The First Warriors

The Encounter With The Vikings

Attempts at Colonizing Vinland

A view of a Viking settlement in America

Caption: A view of a Viking settlement in America

View Multimedia - Encounter with the Vikings

Caption: View Multimedia - Encounter with the Vikings

Some years passed and another Viking colony, composed of sixty men and five women with some livestock, was established in Vinland under a leader named Karlsefni. Shortly after their arrival, Skraelings emerged from the forest. They wanted to exchange furs for weapons, but Karlsefni strictly forbade the Vikings to do this. The furs were therefore exchanged for red cloth, which the natives wrapped around their heads as a kind of headdress. These friendly relations turned sour when a native was killed for trying to steal weapons. A battle ensued, and according to the Saga of Eric the Red, the Skraelings came armed this time with slings as well as bows and arrows. Projectiles "rained down like hail on the Vikings." The natives also used a curious spherical object, blue-black in colour, which they threw into the enemy camp with the help of a thin pole. As it fell from the sky, the object spun, making a hideous noise. Struck with terror, the Vikings believed themselves surrounded and thought only of fleeing for their lives. Seeing the Viking rout, Karlsefni's wife, Freydis, seized the sword of one of the men who had been killed by a flat stone to the head, and turned to face the natives. Her courage rallied the Viking forces, who succeeded in turning the tide. Nevertheless, the colonists decided that their situation was untenable as a result of this battle and, shortly thereafter, abandoned the village.

Additional Images

The bay at l’Anse aux Meadows, Newfoundland
Norman (or Viking) axeman, 10th century
A Norman (or Viking) warrior wielding a battle axe