You might have heard that Christopher Columbus discovered America, but this isn’t true. Native tribes had been living there for thousands of years when Columbus landed his ships. Additionally, at least one other European explorer had landed on North America before Columbus – Leif Eriksson the Viking Explorer.
Leif Eriksson was the son of Erik the Red, the great Nordic explorer and warrior. Erik had been kicked out of Greenland and had moved to Iceland. Here, he built a settlement. His son, Leif, sailed to Norway, where he was converted to Christianity by King Olaf I. On his way back to Iceland, Leif landed and discovered North America. He called the place “Vinland,” because the land was covered with wild grapes.
Fun Facts About Leif Eriksson For Kids
- Leif Eriksson visited North America around 1000 A.D., almost 500 years before Columbus made his journeys.
- Eriksson spent a winter there before returning to Iceland. He never sailed to America again.
- Other Viking explorers visited North America. They were meant with fierce attacks from native tribes.
- Researchers aren’t sure exactly where Leif landed, but they believe it might have been at Labrador or Newfoundland, in Canada.
Leif Eriksson Vocabulary
- Warrior: a fierce fighter
- Settlement: village or community
- Christianity: belief in and worship of Christ
- Convert: join a religious faith
- Fierce: harsh, dangerous, hard
All About Leif Eriksson Video for Kids
Watch this awesome video for kids about Leif Eriksson:
Leif Eriksson Q&A
Question: How do we know about Leif’s adventures?
Answer: Several versions of his adventures were passed down through storytelling. They were written down in the book, the Saga of Erik the Red, or “Eiriks saga”, which was published in 1300. Because the stories were passed down for several generations before being written down, they might not be completely accurate.
Question: What is the correct spelling of Leif Eriksson’s name?
Answer: Leif’s real name in Icelandic is Leifur Eiríksson because the Norse alphabet did not have the letter ‘C’. However, his name is adapted and accepted in several different spellings. Some of the names used are Leif Eriksson the Lucky, Leif Eriksson, Leif Ericson, Eiríksson, or Erikson, and Norwegian Leiv Eriksson den Hepne.
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