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The Vikings discovered America

Please also refer to
Icelandic sagas
Eiric the Red's Saga
Saga of the Greenlanders

Year What
around 932 Norgegian Gunnbj÷rn Ulfsson also named Gunnbj÷rn Ulf-Krakuson was sailing from Norway to Iceland when blown off course to Greenland but did not land. The exacte date of his jurney is not known.

978 Norgegian SnŠbj÷rn Galti was very likely the first European who placed his feet on Greenland. He tried to settle but without success.

981 Vikings under Eric Thorvaldsson (EirÝkr Ůorvaldsson or Eric the Red) came to Greenland. Eric the Red was exiled from Iceland for punishment. They settled for three years at what is now Julianehaab, Greenland.

985 or 986 By accident Bjarni Herjˇlfsson arrived at the Canadian coast but did not land. He was on the way to Greenland to see his parents when he was drifted west by a storm. Bjarni was son of Bard Herjˇlfsson and Thorgerd. His parents lived in Iceland but went to Greenland so about 985. His findings of land was known in Greenland and in Norway but did not found interest for more than 10 years.

1000 Islandic sagas which were written in the 13th century give different versions how Life Ericsson (son of Eric the Red) arrived to America. But it is most likely that in or about the year 1000 he landed with his ships and a crew of 35 peoples at different spots in north America which were called
Helluland (Land of stones) - probably Baffin Island
Markland (Land of Forest) - probably Labrador Island and
It is believed that this was Labrador and Baffin Island
Vinland (Land of vin and warm). First time written in 1075 by Adam von Bremen. Archeologist now believes that this refers to L'Anse aux Meadows in the almost north of Newfoundland. A viking settlemend is documented at that place

Sagas sais Leif Ericson bought Bjarni's ship for this voyage.

1001 Leif's winter camp 1000/1001 was probably at Cape Bauld (Newfoundland) and was called Leifsb˙­ir. The sagas sais that he spent also the following winter there before returning to BrattahlÝ­ in Greenlan.d
Tyrker or Tyrkir a German and probably a thrall one was found drunk on what Life is was calling "wine-berries". (This could be squashberries, gooseberries or cranberries grewing wild in the area and which can undergo a fermentation.)
1003 or 1004 Thorvald Ericson (brother of Leif Ericson) and 30 men sailed to Vinland and spent the winter at Leif's camp. It is said that Thorvald attacked nine local peoples sleeping. Eight were killed but the ninth escaped. When he was comming back with force they (SkrŠlingsas the Sagas naemed them - means means savages) killed Thorvald in 1005. The other vikings returned to Greenland in spring 1006.

1007 or later Thorstain Ericson (brother of Leif Ericson) sailed to Vinland to retrieve Thorvald's body and came back the same year.

1009 or 1013 Thorfinn Karlsefini (Ůorfinnr Karlsefni, Icelandic trader) arrived with three ships and 160 (or 250) settlers and established a settlement in Vinland. Due to a cruel winter they went south to Straumfjord and later changed to Straums÷y. they four traded with the SkrŠlings for milk and red cloth. But finaly went into conflicts with the natives and left.

Freydis Eiriksdottir and Thorvald Eriksson (half-sister and half-brother of Leif Eriksson) were among these settlers.

Snorri Gu­ri­sson (Snorri Thorfinnsson, Snorri Ůorfinnsson and sometimes named Snorri Karlsefnisson) born by Karlsefni's wife Gu­rÝ­r Ůorbjarnardˇttir (Gu­rÝ­r EirÝksdˇttir) is believed to be born in the Americas. In the Vinland sagas it is said that Snorri was 3 years old, when his family left Vinland.

Later he became important for the Christianisation of Iceland. It is said that he has build the first church of Glaumbaer. The first bishops of Iceland were descendants of Snorri. Thorlak Runolfsson, bishop of Skalholt, was a son of Snorri's daughter Hallfrid and Brand SŠmundarsson, bishop of Hˇlar, was the son of Yngvild, wife of Snorri's son Thorgeir.

1075 In his work "Gesta Hammaburgensis" of Adam von Bremen the name "Vinland" appeared for the very first.

1117 or 1121 Eric Upsi (Eric Gnupsson), bishop of Greenland went to Vinland to reform and returned in 1118 (Island Annals of 1121)

until 1400 Though sporadic voyages for timber could have lasted as long as 400 years ther was no more settlement attempt. Prouve are a Norwegian coin from King Olaf Kyrre (1066 - 1080) found in an archeological site in Maine. In 1347 a ship with timber back to Greenland was blown to Iceland (Iceland Annals form 1347).

Today About 350 Icelanders carries a lineage known as C1, usually seen only on Asians and Native Americans. The best explanation for that errant lineage lies with an American Indian woman who was thaken back to Icelande some 500 years before Columbus.

Vinland was mentioned by Adam of Bremen, a geographer and historian in his work "Description insularum Aquilonis" which was written about 1075. Further he mentionned that King Svend Estridson (Sweyn II Estridsson Ulfsson King of Danmanrk from 1047 to 1076) had knowledges of the nothern lands.

Vinland map

This is a translation of the text written above the Island of Vinland from the Vinland map.

("By God's will, after a long voyage from the island of Greenland to the south toward the most distant remaining parts of the western ocean sea, sailing southward amidst the ice, the companions Bjarni and Leif Eiriksson discovered a new land, extremely fertile and even having vines, the which island they named Vinland. Eric [Henricus], legate of the Apostolic See and bishop of Greenland and the neighboring regions, arrived in this truly vast and very rich land, in the name Almighty God, in the last year of our most blessed father Pascal, remained a long time in both summer and winter, and later returned northeastward toward Greenland and then proceeded [i.e home to Europe?] in most humble obedience to the will of his Superior.")

Two historical events are here described: first, a voyage of discovery by Bjarni [no patronymic] and Leif Eiriksson "southward" from Greenland to Vinland; and second, a visit to Vinland by Bishop Eirik [Gnupsson] in a specified year, viz. A.D. 1117, his stay in the country, and his return.

It is still unsure that this map is real. Carbon 14 dating analyze dats the map around 1434. However, comparing this map to other documents of the 15th century there is a chemical difference titanium doxide) which would date the drawing to the late 1920s.

Indeed the Vikings settled briefly in north America. Archaeology could identify a site at L'Anse aux Meadows, Newfoundland.

The existance of lands east of Iceland was certainly known to the church (Greenland, Iceland and of course Rom) and maybe to a few scholars when Columbus lived. In nordic lands the knowledge of lands behing Iceland and Greenland was maintained by the Sagas which were firstly written in the 13th and 14th century.

It is more than likely that Columbus did had copies of old maps with land in the west or did know that such land would exist.