Erik the Red had sailed to the west of Iceland, arriving in 982 on the shores of new land, called Greenland. Three years later, Erik will organize the first colonization expedition of the new land, in which the young Leif also participates. The first trip organized by Leif Ericson took place in the year 999. Leaving Greenland, it will reach the coast of Norway, in the port of Nidaros (Trondheim).

I don’t know who wrote the Wikipedia story about Leif Ericson, but somehow the direction of his travelings are wrong…

The Vikings were exellent navigators and sailors. They used planets and stars on the night sky as a compass. This caused of course problems some times when they met storms and a cloudy sky during their sailing trips.

In nowadays these Vikings are called norse explorers as they lived in the crosspoint of their old religion Asatro and the introduction of Christianity. Truly they were Vikings with high trading and handicraft skills, but also great explorers due to their excellent crafted boats and seamanship. These strong ships was constructed to cross stormy oceans, flat bottomed to row along rivers and also with the ability to be pulled over dry land to find new directions to shorten the travelling route.

Leif was born and grew up on Iceland, which was a part of a mostly Norwegian settlement around the year 980. He’s father Eric the Red was banned an outlaw both in Norway and later on Iceland due to a murder, and had to leave the community there. He left his son Leif to live with a wise man named Thyrkar on Iceland, who later followed Leif on his discovery trip.

On the travel looking for new land Eric the Red discovered what he later called Greenland, a name he choosed to allure more people to consider travel there and settle down. It was on a try to reach the new settlement on Greenland Bjarni Herjólfsson lost direction in a storm and found new land in the west. But he did not go onshore on the stony land and returned to Greenland and Iceland to share his experience about the new discovered land. Later Leif Erikson bought Bjarni’s ship and planned a new trip to explore the new land.

First at the age of 20 he headed for Norway from Iceland in his own ship. First he ended up on the Hebrides islands on this trip, because he direction due to a heavy storm he met. After a short stay in the Hebrides he continued the voyage and reached Norway later in the year 999. Then he converted to Christianity after meeting the Norwegian king Olav in Nidaros. He was ordered by the king to introduce Chistianity to the Greenland settlement to get a trade licence when he travelled back the next year.

After arriving Greenland he set up his ship for the exploration trip and soon left heading to the west. He’s father Eric the Red planned to follow his son’s expedition. Unfortunately Eric fell off his horse on the way to the ship, and took this as a bad sign and stayed on Greenland when the son left.

Then Leif then found Helluland as expected then Markland and Vinland where he stayed over one winter before he returned back to Greenland to introduce Christianity. His father refused to convert to the new religion but his mother did and build the first Christian church there.

After this exploration the norsemen or vikings settled down on Wineland in the following years, but gave up after some years due to problems with the native population.

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A little different story, but more logic when you look at the map…

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