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The Vikings in America and Greenland - page 16 / 19

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Were the Vikings in America 3,000 or more years ago?

There is even substantial evidence for a Viking presence in America as long ago as 3,000 years. At Peterborough, Canada, 50 miles northeast of Toronto, there is a large limestone rock covered with ancient inscriptions. One of these inscriptions bears the name of a “Slave of Woden” from Norway who wrote that he was there to trade for “high quality copper.” The inscription is dated at about 1,500 BC.—3,000 years before Columbus. This inscription may shed light on the discovery over the years of some 5,000 ancient copper mines along the North Shore of Lake Superior. [Patrick Huyghe, Columbus Was Last, (New York: MJF Books, 1992,) pp. 57-63]

Phoenician trading ships were sailing in a far-reaching network at that time (1500 BC), and copper was highly prized because it could be mixed with tin to make bronze, which (see “Ancient Maps,” CMods Unit 2, #5) is 88% copper and 12% tin. Bronze was extraordinarily useful for various tools, weapons, musical instruments, art works and all sorts of other metal devices. Could the people on the North Shore of Lake Superior, perhaps by way of Viking and Phoenician traders, have been supplying copper for the “civilized” world of 3.500 years ago? Perhaps so. There is, however, no consensus among historians that such was the case.

The Vikings become Christians

The Vikings came into contact with Christianity through their raids and their colonies. When they settled in lands with a Christian population, they adopted Christianity quite quickly. This was true in Normandy, Ireland, and throughout the British Isles.

In addition to the many conversions abroad, the Viking Age also saw a gradual conversion in Scandinavia itself as Anglo-Saxon and German missionaries arrived to convert the pagans. By the mid-11th century, Christianity was well established in Denmark and most of Norway. By the mid-12th century Christianity had became established in Sweden as well.

The Viking conversion to Christianity had begun as early as 793 when monks at Lindisfarne, a monastery founded by Irish monk Aidan were kidnapped by Vikings. The new slaves demonstrated Christianity to their masters in their work, and a goodly number of Vikings converted to Christianity as a consequence. Slowly Christianity spread through the Vikings lands. When the Viking leaders such as Olaf Trygvesson, Olaf Haroldsson, Hakon the Good of Norway, Erling Skalljsson, and Harald Greycloak began to convert, it spread much faster. Christian king Olaf Haroldsson was especially instrumental in having Norway's remaining pagans converted, by force if necessary.

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