Viking Exploration of the New World

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Columbus’ Famous First Journey

1000 – Viking Exploration of the New World

Viking Exploration of the New World

After the divergence of European and Asian populations and the populations of the New World, Europe developed many warlike, feudal cultures. As land ownership was the basis of these cultures, there was a never-ending need for more territory. This led to all corners of Europe being explored and populated. In an effort to gain new land, a group of Europeans known as Vikings settled several islands to the west of mainland Europe. And to discourage other groups from similar exploration, one of their greatest chiefs, Erik the Red, named his island Iceland. This name was a severe misnomer, as the island was warm and easy to farm. Erik also named a large island to the west Greenland. The irony is that all but the smallest portion of Greenland was covered in ice and uninhabitable.

Seeking a domain of his own, Erik’s son, Leif, set out across the Atlantic Ocean with a party in longboats, making landfall in modern Newfoundland. Although the area was rich in fish, the soil was not particularly fertile, meaning that Viking settlement in the New World was never permanent, and within one hundred years, all of the settlements had been abandoned.

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