by William T. Bartlett-2002
Eric the Red leaves Norway (around 982)
Erick the Red was the son of Thorvald [son of Asvald] and both had to leave
their home in Norway and sailed to Iceland because of some killings.
They built a home at Drangar, and thatís where Erick married Thjodhild, the
daughter of Journd Ulfsson and Thorbjord a Ship-bosom. They cleared land for
farming at Haukadal and built a home called Eiriksstadir. While Erick was
clearing his land, the slaves caused a land slide that fell on the farm of Valthjof
a neighbour. A relative of the farmer, named Eyjolf Saur, hunted Ericís slaves
and killed them. Then Erick the Red killed Eyjolf Saur and otherís of his family
members. It appears that everyone got unfriendly with Erick; wouldnít sell him
supplies to finish his building and constantly wanted to quarrel with him .
At the Thorsnes Thing, Erick the Red and his friend were branded to be
outlaws. Since they were now hunted men, they naturally, had to go in hiding
for fear of losing their lives. They took their ships, with the help of others and
sneaked around the islands and out of the bays of Iceland to the open seas.
He was going to look for land that he heard about from Gunnbjorn
Ulf-Krakuson. On a past voyage Gunnbjornís ship got blown to the west
during a storm and he saw some new land [These people never wrote down
information everything was orally past on verbatim].
After exploring the seas to the west Erick the Red found the land that he had
heard off and named it Greenland; it was felt that people would be more willing
to go there if it had a pleasant name. He explored the country for three years
(between 982 and 985 Ad.) and made a decision as to where he was going to
build his home that he would call Brattahilidin Eiriksfjord. At the end of the third
winter he sailed back to Iceland where he spent the winter.
The next summer he sailed off again to colonize Greenland and it is said that
there were 25 ships on the voyage but only 14 reached there. Some were lost
at sea and others had to turn back to Iceland.
One of Erick the Red sons made a voyage to Norway and he and his crew
stayed the winter at the home of King Olaf Tryggvason. He was given
instructions on Christianity and both he and his ship mates were baptised. The
following summer he was ordered by the king to sail back to Greenland and
preach the Christian teachings. On his journey he came upon a shipwrecked
crew, whom he rescued and took them to Greenland. Hence he received the
name of Lief the Lucky.
Eirik the Red had a partner in Greenland named Herjolf Herjolfsson, who had
a son named Bjarni Herjolfsson. When Bjarni set sail for Greenland (1001 AD)
to visit his father, he became lost at sea during a storm. Eventually his ship
was blown far to the west where he saw a strange new continent. Following
the coastline north and east he found his way to Greenland.
The Vikings Explore North America-1001AD.
When Lief the Lucky heard of the adventure, Lief went to visit Bjarni and listen
to his stories about the new lands he saw to the west of Greenland. Lief
purchased Bjarniís knarr (cargo ship) and with a crew of 35 sailors he set out
to investigate the land. His father Erick the Red had decided to go to but he fell
off his horse and injured himself. Lief first found a barren coastline here he cast
anchor and went ashore. This land we call today Baffin Island.
He then continued his journey farther west and south when he sighted a
second land. On investigating he found thick forest and sandy beaches. Lief
named this land Markland, today it is known as the Labrador coast. He
proceeded further south until he saw another land across a strait (The Straits
of Belle Isle) that he called Vinland. Here he and his men took their supplies
ashore and built a number of turf, stone and timber buildings and enclosures
called Leifsbudir. Lief was the first European to explore the continent of North
For more information read:
Eirik the Redís Saga
The Penguin Classics-1965
The Norse Atlantic Saga