Talk:Norse colonization of North America

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Addition to the article[edit]

"Beyond doubt, the era’s greatest achievement in geography was the work of our friend Biruni, who used astronomical data to postulate the existence of an inhabited land mass somewhere between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. The astonishing process, which led to this earliest “discovery of America,” is described in detail in chapter 11"

Is it possible Viking stories of the Americas were reaching Central Asia? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:57, 17 September 2014 (UTC)

Hello. I was wondering if it was alright if I add some information from these two books I got from my library. I'm asking because I'm probably going to make a section on the encounters between the Natives and the Norsemen. InternetHero (talk) 15:40, 1 August 2008 (UTC)

As long as your additions have references to go with them, there should be no problem. Dimadick (talk) 17:38, 2 August 2008 (UTC)

Thanks. I've had problems with this before from not introducing myself to the group. I'm having a problem right now on the telescope article and its sub-articles, but i think I'm gonig to get an admin since the gus reverts my edits without the dispute resolution. InternetHero (talk) 20:56, 3 August 2008 (UTC)

I wanted to make a new section for comments, but it won't let me. I'll just ask here.... Can anyone explain the map of the Norsemen's understanding of the world? Is it saying that white AND light green represent known? And grey AND dark green represent unexplored land? The key at the bottom is vague. Maggie3Wink (talk) 04:34, 28 April 2014 (UTC)

Rated for Wikiproject Iceland[edit]

Good for historical importance. But I think this is better than a 'Start' class article? -- JNC2 14:12, 15 April 2014 (UTC)

New lead section[edit]

Hello. Whatever we do, we should adhere to the clauses entitled:

Preserve information

Whatever you do, endeavour to preserve information. Instead of removing, try to:

rephrase correct the inaccuracy while keeping the content move text within an article or to another article (existing or new) add more of what you think is important to make an article more balanced request a citation by adding the [citation needed] tag

Exceptions include:

original research duplication or redundancy irrelevancy patent nonsense copyright violations inaccuracy (attempt to correct the misinformation or discuss the problems first before deletion)

unsourced controversial claims about living persons

Nevertheless, the lead section was probably formed out of a consensus so I think we should have a discussion before editing such an inherent part of the article. Personally, I liked it the way it was before since it was more readable. Discuss. Sincerely, InternetHero (talk) 19:47, 5 August 2008 (UTC)

The lead is not 'new'; as with all Wikipedia documents, it is evolving.
The lead section is not the place to pose or resolve arguments- unless controversy is the very subject of the article. Issues of naming accuracy and national identity of historical figures, such as these, are more appropriately addressed on the talk page. Nor is it a place to summarize common misconceptions- a highly subjective task that is at odds with the purpose of the article: to concisely and succinctly present information pertinent to the subject.
The 'Skrælings' reference is also extraneous to the lead, which would be better were it to find another home; however, I am reticent to remove it. Perhaps it could be worked into the body of the article. As is, it unnecessarily burdens the lead.
Considering that the lead section contained two items of potential contention -Naming Convention and Legacy- discussion here would have been wise considering the personal investment some might have in those positions -regardless of appropriateness to the lead. However, the article must not represent every minority view, and, in the lead, only the pertinent and majority held positions should be represented -lest it not serve it's function.
If the Naming Convention and Legacy issues concern you, develop them in an appropriate section -or article.
The lead was a contorted ramble; its function has been improved by the edits.Mavigogun (talk) 05:18, 6 August 2008 (UTC)

TTT. InternetHero (talk) 20:15, 6 August 2008 (UTC)


The following:

While sailing from Iceland to Greenland with a migration fleet consisting of 3,000 settlers and 25 other ships (14 of which made it without turning back), a merchant named Bjarni Herjólfsson was blown off course and sighted land west of the fleet.

The sentence implies that there were 26 ships: is this the case? If not, the word 'other' should be dropped. Anybody know? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Mavigogun (talkcontribs) 04:37, 6 August 2008 (UTC)

The saga (using the translation referenced by that topic) refers to 35 ships, says 14 turned back, does not mention the number of settlers. It would be nice to have a reliable source for the number (the Time/Life book is probably not a reliable source, though it may refer to one). Tedickey (talk) 10:14, 6 August 2008 (UTC)
Time-Life Books, while notorious for publishing 'truthy' entertainment, occasionally put out something substantial; any opinions on this one?; can anyone substantiate the reference (read and qualified, not a blanket opinion on typical source quality) for the population statement?
I'll reword to reflect the 35 ship number, removing the word 'other'.Mavigogun (talk) 10:35, 6 August 2008 (UTC)
Both of my books say 26 ships in total. 14 of which turned back. I asked an admin once about this dilemma and he said that we should add both numbers (ie. ",but another source states the total number of ships at 35"). Mavigogun, I know you're new to Wikipedia but you should try and sign your posts. It is seen as good etiquette, and Wikipedia relies on the community. InternetHero (talk) 20:20, 6 August 2008 (UTC)
Will you qualify those sources for us (context, source, reason for lending credibility to one figure over another)? The cited material should reflect this. If a reason can not be discerned to credit one over the other, we may not do so.
The edit to the bracketed text removed an idiom and replaced it with precise and succinct wording: 'made it' > 'completed the journey'. What is your justification for favoring the idiom? Idioms are not appropriate in this context.
The word other should be removed and the ship count changed to 26, if accurate.Mavigogun (talk) 05:53, 7 August 2008 (UTC)
TTT. InternetHero (talk) 22:32, 7 August 2008 (UTC)

