It became apparent that long before Christopher Columbus discovered North America (the end of the XV century), it was visited by Icelandic Vikings at the end of the XI century. And this is a proven scientific fact!
In 1960, archaeologists found the remains of an ancient Viking settlement in a place called L’Anse aux Meadows (“Jellyfish Cove”, see the photo below) – the territory of the province of Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada. At the moment, this settlement is considered the westernmost Viking colony, founded in the late XI century.
However, where exactly the Vikings lived (a place called Vinland), is still not exactly established.
The name of this place somewhere on the coast of Newfoundland Island gave the Icelandic Viking Leif Eriksson (son of Eric the Red) – in honor of the abundance of vines growing on it.
The first mentions of Vinland are in the book of Adam of Bremen (North German medieval chronicler) “Descriptio insularum Aquilonis” (about 1075). Before writing it, Adam of Bremen visited the Danish king Sweyn II Estridsson, who had the necessary data.
However, the most important sources of information about the Icelandic Vikings voyages to North America and Vinland are the Vinland Sagas: “The Saga of Eric the Red” (before 1265) and “The Saga of the Greenlanders.” (recorded in Iceland towards the end of the 14th century). According to these texts, there were several attempts to create a settlement in Vinland, but each of the colonies did not exist more than 2 years. After all, the Vikings finally left the settlement due to conflicts with local residents (presumably, the Beothuk Indians).
Now you can visit the reconstruction of the first Viking settlements & get an idea of Vikings life a thousand years ago.