The First Warriors
The Encounter With The Vikings
Viking Expansion Westward
Caption: The world known to European scholars in about 1350 as transposed on a modern map
Caption: View Multimedia - Encounter with the Vikings
The Skraelings may well have been the first natives in North America to encounter white men, nearly a thousand years ago. The invaders belonged to one of the most aggressive and warlike peoples of the Dark Ages in Europe. Intrepid seafarers, the Vikings landed on the North American continent after many long journeys. Seeking adventure on the high seas, they had set out westward, toward the unknown, reaching Iceland around 860. They began to colonize that island at the end of the ninth century, and it was from there that Eric the Red set sail in 982 to discover Greenland, where two colonies were established. A few years later, a ship commanded by Bjarni sighted a new land to the west: the Canada of today. Bjarni was soon followed by Lief Erickson, who sailed along the coasts of "Helluland," "Markland" and "Vinland," which may have been respectively Baffin Island, the coast of Labrador, and Newfoundland. The discovery of Viking ruins at l'Anse aux Meadows, Newfoundland, have confirmed that attempts to establish small colonies did indeed occur.
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