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King Ethelred the Unready (978-1016)
Vinland : Scandinavian warrior Leif Ericson was sent to bring Christianity to Greenland, but accidentally discovered North America instead.
Vinland

Based on The Saga of Eric the Red (12th century).

A Viking settlement dated to around AD 1000 was uncovered in 1960 on the northernmost tip of Newfoundland, with more sites in the region tentatively identified in 2012. Suddenly, a tale from the Norse sagas, routinely dismissed as myth, looked very different.

A map showing Norway, Greenland and Newfoundland.

OLAF Tryggvason became a Christian while visiting the Scilly Isles and England in 994, and after he came to the throne of Norway in 997, he entrusted Leif Ericson, one of his royal bodyguards and a fellow-Christian, with the conversion of the Orkneys and of Greenland, Leif’s home.

However, Leif’s ship was driven far off her homeward course. When at last he sighted land, it was not Greenland, nor anywhere he knew. But he remembered that his father Eric’s friend Bjarni Herjólfsson had reported seeing land far out west.

More curious than Bjarni, Leif came ashore, and found two fellow-Scandinavians there, survivors of a shipwreck.*

On his return to Greenland, Leif mounted a full-scale expedition in Bjarni’s ship: his brief glimpse had promised salmon, maples for timber, and vines, and he was not disappointed.

Leif established a permanent outpost there at the Gulf of St Lawrence, in what he called Vinland, and his merchants became the first European settlers in North America.

* These two shipwrecked mariners were the first recorded Europeans to set foot in North America, not Leif Ericson, nor John Cabot in 1497.

Based on The Saga of Eric the Red (12th century).

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Picture: © Tony Webster, Wikimedia Commons. Licence: CC BY-SA 2.0. View original
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