37 Fun Facts About Leif Erikson: You Probably Didn't Know! | Kidadl


37 Fun Facts About Leif Erikson: You Probably Didn't Know!

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Leif Erikson, a name that sounds typically Icelandic, was in fact, one of the oldest and most prominent of the Norse explorers of his generation.

Leif Erikson, an 11th-century Norse explorer has been credited with discovering the North American continent. This Viking explorer was an active member of the voyage to explore eastern North America.

However, as old as this Viking explorer's discovery may seem, he is treated as one of the most notable historical figures in the United States of America and also in other Norse sagas.

In 1887, Americans placed Leif Erikson’s statue in Boston for his contribution to continental exploration. It is today known as the oldest public statue. Erikson is also known to have established the first Norse settlement on the shores of Vinland (which is basically the old name for coastal North America).

Leif Erikson was the son of the founder Erik the Red, a Viking adventurer who is known to have established the prime Norse settlement in Greenland. Leif Eriksson was also distantly related to Naddodd, a Faroese explorer who discovered Iceland by accident after being blown off-course from his voyage between early medieval Norway and the Faroe Islands. However, Erikson's life story has been vivaciously interpreted by various sagas that it has become a difficult task to pinpoint the exact details of his life. Though, it is known that in the year 999, Leif Erikson became the bodyguard of King Olaf of Norway.

Leif Erikson Day is celebrated on the same day as the arrival of the ship Resaturation from Norway to New York which occurred on 9 October 1925. Leif Erikson made his journey to North America almost 500 years before the birth of Christopher Columbus. Read on for some more interesting facts about Leif's voyage to discover America. Afterward, also check Antoninus Pius facts and facts about Dwight D. Eisenhower.

The Early Life Of Leif Erikson

Leif Erikson was born into a family of adventurers and explorers. His father was Erik the Red, a prominent Norse explorer who founded Greenland, and his mother was Thjodhild.

So, the aspect of exploring had been with Erikson since birth, and in fact, his grandfather was Thorvald Asvaldsson, who was once exiled for manslaughter and later became the colonizer of Greenland. Although the birthplace of Erikson is usually debated, many agree that he was born between 970 and 980C. He grew up with his three siblings, two brothers named Thorstein and Thorvald, and a sister who was called Freydis.

During the colonization of Greenland, most of his childhood was overseen by one of Erik the Red's thralls (slaves), whose nurturing deeply impacted Erikson. There are certain historical sagas in which Leif Erikson referred to Tryker (the slave’s name) as his 'foster father'.

Before advancing to his successful voyage, Erikson spent considerable time in the Norwegian king's, Olaf Tryggvesson, court. This court also happened to be the place where he converted to Christianity. The early life of this Viking explorer was full of varied influences, but he was most impacted by the adventures of his successful father, Erik the Red.

What is an interesting fact about Leif Erikson?

Leif Erikson was one of the first European explorers before Christopher Columbus to have discovered North America, which then he called Vinland. This discovery was 500 hundred years prior to Christopher Columbus's accidental discovery of the North American continent. Here are some interesting facts pertaining to Leif Erikson:

During occasional sailing between Greenland and Iceland, both father and son spent some quality time together. Throughout this time, Leif Erikson learned extensively about deep-sea sailing and navigation from his father Erik the Red.

Erikson discovered America when he set sail for Greenland. After landing on the shores of what he called Vinland, he was deeply impressed by what he saw.

However, the legacy of Leif Erikson is not just restricted to North America. His large statues can be witnessed in nordic nations as well. His statues are found in Norway, Iceland, and the United States.

Leif Erikson was a significant inspiration to the Europeans when they crossed the Atlantic while exploring the New World.

According to an Icelandic saga, Erikson had actually planned his voyage with his father but when his father fell from a horse it was declared as a bad omen and the plan had to be called off.

Where was Leif Erikson born?