New additions by Hordaland[edit]

I don't see how they were constructive in any way. InternetHero (talk) 22:13, 14 August 2008 (UTC)

Disussion from ClovisPT's talk-page[edit]


Could you help me out a bit on that page. A user named Hordaland has reverted a lot of my edits. I don't understand. I think I'm a lot better at grammar than him so I would appreciated some comments (if you can). For example: "Unlike Greenland: which has been occupied for 500 years," is completely right: the listing of space (GreenL) is the ultimate placeholder---500 years is of space (just a reaction--indeed, you probably know the big bang theory), etc,. Last time I checked, units (500 years) can be listed. The guy might be racist coz he took the bolded part out in this sentence labeled: "who picked up the sword of a norse that had been killed by a flat stone to the head and charged the natives". He also took out my description of Eirik the Red. A heathen can be compared to Norse paganism. He deleted the story of how Eirik tried to join Leif. I don't understand where this guy/girl is coming from. InternetHero (talk) 22:06, 14 August 2008 (UTC

I don't see how using colons just because you can is a particularly good reason. It's more important to write something which is readable. And random accusations of racism (or was that supposed to be funny?) doesn't really add weight to your arguments. I think some of your other edits are fine, though. TheLastNinja (talk) 08:46, 15 August 2008 (UTC)
Ya, you're right. I just hate using commas too much. The racist thing should probably stop. InternetHero (talk) 09:02, 15 August 2008 (UTC)


Hi shouldn't we add the Vikings to the list for the 'Europoean colonization of the Americas'? I went there earlier and they don't mention them. Did they try to colonize here?? Mister721972 (talk) 00:38, 15 August 2008 (UTC)

Probably. InternetHero (talk) 04:34, 15 August 2008 (UTC)
They weren't Vikings, they were Norsemen! TheLastNinja (talk) 09:03, 15 August 2008 (UTC)

Last version of the Article[edit]

Preceeding edit was vanadlized. Regardless, the massively changed article has been removed so the section was played it role. InternetHero (talk) 16:37, 21 August 2008 (UTC)

Erik's injury[edit]

Changed to: "Leif and others had wanted his father, Erik the Red , to lead this expedition and talked him into it. However as Erik attempted to join his son Leif on the voyage towards the continent of North America, his horse slipped on the wet rocks near the shoreline and he was injured and thus stayed behind."

The sagas agree that Leif and others had to talk Erik into leading the expedition and they agree about the injury involving the horse just before sailing. However, the one saga says he broke a rib and dislocated his shoulder and the other says he "hurt his foot". The word "injured" covers both possibilities without going into great detail. --Hordaland (talk) 14:36, 15 August 2008 (UTC)\

Looks good. InternetHero (talk) 18:26, 15 August 2008 (UTC)
It has also been suggested that Eirik wasn't all that injured, but that he saw the accident with the horse as a bad omen, indicating that he should stay home. He died within a year or two, probably from an epidemic some new settlers brought with them. --Hordaland (talk) 15:12, 18 August 2008 (UTC)

Recent edits[edit]

They don't appear to match any of the previous sources, appear to be introducing the editor's personal opinions in place of facts Tedickey (talk) 19:05, 15 August 2008 (UTC)

I don't see how thats possible. I may have misplaced the dates, but everything else is almost all accurate. InternetHero (talk) 19:26, 15 August 2008 (UTC)


  1. I don't like this heading (Leifsbudir) because most people don't read Icelandic/Norse, and as far as I know it's not a name commonly used about the location. It would be better to rename it back Leif's winter camp.
  2. The article currently says: "It was probably at Cape Bauld, Newfoundland, where Leif wintered in 986". However, two paragraphs earlier it says that Leif didn't go to the American mainland until 1000AD (985 + 15).

TheLastNinja (talk) 19:22, 15 August 2008 (UTC)

  1. Most people don't know what "Ottawa" or "Quebec" mean either. That is what Leif called his camp. The Norse commonly named stuff after them (i.e., Eiriksfjord, Kjalarne/Keelness).
  2. Ya, you're right. Bjarni told him, bt it was 15 years before he actually went. Good find. InternetHero (talk) 19:33, 15 August 2008 (UTC)

I agree that Leifsbudir should again be re-named Leif's winter camp. The official policy Naming conventions only covers article-titles. However, this from its nutshell should apply here, I think: naming "should indicate what the greatest number of English speakers would most easily recognize, with a reasonable minimum of ambiguity..." Very few English speakers, or indeed Norwegian speakers, will recognize Leifsbudir. --Hordaland (talk) 10:36, 16 August 2008 (UTC)

POV and Cleanup tags[edit]

Take a look at what the article used to to look like. I added a lot of flavour to the article and I don't see how my sources can conflict with other sources that had absolutely no info in respect to my additions. I added relevent info thats as accurate as possible from my perspective. I'll get another book later. I think there is only one more available now, though. InternetHero (talk) 19:39, 15 August 2008 (UTC)

