon it. Eriksson bought the trader’s ship, raised a crew of 35 men and retraced the route in reverse.

After crossing the Atlantic, the Vikings encountered a rocky, barren land in present-day Canada. Eriksson bestowed upon the land a name as boring as the surroundings—Helluland, Norwegian for “Stone Slab Land.” Researchers believe this location could possibly have been Baffin Island. The Norsemen then voyaged south to a timber-rich location they called Markland (Forestland), most likely in present-day Labrador, before finally setting up a base camp likely on the northern tip of the island of Newfoundland.

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The Vikings spent an entire winter there and benefitted from the milder weather compared to their homeland. They explored the surrounding region abounding with lush meadows, rivers teeming with salmon, and wild grapes so suitable for wine that Eriksson called the region Vinland (Wineland).


The story of the Viking exploration is contained in the sagas that passed by word-of-mouth from one generation to another before being committed to paper. Modern archeological evidence has substantiated much of the saga's story.

We join Leif Ericsson as he leads his crew from Labrador - which he named "Woodland" - to Newfoundland.

"Now sailed they thence into the open sea with a northeast wind, and were two days at sea before they saw land, and they sailed thither and came to an island which lay to the eastward of the land, and went up there and looked round them in good weather, and observed that there was dew upon the grass. And it so happened that they touched the dew with their hands, and raised the fingers to the mouth, and they thought that they had never before tasted anything so sweet.

After that they went to the ship and sailed into a sound which lay between the island and a promontory which ran out to the eastward of the land, and then steered westward past the promontory.

It was very shallow at ebb tide, and their ship stood up so that it was far to see from the ship to the water. But so much did they desire to land that they did not give themselves time to wait until the water again rose under their ship, but ran at once on shore at a place where a river flows out of a lake. But so soon as the waters rose up under the ship, then took they boats, and rowed to the ship, and floated it up the river, and thence into the lake, and there cast anchor, and brought up from the ship their skin cots, and made there booths.

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After this they took counsel and formed the resolution of remaining there for the winter, and built there large houses. There was no want of salmon either in the river or in the lake, and larger salmon than they had before seen. The nature of the country was, as they thought, so good that cattle would not require house feeding in winter, for there came no frost in winter, and little did the grass wither there.

Day and night were more equal than in Greenland or Iceland, for on the shortest day the sun was above the horizon from half past seven in the forenoon till half past four in the afternoon..."

The discovery of grapes gives the new land a name

"It happened one evening that a man of the party was missing, and this was Tyrker the German. This Leif took much to heart, for Tyrker had been long with his father and him, and loved Leif much in his childhood. Leif now took his people severely to task, and prepared to seek for Tyrker, and took twelve men with him. But when they had got a short way from the house, then came Tyrker towards them and was joyfully received.

Viking Longship
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Leif soon saw that his foster father was not in his right senses... Then said Leif to him: 'Why were thou so late, my fosterer, and separated from the party?' He now spoke first for a long time in German, and rolled his eyes about to different sides, and twisted his mouth, but they did not understand what he said. After a time he spoke Norsk. 'I have not been much farther off, but still I have something new to tell of; I found vines and grapes.'

'But is that true, my fosterer?' quoth Leif.

'Surely is it true,' replied he, 'for I was bred up in a land where there is no want of either vines or grapes.'

They slept for the night, but in the morning Leif said to his sailors: 'We will now set about two things, in that the one day we gather grapes, and the other day cut vines and fell trees, so from thence will be a loading for my ship.' And that was the counsel taken, and it is said their longboat was filled with grapes. Now was a cargo cut down for the ship, and when the spring came they got ready and sailed away; and Leif gave the land a name after its qualities, and called it Vineland.

They sailed now into the open sea, and had a fair wind until they saw Greenland, and the mountains below the glaciers..."

From:  http://www.eyewitnesstohistory.com/vikings.htm
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Watched some shows on this, and yep, there's been Viking Artifacts found, that predate any other "peoples" that claim to have been the first to land on American soil!

good find, Titanic!
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Coincidentally, around that time there was a sharp decline in the population of North America due to a mystery disease that spread from tribe to tribe and nation to nation. The population was just starting to rebound when the Pilgrims landed in MA.
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Nice to see you posting here Titanic.

I disagree that the Vikings discovered America, rediscovered maybe or followed ancient maps but the Phoenicians were here in 3,000 BC mining Michigan's copper.

The Clovis people were here before too.
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