Monday, October 6, 2014

Leif Erickson

A Day For A Viking: October

Explorers have courage and go where no one has gone before. Viking Leif Erikson was the son of Erik the Red and became an explorer just like his father. Erik the Red was known for exploring and colonizing sections of Greenland, but it was his son that went on an exploration that would change history and result in a revolutionary discovery that would make him a figure in history forever.

Birth of Leif Erikson

The actual details of Leif Erikson’s birth and early years are highly debatable. However, it is believed strongly that he was born in Greenland and grew up in this region. This is due to the fact that Erik the Red set sail to Norway for only a year and returned to Greenland. This means that most of Leif Erikson’s early years were likely spent in this region.

Bjarni Herjulfsson

The epic exploration of Leif Erikson might have never took place without the contribution made by Bjarni Herjulfsson was the first to see the land far west, which was believed to be North America. However, a heavy storm kept him from actually setting foot on shore. It is believed that Leif Erikson heard of Herjulfsson’s adventure and wanted to set out on a quest of his own to actually set foot on North America. It is even told that Erikson actually bout Bjarni’s boat to take off on his exploration.

Three Landfalls Along the Way

During his route to North America Erikson made three landfalls along the way. He gave the first the name of Helluland, which is now referred to as Labrador. The second he called Markland, but it is thought to be Newfoundland. The third location is not completely known, but he named it Vinland. Erikson actually spent winter with his men in Vinland.

Discovered the New World

Even though many acknowledge that Christopher Columbus discovered the New World, it was Leif Erikson that made his way to North America first. In 1964 President Lyndon B. Johnson reinforced this belief by giving a stamp of approval to Viking Leif Erikson’s claim to title of New World discoverer. Leif Erikson will always have a place in history for his contribution and his courage to explore uncharted land. His legend lives on in Scandinavian groups and clubs established in America. They celebrate October 9 as Leif Erickson Day. Erickson is definitely a folk hero!

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