The birthplace of Leif Erikson is often a matter that is extensively debated.

The reason for this is the lack of information about the place he was conceived. Details are found in bits and pieces in many Icelandic sagas and other historical reports.

Although his birthplace is often omitted, numerous historical insights often suggest that it is likely that Leif Erikson was born in Iceland, perhaps at the farm of Thornhill on the landscapes of Iceland. Leif Erikson was born around the late 10th century.

Leif Erikson Timeline

Leif Erikson is known for his amazing, adventurous spirit, and he a prominent figure for Viking explorers. The discovery of North America happens to be a story of confusion and enchantment.

Before sailing for the great voyage, Leif Erikson converted to Christianity which also meant he was considered a Christian missionary. After his return, he built the first church in the region of Greenland and also converted his family to Christianity.

The journey of Leif Erikson, from being the son of an adventurer to the prominent Nordic explorer whose sailing off course led to the discovery of North America, creates a timeline that is both fascinating and unique. So here is the timeline of Leif Erikson, also known as Leif the lucky:

975: Erikson was born on a farm somewhere in Iceland.

982: His father Erik the Red, founded Greenland after his banishment from Iceland.

999: The first voyage for Leif Erikson advanced to Norway.

1000: Leif converted to Christianity after meeting King Olaf.

1001: A return journey to Greenland went off course and landed in North America which Erikson named Vinland.

1001: Erikson stayed in Vinland for the winter, and then journeyed back to Greenland.

1025: He lived in Greenland after the voyage until his death, and his son was later made into the chief of Greenland.

Lief Erikson made the journey to North America much before Christopher Columbus.

What did Leif Erikson discover?

Leif Erikson, the son of Erik the Red, discovered the North American continent when he was returning to Greenland. Due to the harsh, unchanging weather, Erik was blown off course in another direction.

The ship he was sailing carried about thirty-five men. However, before venturing into North America, he encountered various small islands on his way there. He discovered an island near Cape Porcupine which he named Markland. Then, after further sailing west, the whole crew came across land which was teeming with rich vegetation and contained great supplies of salmon. Somewhere around this time, he came across a land that was full of grapes and vines, and due to their overwhelming occurrence, he named the place Vinland (Wineland).

This occurred 500 years before Columbus set sail and accidentally discovered North America. This Viking adventurer and son of the founder of Greenland located the land and even named it. However, this fact only came into light in the early 19th century when scholars and explorers came across the reports and chronicles of the Icelandic sagas. In 1963, archaeologists came upon the Viking-styled settlement, in northern Newfoundland (Canada) which confirmed the description of Vinland.

Awards And Honors Of Leif Erikson

The legacy of Leif Erikson continues to live in various parts of the world, particularly in the Nordic regions.

Many explorers who hailed after him, saw Leif as the source of ingenuity and continued their voyages, dedicating them to him. On 9 October every year, Leif Erikson Day is celebrated in the United States of America. President Calvin Coolidge announced that Leif Erikson was the first European explorer to discover America.

In 2015, the Iceland government established a yearly award ceremony which they named the Leif Erikson Awards. However, the main reason for the organization of this award is down to the Exploration Museum which is located in Iceland. This is an award given to any individual who excels and makes a valuable contribution in the field of exploration. The Leif Erikson Awards are also occasionally referred to as the Exploration Awards.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for 37 Fun facts about Leif Erikson: You probably didn't know! then why not take a look at Bob Dylan facts, or Abby Lee Miller facts?

Written By
Supriya Jain

<p>As a skilled member of the Kidadl team, Shruti brings extensive experience and expertise in professional content writing. With a Bachelor's degree in Commerce from Punjab University and an MBA in Business Administration from IMT Nagpur, Shruti has worked in diverse roles such as sales intern, content writer, executive trainee, and business development consultant. Her exceptional writing skills cover a wide range of areas, including SOP, SEO, B2B/B2C, and academic content.</p>

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