What Happened to the Greenland Norse?

By | September 14, 2019

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Source: (gettyimages.com)

For four centuries the Norse Vikings had a colony on Greenland that had regular contact with Europe.

One day it vanished.

What happened?

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Erik the Redi killing an Icelandic chief. Source: (gettyimages.com)

Erik the Red

The story begins in about the year 960 when a ten-year-old boy from Rogaland in the southwest tip of Norway was exiled to Iceland with his father, Thorvald Asvaldsson. Thorvald was guilty of manslaughter and his son Erik the Red, so-called by the color of his hair, went with his father and the rest of the family to Iceland’s Hornstrandir region.

Erik by most accounts was, like his father, tempestuous. Both were landholders and the head of clans. But Erik fell afoul of his neighbors in disputes which led to feuds and murders. He ended up exiled on two occasions. On the second in 982, he opted to leave Iceland rather than face potentially lethal blood feuds.