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The Vikings in America and Greenland - page 4 / 19





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There is considerable other evidence that Vikings were in America in addition to the excavations in L'Anse-aux-Meadows. For example, the Vinland Map says that the Vikings were in Vineland (North America) in the 11th century. The Saga of the Greenlanders mentioned above, now recognized as being largely accurate, records that Leif set out in the year 1002 or 1003 to follow Bjarni's route with 35 crew members. The saga states that the first land he sighted was covered with flat rocks. He therefore called it Helluland ("Land of the Flat Stones"). This was possibly Baffin Island. Next he came to a land that was flat and wooded, with white sandy beaches. He called this Markland ("Wood-land"), which is possibly Labrador. Leif and his crew left Markland and again found land, which they named Vinland. They landed and built a small settlement. They found the area pleasant as there were wild grapes and plenty of salmon in the river. The climate was mild, with little frost in the winter, so they remained there over the winter.

On the return voyage, Leif is said to have rescued an Icelandic castaway named Þórir and his crew—an incident that earned Leif the nickname Leif the Lucky. Only the Erikson visit and subsequent colonization in Labrador, however, are recognized as historical fact. Historians agree that archeological studies of L'Anse-aux-Meadows have demonstrated that it was indeed a Viking settlement dated around 1,000 AD.

The Vinland Map

The Vinland Map, dated at about 1450 (before Columbus set sail), shows part of North America, all of Europe, part of Africa, all of Asia, and all of Iceland and Greenland. Greenland, in particular, is mapped with amazing accuracy. [http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/arts/history/undergraduate/modules/hi127/programme/e xpansion/vinland_map.jpg]

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