Leif The Viking
Leif the Viking.
1,000 year ago it now seems to be the opinion that the New World of North America was discovered by Leif Ericson the Viking. Europe remained in total darkness of this New World for five hundred years. Thus Europe claimed Columbus to be the discoverer in 1500.
Leif Ericson was the son of Eric the Red and grew up in Iceland. Owing to the fact that Eric the Red fled from Norway because he had killed many men. After settling in Iceland for some years Eric the Red was banned for slaying a man and took Leif with him. Sailing west they discover a land, which they called Greenland, even though it was ice. This was to encourage others to follow them and Eric the Red built up a colony that in time became three hundred and thirty Norsemen. This colony was to remain in Greenland four hundred years.
During the voyage Leif learned how to be a good sailor. At twenty-four Leif was asked to Captain his first voyage with fourteen crew. This was to take gifts to the King Olaf of Norway. But because the weather was not in their favour they sailed further south then they realised, and came to the south island of the Hebrides. Having to stay for a month because of the weather Leif got friendly with Thorgunna who was learned in witchcraft. Before Leif left for Norway Thorgunna became with child and said it would be a boy. The child was named Thorgils and was the only child known to be Leif’s.
Leif went to Norway when the weather changed, and after meeting the king, saw no reason to rush back to Greenland. The King told Leif that he worshiped the same God as Leif did at one time and a plague struck Norway and many died. The King turned to Christ and was baptised with many Norwegians and the plague stopped, Leif was converted.
When Leif arrive back to Greenland he decided to search the seas of the west and found land he named Slab land or Flat Rock Land, which is now believed to be Boffin Land. He then went south and found a white beach with trees and so many grapes they called it Vinland. With abundant salmon in lakes and streams which is now known today as Newfoundland.
When Eric the Red died Leif became the ruler of Greenland and subsequently he successfully converted the people to Christianity.Leif became wealthy and respected; he was later called Leif the Lucky.
U.S.A. officially approved Leif’s right to the title to the discovery of North America in 1964 proclaiming 9th October as Leif Ericson day.
Joyce Gale © 2003
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