Where Wikipedia is concerned, 'as accurate as possible' means 'reflecting the content of quality references' and not 'some of the material is supported by references while other additions are not because no reference could be found.'Mavigogun (talk) 04:44, 16 August 2008 (UTC)
"Flavor" is one way to express it. Factual is not. Tedickey (talk) 19:57, 15 August 2008 (UTC)
I can help address problems of diction and syntax (of which there are many); however, Tedickey, could you be specific regarding claims of additions not supported by reference? Are you speaking to speculation, such as '...Bjarni Herjólfsson was blown off course (probably from Polar wind)...', or the non-encyclopedic phrasings, such as, 'Erik the Red, a cold, two-faced heathen...', or 'Leif Ericson was a big, strapping, bold man always looking for an adventure.'? Some of the later may be fixed with direct quotes from the saga they are sourced from, such as 'As characterized in the X-saga, Leif Ericson was an accomplished ballroom dancer....'. Saying 'I'll find a reference to support my editing' is approaching the function of editor backwards.Mavigogun (talk) 04:11, 16 August 2008 (UTC)
yes - the speculation, for one. The rephrasing (interpretations and extrapolations such as you note, plus the mismatch between the discussion of Freydís Eiríksdóttir and the linked topic's quote). Too much weight is being given to the Time-Life book. Tedickey (talk) 22:04, 16 August 2008 (UTC)
LOL. Wikipedia is not a dictionary. Lets all edit the same way people!! That way we can become like robots. InternetHero (talk) 20:12, 15 August 2008 (UTC)
As long as the material is sourced and not fabricated, we benefit from this policy; equal weight should be attributed to the following words found in the recommendations of the 'Be bold' article: 'Though the boldness of contributors like you is one of Wikipedia's most precious assets, it is important that contributors take care of the common good, or at least that they not edit recklessly.' Reckless in this case is including material unsupported by quality references, or large amounts of non-encyclopedic editing. Wikipedia attempts to be a stylistically coherent reference, and has extensive guidelines established to further this purpose; definite preference is given to uniformity over self expression of the editor.Mavigogun (talk) 04:11, 16 August 2008 (UTC)

Other voyages[edit]

Looking at the Grœnlendinga saga, it appears that we don't have anything on Freydi's expedition in this article yet. Also, I've read somewhere else that there was a bishop Erik/Eric (from Greenland ... or Iceland) who traveled to Vinland in 1121. I'll try and add get this into this article at some point, but am a bit busy at the moment. —Preceding unsigned comment added by TheLastNinja (talkcontribs) 11:57, 18 August 2008 (UTC)

Do you mean Leif's sister, Freydis (or Frøydis)? She's mentioned a couple of times, including this not-so-encyclopedically-written bit: "The situation seemed desperate were it not for Leif Ericson's half-sister Freydís Eiríksdóttir who seized the sword belonging to a man who had been killed by the natives and turned to face them. She ripped open her bodice, as if infusing it with some god-like powers and drove the attackers off." It's cited to "Count" Eric Oxenstierna's book The Norsemen, and perhaps that's where the god-like wording comes from? I've read somewhere that this baring of the breasts in battle situations was common to several germanic tribes.
If a clergyman was in North America as late as 1121, that would be interesting. Cheers. --Hordaland (talk) 15:07, 18 August 2008 (UTC)
The wording doesn't match very closely that from the translation of the Vinland sagas that I have at home - nor other references online. I see it was reviewed here, but that's a subscription-only link. Tedickey (talk) 16:00, 18 August 2008 (UTC)
Hordaland: Yes, that's the Freydis I'm thinking of. Apparently, she led an expedition of her own later after her participation in Thorfinn Karlsefni's expedition. The clergyman is bishop Eric Uppsi aka. Eric Gnupson, and his voyage is very briefly mentioned in the Icelandic Annals of 1121: "Bishop Eric Uppsi sought Wineland." (I've also seen a variation of that quote, perhaps a different translation or perhaps a different annal or copy ...) It doesn't state whether he found Vinalnd or not. TheLastNinja (talk) 18:00, 18 August 2008 (UTC)

Fate of the Greenland colony[edit]

There has been a lot of speculation about what happened to the Greenland colony. Was it a plague? Were the colonists kidnapped? Did they simply leave by their own free will because of colder climate, difficulty in growing food, or because of poverty due to a collapse in the price of ivory? I feel that this should be mentioned in this article.TheLastNinja (talk) 18:13, 18 August 2008 (UTC)

Well, it's already mentioned, so what I meant was that it should be discussed in greater detail. TheLastNinja (talk) 18:11, 19 August 2008 (UTC)
I wonder if the Black death made it to Greenland. It devastated Norway and Iceland, mid 1300s, killing at least 30% and probably more than 50% of the populations. There's said to have been a birth recorded in Greenland in 1408 so they survived the Black death, but perhaps just barely. I wonder if the quality of their seamansship decreased; they didn't seem to be dashing off to the New World on a regular basis anymore. Farming was just barely subsistence. Perhaps they just slowly died out. (It's all speculation.) --Hordaland (talk) 05:06, 20 August 2008 (UTC)

A source[edit]

The First Warriors This source was added and since removed. It can be of interest to note it here. It's by the Government of Canada, Department of National Defence, and is entitled Canadian Military Heritage. It includes these three short chapters:

  • The Encounter With The Vikings
  • Viking Weaponry
  • The Withdrawal Of The Vikings

It includes some of the wording which is /has been/ in the article. --Hordaland (talk) 00:48, 21 August 2008 (UTC)

