Leif Ericsson

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Leif Ericsson

(lēf ĕr`ĭksən), Old Norse Leifr Eiriksson, fl. A.D. 999–1000, Norse discoverer of America, b. probably in Iceland; son of Eric the RedEric the Red,
fl. 10th cent., Norse chieftain, discoverer and colonizer of Greenland according to the sagas. He left (c.950) Norway with his exiled father and settled in Iceland. A feud resulting in manslaughter led to his banishment (c.981) from Iceland for three years.
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. He spent his youth in Greenland and in 999 visited Norway, where he was converted to Christianity and commissioned by King Olaf I to carry the faith to Greenland. According to the "Saga of Eric the Red" in the collection of sagas known as Hauksbok, it was on the return voyage from Norway to Greenland in 1000 that Leif Ericsson, blown off his course, discovered hitherto unknown lands in which he found grapes, self-sown wheat, and a species of trees called "mausur." He landed, secured specimens, and continued to Greenland, where he was successful in introducing Christianity. In another version of the story, interpolated in the "Saga of Olaf Tryggvason" in the Flateyjarbok, Leif completed his mission to Greenland, set out from there c.1002 on a voyage to western lands, discovered several places, and settled for a winter in VinlandVinland
or Wineland,
section of North America discovered by Leif Ericsson 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
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. This account is much more detailed, but the account in the "Saga of Eric the Red" is more widely accepted. Many scholars believe that Leif Ericsson landed on some part of the North American coast, but there has been no agreement on the modern identity of Vinland. Various sites have been nominated, from Newfoundland (where evidence of Norse settlement has been found) to Virginia. For the sources, see A. M. Reeves, The Finding of Wineland (1895, repr. 1973).

Bibliography

See also E. F. Gray, Leif Eriksson (1930, repr. 1972); M. Thordarson, The Vinland Voyages (1930); E. Reman, The Norse Discoveries and Explorations in America (1949).


Ericsson, Leif:

see 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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.