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section of North America discovered by Leif EricssonLeif Ericsson
, Old Norse Leifr Eiriksson, fl. A.D. 999–1000, Norse discoverer of America, b. probably in Iceland; son of Eric the Red. He spent his youth in Greenland and in 999 visited Norway, where he was converted to Christianity and commissioned by King Olaf I
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 in the 11th cent. The sources for the knowledge of Leif Ericsson's exploration differ as to whether it was planned or accidental, but it is definitely known that he found a land containing grapes and self-sown wheat, which he called Vinland. Later expeditions, particularly that of Thorfinn KarlsefniThorfinn Karlsefni
, fl. 1002–15, Norse leader of an attempt to colonize North America. He appeared in Greenland in 1002 and married Gudrid, widow of one of the sons of Eric the Red. He set out c.
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, attempted to rediscover that land. There has been much speculation as to the identification of Vinland. Places from Newfoundland to Virginia have been suggested. Efforts such as those by Eben N. Horsford, who in the late 19th cent. definitely located Vinland on the banks of the Charles River at Gerry's Landing, Cambridge, Mass., have usually met with little agreement. Inscriptions and relics have been sought to throw light on the subject. The discovery of the Kensington RunestoneKensington Rune Stone,
much-disputed stone found (1898) on a farm near Kensington, Minn., SW of Alexandria. Inscribed on the stone in runes is an account of a party of Norse explorers, 14 days' journey from the sea, who camped nearby in 1362 and lost 10 of their men, presumably
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 has been connected by Hjalmar R. Holand with the expedition of Paul Knutson to America. Holand has further claimed that the Newport Tower (or Old Stone Mill), in Touro Park, Newport, R.I., was the headquarters of Knutson's expedition, but some scholars maintain that the tower was built in colonial times. In 1960, Helge Ingstad, interpreting the word Vinland as "grass land" rather than "wine land," discovered remains of a Norse settlement dating from A.D. 1000 at L'Anse aux Meadows, N Newfoundland. A second possible Viking site may have been found on Point Rosee, SW Newfoundland, in 2015. In the mid-1960s much discussion revolved around the so-called Vinland Map, a world map showing Vinland and said to date from 1440. Despite exhaustive subsequent analysis of the map, its ink, and the vellum on which it was drawn, its authenticity continues to be debated.


See W. Hovgaard, The Voyages of the Norsemen to America (1914, repr. 1971); H. Hermannsson, The Problem of Wineland (1936, repr. 1966); F. J. Pohl, The Lost Discovery (1952); H. R. Holand, Explorations in America before Columbus (2d ed. 1958); H. M. Ingstad, Westward to Vinland (1969); W. E. Washburn, ed., Vinland Map Conference: Proceedings (1971); R. A. Skelton et al., The Vinland Map and the Tartar Relation (exp. ed. 1996); W. W. Fitzhugh and E. I. Ward, ed., Vikings: The North Atlantic Saga (2000).



(“land of grapes”), the name given by the Norsemen to a part of the northeastern coast of North America (according to several sources, between 40° and 45° N lat.), which was discovered by Leif Ericson circa 1000. Norwegian archaeologists, exploring the northern part of the island of Newfoundland, uncovered the remains of buildings similar to Scandinavian houses typical of the Viking era.


Gurevich, A. la. Pokhody vikingov. Moscow, 1966.


, Vineland
the stretch of the E coast of North America visited by Leif Ericson and other Vikings from about 1000
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