Yes - technically it's commentary (not an original source, useful but should be balanced with other commentary) Tedickey (talk) 10:48, 21 August 2008 (UTC)
I had a problem with this before. The editor tricked me into think ing I was copyrighting it---and I was. This time, the newly added sentences aren't nearly as similar. InternetHero (talk) 16:35, 21 August 2008 (UTC)
I wasn't suggesting copyright issues, as that doesn't look like a problem. The site says "Information on this site has been posted with the intent that it be readily available for personal and public non-commercial use and may be reproduced, in part or in whole and by any means, without charge or further permission by the Department of National Defence. We ask only that:" etc., etc. It looks to me like Wikipedia could copy it as long as nothing is misrepresented.
What interests me about the site is its attempt to look at the situation from the Canadian Inuits' and Amerindians' side, and not just the accounts in the Norse sources. That doesn't mean, however, that the author(s) know any more about Norse sailors and would-be settlers at the time than what they've read in the popular literature. I agree with Tedickey that the site is not a reliable source but I wanted to make sure the link was saved here as it's an interesting commentary. --Hordaland (talk) 21:08, 21 August 2008 (UTC)
No, we can only copy material that is in the public domain or under a free license compatible with the GFDL. Allowing non-commercial use only is not compatible with that. Haukur (talk) 21:31, 21 August 2008 (UTC)
Not to argue the point, but quoting or paraphrasing (with attribution) is probably permitted. There might be some online resources with similar information which would be more reliable - that is, in turn the page would clearly identify the author of the page, make it simple to distinguish inferences from statements based on other reliable sources. Ultimately, the reliable sources in this area would be the sagas (and accurate translations), and articles by researchers and historians (they cite sources for their information as well ;-) Tedickey (talk) 21:48, 21 August 2008 (UTC)

Karlsefni's expedition[edit]

For reference, the sentence from VS which mentions the flintstone is

In front of her lay a dead man, Thorbrand Snorrason, with a flintstone buried in his head, and his sword beside him.

Bearing in mind that's a translation (and the only place where a flint-or-flat stone is mentioned, it would be nice to compare with another translation Tedickey (talk) 22:22, 21 August 2008 (UTC)

Oxenstierna gives the year for this expedition as 1020 (page 255). The numbers in the topic (3 ships, 160 people) currently matches Oxenstierna. Wernic says (page 152) that the expedition occurred in 1009, gives the number of people as 250. Neither provide a specific source for their statements. Tedickey (talk) 19:34, 3 September 2008 (UTC)

There are just two primary sources that have any details, Grœnlendinga saga and the Saga of Eric the Red. Any other sources will be based on those, one way or another. Haukur (talk) 21:04, 3 September 2008 (UTC)
"one way or another", it seems that the two secondary sources disagree. Vinland Sagas (reading the translation of Erik's Saga, pages 93-94) says 160 people, and reading it now, I can see two ships mentioned, but not a third. The sagas don't appear to have clear dates (though I could be convinced by a pointer to some specific passage). I assumed the dates are derived from comments relative to some historic events Tedickey (talk) 21:28, 3 September 2008 (UTC)
You're right - there are no dates in the sagas. Any inference drawn from them about dates is based on references to historical events which are dated elsewhere (discovery of Greenland, reign of rulers in Norway, Christianization of Iceland). Also note that there are large differences between the two sagas and many secondary sources have taken bits and pieces of each to boil together some sort of single narrative.
If you're keen on these things I'd strongly recommend reading those two sagas. They're quite short and they're both available online. A slightly modified version of Reeves' translation of the saga of Greenlanders can be had here:[1] Sephton's translation of the Saga of Eric the Red can be read here:[2] If you read these texts you essentially know what there is to know about this topic. Haukur (talk) 23:15, 3 September 2008 (UTC)
I'm mainly interested in gleaning what factual material we can use on this topic. I'd read the Vinland Sagas (which it a different translation) some time ago (and at the time, was startled that they were so short). I'll read the other translations which you've pointed out (weeknights are short...). Thanks Tedickey (talk) 23:22, 3 September 2008 (UTC)

Haukur writes: "If you read these texts you essentially know what there is to know about this topic." Well, yes and no. It seems to me that their interpretation requires quite a lot of background knowledge. For example, one should keep in mind that the tales first were told by people who were still infused with pre-christian mind set and knowledge, while those who wrote them down had been Christians for many generations. The tales would have been gradually changed during the long period of oral tradition to reflect this.

Thousands of books and articles have been written to interpret these texts. Some are wise; some are hogwash; all are colored by the knowledge, background, and assumptions of their authors. Choosing among the interpretations is a minefield few are qualified to navigate. --Hordaland (talk) 02:05, 5 September 2008 (UTC)


All editors: please remember to remain civil and to keep talk page discussion strictly to improvement of the article. Discussion of other editors is strongly discouraged: discuss the edit, not the editor. Avoid edit warring, and do not use edit summaries to remark on other editors. Thank you. Exploding Boy (talk) 06:21, 23 August 2008 (UTC)

Page protected[edit]

A revert war seems to be brewing, with essentially no discussion, except in edit summaries. I have protected the article for two days, during which I strongly encourage those involved to attempt to discuss their issues with the content and reach a consensus regarding the article. Exploding Boy (talk) 06:35, 23 August 2008 (UTC)

Sagas in English[edit]

Icelandic Saga Database, The Saga of Erik the Red and other sagas in several languages. Definitive versions, or not? --Hordaland (talk) 11:54, 23 August 2008 (UTC)

Probably useful, though in developing a topic, I'd look for multiple sources. If the translations differ, then that should be taken into account (whether one's more accurate, or colloquial may influence how it's used). Tedickey (talk) 12:09, 23 August 2008 (UTC)

Further editing[edit]

OK, guys and gals. There are still cleanup and neutrality tags up. What needs fixing? Ought we establish a tradition here for discussing every little edit? Or dare we be bold?

