The Adventures of Erik the Red & Leif Erikson, the Most Famous Vikings in History

If you are only casually common with the background of the Vikings, you may well consider of them as the fearsome seafaring warriors who remaining their Scandinavian households in look for of wealth, raiding a great number of coastal web sites together the way.

Considering the fact that historical past is typically written by the victors, probably it’s no surprise that the Norsemen have been portrayed as savage heathens who pillaged and plundered their way across Europe.

But ancient archaeological internet sites and proof indicates that there’s a ton a lot more to intrepid adventurers than fulfills the eye.

Thanks to their remarkable shipbuilding skills, the Viking Age (from the late 8th to the late 11th century) noticed Scandinavians increasing their army, trade, and cultural existence into the Mediterranean, Center East, North Africa, and Central Asia.

As a consequence, the Vikings remaining an indelible imprint on early medieval background, and in turn brought outside cultural influences back to their indigenous lands. 

Several Vikings are additional nicely-acknowledged today– over 1000 decades immediately after his death– than Erik the Pink.

Born in Norway around 950Advertisement and nicknamed for his hair/beard colour, Erik Thorvaldsson settled Greenland and fathered 1 of the best Viking explorers of all time.

Read through Much more: Popular Vikings in Heritage that Impressed Vikings: Valhalla

Famous Vikings in History - Erik the Red
Viking with his ax and sword ready for a combat by way of Canva


As referenced in the historic Icelandic sagas about his adventures, Erik the Pink was renowned for his fiery temper.

If record is any indication, he may possibly quite nicely have inherited that trait from his father. 

Erik’s father, Thorvald Asvaldsson, was exiled from Norway close to the yr 960 for “some killings.”

So the full relatives moved west to the Hornstrandir peninsula, in northwest Iceland.

There they joined an established colony of Vikings who experienced fled Norway thanks to overcrowding and the iron-fisted rule of King Harald Fairhair (a.k.a. Harald I, the to start with king of Norway). 

Most Viking little ones ended up largely elevated by their moms, encouraging with home chores. Boys like Erik had been experienced in weapons and combat abilities from an early age.

They also participated in energy-creating athletics this kind of as spear-throwing, swimming, wrestling, fist-fighting, and stone-lifting.

By the age of 12 they were legally regarded to be adults, permitted to pick whether or not they required to be a warrior, farmer, service provider, or go after some other trade. 

By the 12 months 982, Erik experienced wed Tjodhilde and proven a farming homestead in the Dalasýsla region of western Iceland.

But not long just after the few had their very first son, Erik killed a person known as Eyiolf the Foul for killing his slaves, then many other males for the duration of a residence dispute.

As a consequence, Erik was exiled from Iceland for three many years, so he headed west in lookup of new lands.

Read through Extra: The Norse Gods: An Intro to Viking Mythology & Crucial Web pages in Norway

Viking Long Boats / Row Ships on River
Viking Extensive Boats / Row Ships on River by using Canva


There is a preferred false impression that Erik the Purple learned Greenland. But the Icelandic sagas propose other Vikings tried (unsuccessfully) to settle the region virtually a century prior to his arrival.

So Erik is extra effectively credited as the very first everlasting European settler in Greenland, as properly as the leader of its colonization. 

According to the Saga of Erik the Red, he sailed all around the southern tip of the nation (now acknowledged as Cape Farewell) and up the western coast.

Inevitably he reached an ice-free location whose majestic fjords and verdant valleys held the guarantee of prosperity and fertility.

Right after his exile ended, he returned dwelling with grand tales of his adventures in the “Green Land.”

He selected the identify intentionally to make it sound extra appealing than Iceland, exactly where several Vikings had endured a famine.

His salesmanship skills proved powerful. In 985 Erik the Pink still left Iceland top a fleet of 25 ships that contains about 500 males and ladies, domestic animals, and other items desired to build their life in Greenland.

Sadly, 11 of these ships under no circumstances made it. But the survivors proven farming settlements in Brattahlið (Erik’s seat of energy as chieftain, now acknowledged as Qassiarsuk) and even more north, around existing-working day Nuuk.

Through summers, the gentlemen would head higher than the Arctic Circle to Arctic Animals this kind of as seals and walrus in Disko Bay.

By the convert of the millennium, there ended up all around 3,000 Vikings dwelling on 300-400 farms.

Their culture survived on Greenland for a further 500 decades right before disappearing for explanations that stay mysterious.

Nowadays there is a museum in Narsaq, exactly where a comprehensive Viking longhouse believed to be Erik the Red’s initial settlement was learned, with an outstanding long-lasting show on the early Viking settlers. 

Read More: A Rare Look Inside 900-Calendar year-Outdated Urnes Stave Church in Norway

The ruins of a Viking Roundhouse
The ruins of a Viking Roundhouse by means of Canva


Erik the Pink is remembered right now as a trailblazing Viking explorer and the founder of Greenland.

But he’s not the only member of his household who is even now celebrated in Scandinavia these days. 

Tjodhilde and Erik’s 2nd son, Leif Erikson, arrived back again to Greenland following a extended visit to Norway, where by he had been transformed to Christianity by King Olaf I.

He introduced with him the very first Christian missionaries.

Quickly thereafter they designed Tjodhilde’s Church in Brattahlið, making it the first Christian church on the North American continent.

Tourists to Greenland these days can go to a reconstruction of the tiny church in Qassiarsuk.

But “Leif the Fortunate” is very best recognised as the to start with European at any time to set foot on the North American continent.

However it is mysterious how or why he ventured west, Erikson explored lands he called “Helluland, Markland, and Vinland.”

Historians think that these may be the Canadian maritime places now identified as Baffin Island, Labrador, and Newfoundland. 

In 1963, archaeologists unearthed far more than 2,400 ancient Viking relics in a settlement at L’Anse aux Meadows, in northwest Newfoundland.

A lot of historians believe that this– the oldest recognised European settlement in the New World– is evidence that Vikings found out North The us almost 500 many years right before Christopher Columbus arrived.  –Bret Like

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