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500 Years Before Columbus, Viking Explorer Leif Erikson Was Likely The First European To Step Foot In The Americas

Make Like a Tree and Leif: When Viking Explorer Leif Erikson ...

Why does Columbus get a vacation for cruising to the Carribean when Viking leader Leif Erikson presumably landed in North America centuries prior to?

Christopher Columbus has actually become a significantly questionable figure in current years. Discussions of his “discovery” of The United States and Canada should consider the brutal slaughter and mistreatment of Native Americans that occurred in its wake.

What’s more, it’s ended up being ever more extensively understood that Columbus never even set foot in The United States and Canada in the first place. However, proof recommends that another explorer did.

According to both simultaneous accounts and archaeological proof revealed in the 1960s, many scholars now think that Viking explorer Leif Erikson reached The United States and Canada circa 1000 A.D.– which may make him the very first European to ever enter the New World.

But who was Leif Erikson and did he genuinely reach The United States and Canada 500 years before Columbus?

Who Was Leif Erikson?


According to the Ancient History Encyclopedia, Leif Erikson (also spelled Leif Eriksson, Leif Ericson, or Leifr Eiríksson in Old Norse) was born in Iceland around 970-980 A.D. He was nicknamed “Leif the Lucky” by his dad, the popular Erik the Red, who established the first Viking colony in Greenland in the 985 A.D. after he was eradicated from Iceland for murder.

In Greenland, a young Erikson met rich farmers and chieftains who were leaders in this colony. Maybe that’s how he came to want to cruise the Atlantic one summertime.

The truth is, historians do not learn about this– or much of Erikson’s life– for certain.

Undoubtedly, comprehending the history of the Vikings as a whole is not a straightforward task. Most of the details that historians have actually collected on Leif Erikson stems from the 13th-century Vinland Sagas, a collection of tales which inform the story of Erikson’s heritage, starting with his daddy, Erik the Red’s story in the eponymous collection Erik the Red’s Legend. This is followed by The Legend of the Greenlanders, however neither document is by any means totally accurate.

These half-legends are semi-historical accounts and they do prove the assertion that Leif Erikson landed in America centuries prior to Columbus did. However these tales aren’t totally reliable sources either.

Hvalsey Church - Hvalsø Kirke - Greenland Photos - Greenland ...
Hvalsey Church in Greenland

Rather, the accounts were made a note of more than 200 years after the events therein were supposed to have actually occurred. The files do recommend, nevertheless, that these occasions did likely happen, were spoken of in stories that were passed down orally, and described genuine people and real events in some regard.

It does not harmed, either, that the archaeological remains of a Norse settlement at L’Anse aux Meadows in the northern most tip of Newfoundland were discovered in 1961. These remnants were right where the stories said the Vikings had settled.

However long before this proof emerged, the sagas of Leif Erikson’s journeys were the sole documents of his adventures.

There are two different accounts of Erikson’s arrival in North America. One account described in Erik the Red’s Saga asserts that Erikson was blown off course in the Atlantic while sailing back home to Norway and accidentally landed on American shores.

Viking Arm Ring Unearthed in Northern Ireland

The artifact was found in April 2012 while David Taylor and also his brother-in-law Andrew Coulter were getting rid of rocks from a field on Coulter’s farm in the village of Kircubbin in Northern Ireland’s Country Down. After spotting the dirt-encrusted object laying on among the rocks, Taylor took it, incorrectly assuming it might be a piece of machinery of some value. His wife, however, wasn’t persuaded and also recommended he just simply throw it in the garbage. Instead, Taylor spoke to a local museum, which informed that he hadn’t found a piece of machinery, but something much more significant.

For the Vikings, arm rings such as the one found by Dave Taylor were not simply ornamental. They were commonly used to cement bonds of loyalty in between a lord along with his warriors in a society where men lived and even died by their honor. They were usually bestowed upon young adult males to represent their coming of age. On top of that, some groups used the rings– which were made of rare-earth elements– as a form of, easily transportable (and also protectable) currency, in a time before coins or paper money.

Several years ago, an inquest was convened in Belfast Coroners Court, which holds jurisdiction over the discovery under the United Kingdom’s antiquity laws. At the inquest, experts testified that the ring was 90 percent silver (yet additionally included traces of copper and also gold) and likely dated to in between 950 and 1100 A.D. They additionally informed the court that the arm ring really did not come from Ireland but in Scotland, probably in the Orkney Islands or Shetland, which were under Viking control during that time.

Practically as unusual as the ring itself is the reality that it was the only Viking artifact found at the Kircubbin site. Items such as these have actually often been discovered as part of a bigger pile of treasures, such as a 1998 find of Viking jewelry and also silver pieces valued at more than $1 million or the discovery of the Silverdale Hoard in 2011, a collection of over 200 pieces thought to be among the biggest Viking treasure troves ever found in the United Kingdom. That coupled with its likely Scottish origins led professionals to speculate that the ring might have passed from Scottish or Viking control to Irish hands through trade, theft or as a spoil of war. The place of Andrew Coulter’s farm near the remains of a medieval church given additional clues concerning the ring’s possible history. In an era with little in the way of home protection technology, it prevailed practice to bury valuables near sacred, and probably secure, lands such as those owned by churches.

Ragnar Lothbrok Arm Ring

The ring has actually been sent out to the UK’s Treasure Valuation Committee, comprised of antiquity experts from the British Museum as well as in other places, for further study. Along with learning more about the ring’s history, the committee hopes to figure out its monetary value. If Taylor chooses to sell the ring, (with Northern Ireland’s Ulster Museum a most likely destination) he will be legally required to split any kind of proceeds with his brother-in-law, on whose land it was found.