We aren't and can't be real experts; I'm certainly not. Only specialized linguists and historians are, and they don't agree on everything. But as interested editors, we represent some expertise on how a Wikipedia article should look.

Does anyone have an overview of the many related articles? Do we agree on structure/section titles? I, personally, have a tendency to look at details. What can we replace "Native Americans" with? We're talking mostly or exclusively about Canada, and that term isn't as common there. Is simply "native" still a dirty word? The locals? Skræling, which includes the Inuits? "Indigenous people(s)" is fine, but too long to use repeatedly. --Hordaland (talk) 05:12, 24 August 2008 (UTC)

I'm comfortable with "native", though I suppose that reflects a bias (native merely means someone born there - after some time there were even native Greenlanders, but we're generally not refering to the Norse inhabitants of Greenland as natives). While I agree that indigenous peoples is wordy, each of the choice has some drawback (such as Aboriginal, which I've read is offensive to a different set of people) Tedickey (talk) 14:54, 24 August 2008 (UTC)
Proposed new lead (with missing bits moved further down):
As early as the 10th century Norse seamen, often referred to as Vikings, explored and settled areas of the North Atlantic, including the northeastern fringes of North America.
While the Norse occupied Greenland for almost 500 years, their continental North American settlements were small and did not develop into permanent colonies. Despite some later voyages, there is little supporting evidence of enduring Norse settlements in North America.
What do you think? --Hordaland (talk) 08:18, 24 August 2008 (UTC)
The altered lede looks okay to me. The tagged sections were the ones that appear to have been modified to place too much emphasis on the editor's reading of the Time-Life book. After some delay, I decided that the way to resolve that would be to obtain copies of the two questioned sources - perhaps another week - and review the edits versus sources, to try to balance things out. Tedickey (talk) 14:49, 24 August 2008 (UTC)
I think a lot could be edited out, source or no source, as inappropriate to an encyclopedia article. Springy with moss and smelling of thyme is poetic and fine in a popular book. We aren't writing a popular, or poetic, book. --Hordaland (talk) 17:05, 24 August 2008 (UTC)
Agree Tedickey (talk) 17:12, 24 August 2008 (UTC)
I think your proposed new lead is a lot better than what we have now. However, "occupied" has so many negative connotations. It makes it sound like they were invaders and oppressors, but the fact is of course that the areas settled by the Norse in Greenland where uninhabitated at the time of their arrival. So maybe a better phrasing would be: While the Norse colony in Greenland lasted for almost 500 years... TheLastNinja (talk) 09:26, 25 August 2008 (UTC)

The section entitled Greenland[edit]

The first paragraph now reads:

"According to the Sagas of Icelanders, Norsemen from Iceland first settled Greenland in the 980s. Erik the Red sailed 450 miles to lead a settlement expedition there in 982. He was banished from Iceland for three years because he had killed two sons of a farmer named Thorgost, after an argument about some allegedly stolen lumber. The settlement Erik led was springy with moss and wild thyme grew almost everywhere. He named the fjord "Eiriksfjord" and, as an act of leadership, took the best land for himself and issued tracts of land to his followers.[2]"

Suggested replacement:

According to the Sagas of Icelanders, Norsemen from Iceland first settled Greenland in the 980s. Erik the Red (Old Norse: Eiríkr rauði), having been banished from Iceland for manslaughter, explored the uninhabited southwestern coast of Greenland for the three years of his banishment. He made plans to entice settlers to the area, even purposefully choosing the name Greenland to attract potential colonists, saying "that people would be more eager to go there because the land had a good name".[1] The inner reaches of one long fjord, named Eiriksfjord after him, was where he eventually established his estate Brattahlid. He issued tracts of land to his followers.[2]
  1. ^ "Íslendingabók". Wikisource, The Free Library. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. 2008-07-21. Retrieved 2008-08-27. 
  2. ^ Wernick, Robert; The Seafarers: The Vikings, (1979), 176 pages, Time-Life Books, Alexandria, Virginia: ISBN 0809427095.

I think that Eirik's purposeful naming of Greenland is cited somewhere on Wikipedia, but I can't find it just now. It's not going to be difficult to cite it in any case.

What do people think of the new paragraph (not yet inserted into the article)? --Hordaland (talk) 13:25, 27 August 2008 (UTC)

