No, it’s not you say; it’s Columbus Day in the US. Well, if we want to celebrate the first European to visit America, it should be Leif Erikson Day. He visited American 500 years before Columbus, knew it wasn’t India and landed on North America, not the Caribbeans.
Leif Erikson is a Norse or a more modern Scandinavian explorer who landed in North America around 1000 AD. The term Viking that we all use was created in the late 1800s. Viking created the horned helmets in the 1870s for Wagner Opera Der Ring des Nibelungen or The Ring of the Nibelung in English. If you study history long enough, you will have to unlearn what you have learned in school. But to be fair horned helmets are fabulous and just a great costume design.
Back to Leif Erikson, his father, Erik the Red, founded a permanent European settlement in Greenland after being exiled from Iceland. Erik had a dispute with his neighbor that resulted in the Home Owner’s Association kicking him out of Iceland for years. You kill one neighbor, and they are all over you. Please note the words permanent and European to that statement, and the Inuit’s already lived in Greenland before the Norse.
Fun Fact, Erik the Red did call it Greenland as a sale pitch to get people to move there. Second Fun Fact, the Norse don’t have last or family names like in Western World. Leif Erikson is Erikson because his Dad was Erik; he is Leif Erik’s Son. The same is true for women, but they use their Mother’s name and dóttir, daughter.
While on the way to Greenland, Leif was blown off course and came across the land with self-sown wheat (planned vs. wild) and grapevines. In some of the sagas, he also found a few other Norsemen shipwrecked on this land. He started a colony in Vineland (Land of Vinces) and continued to travel and trade goods with Greenland’s people, so he lived to tell the tale or Saga. There are also a few different versions of this saga and additional ones about other people traveling to Vinland and settling there. Sagas are epic poems used to tell of historic deads and adventures in Norse culture.
Record Scratch. Some of you are saying this is bs; why am I only hearing about this now. There are a couple of reasons.
One, there is a history of ignoring oral history.
Two, we have found Norse settlements in Newfoundland, Canada, from around 1000 AD; it’s called L’Anse aux Meadows. https://www.pc.gc.ca/en/lhn-nhs/nl/meadows
Three, nothing came of the colony, it didn’t last long, and the information wasn’t shared or widely known. This happens in history. Dutch explorer Willem Janszoon landed in Australia before James Cook, but England created the permanent colony. Edison didn’t invent the lightbulb; he just made the most commercially used version. Quick, what was the alternate to blue-ray, and how many people know the answer because they purchased the HD and then had to re-buy all their movies when blue-ray became the standard.
If we look at Columbus’s discovery, it was well known and led to the colonization of North, Central, and South America. That’s why he gets a day named after him; he didn’t think the world was flat; he (and others) just thought the Earth was smaller.
Leif didn’t get a Federal Holiday, but he is represented in statues in the USA and Iceland, and we can all agree he didn’t skip leg day.
The back of this statue says, “Leifr Ericsson. Son of Iceland. Discoverer of Vínland. The United States of America to the People of Iceland on the one-thousandth Anniversary of the Althing A. D. 1930”.