Today I would like to tell you about three men. Their names are Erik the Red and Leif the Lucky. When we hear of Vikings we think of one or both of these men. But how much do we actually now about them?
First off we need some background information. Erik the Red was born in Norway, somewhere near the town of Stvavanger. His father, a man by the name of Thovald Asvaldsson, got involved in a bloody feud and killed a man. He was banished to Iceland where Erik was born.
After Erik the Red married, he killed two men. Like father like son! Erik was then exiled to water or he had to travel for three years. He had heard about land to the west so he led a group of men to go exploring due west. The first year, 982, he landed on the eastern side of Greenland. However the eastern side is very harsh. So the next year, 983, he sailed to the west side. He explored this area for two more years then headed back to Iceland. In 985 he landed back home. Erik then began to promote the land he had discovered. He wanted people to colonize it, but the land was not very inviting. To make it sound more inviting he called it Greenland. He got 450 people to come with him. They landed in a place known as Qagssiarssuk.
Later Leif, his son, tried to convert his father to Christianity, but Erik wouldn’t leave the false gods. Erik died in the winter of 1003. He was buried at a place near the town of Brattahlid.
Leif Ericson or Leif the Lucky was born during the late 970s. In his 20’s went to Norway, and there he was converted to Christianity. He went back to Greenland and his mother became a Christian but his father Erik the Red would not leave his Old Norse gods. In 1001 Leif left Greenland with 35 men. They landed on a place he called Helluland, thought to be on the southwest end of Baffin Island. He the sailed to ‘Markland’, considered to be somewhere on the coat of Labrdor. In the fall of 1001 he landed in Vineland. It seems to be the northeastern tip of Newfoundland. He returned to Greenland in the spring of 1002. His nickname, Leif the Lucky, was given when he saved some castaways. Those men where really lucky!
To wrap it up, Columbus wasn’t the first person to reach North America. It was discovered 300 years before him by Leif the Lucky.