The oldest and best source for the naming of Greenland is Íslendingabók, composed in the 1120s. Read it at wikisource:Íslendingabók (it's short). Haukur (talk) 13:30, 27 August 2008 (UTC)
You are quick, Haukur! Yes, it says "...Eiríkr inn rauði [the red], who travelled out from here and took land where later was named Eiríksfjörðr. He gave a name to the land and called it Greenland and said that people would be more eager to go there because the land had a good name." Thank you!
My suggested paragraph above is now revised. (Now I'll have to figure out how to properly cite wikisource.) --Hordaland (talk) 14:04, 27 August 2008 (UTC)
What's the source for stating that he spent the entire three years of his banishment exploring the southwest coast? Tedickey (talk) 14:19, 27 August 2008 (UTC)
Ooops. The source is the usual defense: "Well, I know I read it somewhere." Not good enough? OK, I'll go looking. --Hordaland (talk) 14:43, 27 August 2008 (UTC)
I'll keep looking, as I recall reading what (and where?) the crew did the 1st, 2nd and 3rd years. Meanwhile, here's one interpretation: "He remained there making explorations for three years and decided to found a colony there." from [Norse voyages...]. --Hordaland (talk) 15:11, 27 August 2008 (UTC)
Found, on another page at same website: after travelling south along Greenland's east coast, he rounded the southern tip, and "The first winter he was at Eriksey, nearly in the middle of the eastern settlement; the spring after repaired he to Eriksfjord, and took up there his abode. He removed in summer to the western settlement, and gave to many places names. He was the second winter at Holm in Hrafnsgnipa, but the third summer went he to Iceland, and came with his ship into Breidafjord." from [Norse voyages...]. Can't tell if that means three full years or not, but he presumably wasn't anywhere else the three years of his banishment. Did he not stay away the full three years? --Hordaland (talk) 15:40, 27 August 2008 (UTC)
I was curious if he might have gone to more than one destination, e.g., to Europe, or whatever Tedickey (talk) 16:53, 27 August 2008 (UTC)
Fixed that, heh, heh. It now says "during the three years of his banishment", which doesn't exclude other activities within that time frame. --Hordaland (talk) 18:50, 27 August 2008 (UTC)

Have now added to proposed paragraph a (more) properly formatted wikisource link. --Hordaland (talk) 14:57, 27 August 2008 (UTC)

Looks good. Add it to the article. ClovisPt (talk) 16:47, 27 August 2008 (UTC)
Thanks. Done. --Hordaland (talk) 18:50, 27 August 2008 (UTC)

So what exactly needs to be done before we can remove the POV and cleanup tags? TheLastNinja (talk) 19:02, 11 September 2008 (UTC)

What more needs to be done here?[edit]

What's the purpose of this article? There was no lasting colonization but there was more than just exploration. There were, perhaps, attempts at colonization; explorations probably wouldn't have included women and livestock. So the article's name and its existence are justified. But this article shouldn't, IMO, try to include bits from all the other Viking period articles.

Some more weaselwords are probably advisable. "He described Baffin Island as..." It can be stated as fact, I think, that both Bjarni and Leif saw portions of the Canadian coast. But specifically Baffin Island - can we be sure? If Bjarni really headed "a migration fleet", that is interesting, but details of the nos. of settlers and ships can be left out, I think. Bjarni Herjólfsson only says he intended to visit his father, and the above-mentioned fleet isn't mentioned there.

The article Vinland describes the etymology of that word. I think that discussion is peripheral to this article. Ditto for "Squashberries, gooseberries, and cranberries all grew wild..." Yes, and probably blueberries and some others -- I don't think this info is important enough to be included.

I've read somewhere that Thorstein Eiriksson set sail for the new continent but was battered by storms for a few weeks and never made it there. Have been meaning to compare sources on this.

Probably all related articles should be compared, contradictions weeded out or defined/discussed. What's that Norway project doing with its time? This ought to be up their alley. (Admittedly, I haven't checked out that project.) A-ha, quick check shows that the Vinland map is featured on their portal main page, and that Norse Colonization is included in their Category:Viking exploration of North America [3].

This is just some thoughts. --Hordaland (talk) 10:40, 12 September 2008 (UTC)

P.S. Maybe WikiProject_Norse_history_and_culture [4] would be the more applicable project. --Hordaland (talk) 10:53, 12 September 2008 (UTC)

Vinland vs. Winland[edit]

"North America, by the name Winland, was first mentioned in written sources in a work by Adam of Bremen from approximately 1075."

I don't know what Adam's relationship to the letters V and W was a thousand years ago. Today, W is a foreign or imported letter in Norwegian. In spoken Norwegian, the two letters are both called "V" unless there's some reason to differentiate them (as: "Do you spell your name with a single V or with a double V?"). (It's a "double V", not a "double U".)

I agree with the present setup in the article, with a V except when quoting Adam. --Hordaland (talk) 01:16, 13 October 2008 (UTC)

Me too. Although Adam of Bremen was writing in Latin. Maybe the "W" is a latinisation? Anyway, his sources on this issue were probably oral, so maybe he didn't know how it was supposed to be spelled... Or maybe he knew the origin of the word "Vinland", and therefore his spelling could be a clue in the "Vin" debate? (I.e. does "Vinland" mean "wine-land" or "pasture-land"?) TheLastNinja (talk) 07:34, 13 October 2008 (UTC)
Agree (I'm aware of the distinctions, prefer matching to the given source and providing explanation in the topic as needed) Tedickey (talk) 10:41, 13 October 2008 (UTC)
At least in Scandinavia at that time, and still hundreds of years later, there were really no standarized spelling such as it is today. The same person could for instance write his own name with very different spellings from one day to another. The only thing that really mattered when writing was how the words were pronounced, not correct spelling which hardly existed at all. (Don't know if this counts for Adam of Bremen too, though I would think so.) -GabaG (talk) 11:31, 10 June 2009 (UTC)

Moreover, in Old Norse, there are different meanings for the word "vin" depending on whether a short i or long í is used. A long í in the word "vin" usually refers to "wine," whereas a short i could mean "pasture" or "meadow land." The debate is ongoing, but recent linguistic research may indicate that the pasture or meadow land argument is the more appropriate interpretation of the term Vinland.

- There are not different meanings for 'vin', 'vin' and 'vín' are different words! -spelt differently! that is why they have different meanings, it is not at all a matter of 'interpretation'. 'Vín' always means wine and 'Vin' always means field/meadow.

The Norse in Nunavut[edit]

Kinda relevant to the article. A recent article covering a possible Norse settlement in the Canadian Arctic [5]. The paper will be published in August.--Celtus (talk) 05:34, 10 June 2009 (UTC)

Very relevant - National Geographic had a story that chain mail was found on Baffin Island. Thanks for sharing. Dinkytown 05:59, 10 June 2009 (UTC)

Dogs are cute, but poorly sourced[edit]

The Hare indian dogs are cute, but the source for the icelandic connection is just the personal opinion of a dog breeder. He also puts the date of contact to 2000 years ago, about a millennium off. Paragraph should be removed. Jon kare (talk) 10:03, 15 January 2010 (UTC)


I have heard that nobody seams to know what the word skrealingar exactly means. I am no linguist but I do speak Swedish fluently and I have a possible suggestion. In swedish we have a word Skrälle witch roughly means a sickly uggly animal. It can be used on any species of animal, for instace you can say hästskrälle meaning a sickly uggly horse. Or hundskrälle meaning sickly, uggly dog. The correct plural form for skrälle is skrällen, but lingar is antoher possible pluarl form that we just don't use for that word. Given that Swedish and old Norse are not the same language just closely related it is possible that skrällen and skrealingar means the same thing. If I understand it correctly the word skrealingar was a derogative term used to describe the native Americans and they would have seemed small and weak compared to the northmen. You can reach me on my email adress for further discussion. Best regards/ Fredrik —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:33, 22 June 2010 (UTC)

Later era findings[edit]

I've read on several places that they have found traces of northmen longs after the viking age in canada. Colud sb comment on this please? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:27, 23 June 2010 (UTC)

Deforestation is wrong word[edit]

"Settlements in continental North America aimed to exploit natural resources such as furs and in particular lumber, which was in short supply in Greenland due to deforestation." -- Diamond, Jared Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed

This is Jared's mistake and isn't supported by natural science. There were no forests on Greenland at the time of Viking colonization. Greenland has not had a forest in the historical period and one has to go back to other geological ages to find one. What is true is that there were small stands or copses of birch, juniper and willow in tree form along some of the warmer interior fjords during the climate optimum during the early Viking settlement, and these were certainly exploited while they lasted. There were no boreal coniferous forests the Vikings cut down, forcing them to seek timber in Canada. Timber was always scarce for the Viking colonies with driftwood, probably including Siberian conifers, heavily exploited. I won't be changing anything in this article because it sounds like there is some nerd-war going on here, but if anyone else wants to, go right ahead.

Oh, and by the way, the header for the section with the mistake above about Greenlandic deforestation is POV. No Permanent Colonies is unsourced and unprovable. If Vikings had permanent colonies in Canada/North America they could've and would've assimilated to Native American culture and genetics within the time period involved. Assimilation doesn't mean they weren't permanently in North America, it means they adapted to new circumstances and changed outwardly. There isn't any good evidence one way or the other. It would be sort of like saying Ireland had lost all its Irish because no one spoke Gaelic anymore, although that isn't the best example. Anyway, just a thought. I don't have an axe/hammer to grind concerning this question. Hypatea (talk) 10:50, 14 July 2010 (UTC)

Native American contact[edit]

Why is there no mention of Native Americans? The article leaves the impression that there were no Native Americans in the area or no contact was made. There was hostile contact between Leif Erickson's brother and a Native American tribe. It was reported that the Vikings thought the Native Americans were ugly. Cmguy777 (talk) 23:05, 23 October 2010 (UTC)

Native americans and contact is mentioned in the article. --OpenFuture (talk) 22:36, 24 October 2010 (UTC)

Category:Norwegian diaspora[edit]

This category does not belong on this entry. There is no justification for it either. The entry is about the Norse colonization of North America and not about Norwegians emigrating from Norway, etc. In fact those who colonized North America were not Norwegian at all. Richard Arthur Norton, have you even read this article?Griswaldo (talk) 21:03, 22 February 2011 (UTC)

They were not *exclusively* Norwegian, you mean. But the category doesn't belong, this is correct. --OpenFuture (talk) 22:25, 23 February 2011 (UTC)
I meant that none were Norwegian as far as I know. The explorers mentioned in this entry, for instance, were all Icelandic by birth.Griswaldo (talk) 22:30, 23 February 2011 (UTC)
Which if course, at this time, was inhabited by Norwegians. ;-) Norway at this time saw Iceland as a part of it's domain. If the people living on Iceland agreed or not I don't know. In any case, the founder of the first Norse settlement on American soil, Erik Thorvaldsson was born in Norway, for example, and hence definitely Norwegian. --OpenFuture (talk) 23:17, 23 February 2011 (UTC)
I see your point about place of birth, but Erik the Red settled Greenland which is not part of North America, though it is part of the entry. As far as I know, Iceland did not become part of the Norwegian monarchy until the 13th century. The colonization of the Americas was much earlier.Griswaldo (talk) 00:04, 24 February 2011 (UTC)
Greenland is most definitely a part of North America. --OpenFuture (talk) 08:30, 24 February 2011 (UTC)
Well then there's that :). I always think geo-politically when it comes to Greenland, and never get this right (and never learn from my mistake). You're right about Greenland, I'm wrong. Cheers.Griswaldo (talk) 12:29, 24 February 2011 (UTC)

Colonization of the americas template[edit]

This article is a part of a "series" of articles on the colonization of the americas. The template for this series makes no sense halfway down the page. They need to be near the top. --OpenFuture (talk) 17:21, 24 April 2011 (UTC)

agree (infoboxes and similar templates give information in a conventional format) TEDickey (talk) 17:34, 24 April 2011 (UTC)

Norse vs Norwegian[edit]

An SPA who sole purpose seems to be change instances of "Norse" to "Norwegian" has went across multiple articles including this one and made said changes. What is the consensus on this change? Anyone else have an opinion? Heiro 00:16, 12 January 2013 (UTC)

It's a frequent issue (mostly by anon-IPs). Consensus has been "Norse" since the connotations of modern Norway versus the 10th century are rather wide. TEDickey (talk) 01:46, 12 January 2013 (UTC)
Norse - the Icelandic and Greenlandic settlers very frequently left Norway rather than be subjugated to the Norwegian king. They didn't consider themselves Norwegian. de Bivort 02:31, 12 January 2013 (UTC)
Thanks, I assumed as much from what I know of the general history of the era and the fact that the article, and the other 3 the SPA was changing, all used Norse in articles that had presumably been here for awhile. I just figured it was better to post on the involved article talk pages rather than edit war across multiple articles with them on a subject I was not 100% sure of. Cheers, Heiro 06:33, 16 January 2013 (UTC)
Anecdote, from the ' family's area of Norway is pretty conservative and religious, still today; when I visited there for Xmas years ago I asked about a standing stone in one of the villages (Kopervik) and asked if it was a Viking ruin. The response "they were bad people, they moved away from here a long time ago" (implicitly to Ireland, Scotland, Normandy, Yorkshire and Iceland).....Skookum1 (talk) 18:16, 16 January 2013 (UTC)


I've added Der Spiegel as a source, the article refers to this paper: Arneborg, Jette; Lynnerup, Niels; Heinemeier, Jan; Møhl, Jeppe; Rud, Niels; Sveinbjörnsdóttir, Árný E. (2011–2012). "Norse Greenland Dietary Economy ca. AD 980-ca. AD 1450: Introduction" (PDF). Journal of the North Atlantic : Special Volume 3: Greenland Isotope Project:Diet in Norse Greenland AD 1000—AD 1450. 3: 1–39. doi:10.3721/037.004.s303.  . . . . dave souza, talk 06:47, 5 February 2013 (UTC)

"the Americas"[edit]

The Norse never colonized "the Americas" as implied in the title, as the plural indicates North as well as South America. They colonized coastal North America. --dab (𒁳) 12:13, 3 March 2015 (UTC)

Doh! It started as a redirect to Vinland, then was turned into an article reading:
The America was not discovered by Vikings or Columbus. It was first discovered by ancient peoples about 22,000 years ago. According to the Icelandic sagas ("Eirik the Red's Saga" and "the Saga of the Greenlanders"-chapters of The Flatey Book and the The Hauk Book), the Vikings started to explore the America or, as they called it, "Vinland" about 985 or 986. The final voyage occured possible in the 14th century.
But the sagas was first taken seriously after the Danish archaeologist Carl Christian Rafn in 1837 pointed the possibility for a Norse settlement or voyages to North America.
In the 1960s, a Viking settlement was excavitated at L'Anse aux Meadows in Newfoundland.
There are still many questions remaining, and only new archaeology findings can give us more information.
Name change? Norse colonisation of Greenland and North America? Greenland first as that was really colonised. Of course, Greenland is part of North America technically, but whether the mainland was ever colonised is in doubt - the article more or less states that in saying there were no permanent colonies. Dougweller (talk) 17:51, 3 March 2015 (UTC)
there are stories in the sagas of Norse finding other well-known Norse living within native communities; there were no permanent colonies in the sense of planted-by-a-state-colonization, but settlement and apparent integration are not ruled out, given literary records of same; Mowat's West-Viking explores some of these; but yes, a change to "Norse colonization of North America" would be a more accurate title; as we don't have any knowledge of Norse guys finding coastal Venezuela and Brazil and sticking around to farm.....Skookum1 (talk) 04:55, 5 March 2015 (UTC)
I agree with Skookum1: "Norse colonization of North America" would be a better title.--Brianann MacAmhlaidh (talk) 00:54, 7 March 2015 (UTC)
I agee too, and I wonder why it hasn't been changed yet. --Maxl (talk) 10:44, 10 August 2015 (UTC)
It seems a trivial differentiation, but I won't object either way. Mediatech492 (talk) 00:18, 12 August 2015 (UTC)

Yes check.svg Done. Page renamed. --Fama Clamosa (talk) 14:58, 6 November 2016 (UTC)

Rune stones[edit]

I think mentioning the rune stone hoaxes gives undue weight to these extreme fringe theories. --OpenFuture (talk) 11:16, 26 January 2016 (UTC)

American connections[edit]

I have added in the Dutch Wikipedia two facts:

Smiley.toerist (talk) 12:43, 28 October 2016 (UTC)