Leif Eriksson – The First European in North America

Leif Eriksson – The First European in North America


– [Narrator] Ask any
school child which European first set foot in America, and you’ll probably get this answer, “It was Christopher Columbus in 1492.” But this is not correct. For we now know that another
great explorer achieved this historic feat some 500 years earlier. That explorer was a Viking
called Leif Eriksson. (majestic music) This was the age when the Vikings ruled. They were brave, bold, and adventurous, and lived in the countries
we now know as Scandinavia. One of them was Leif
Eriksson, himself the son of another intrepid
explorer, Erik the Red. Erik was born on the west coast of Norway. His nickname of Erik
the Red probably refers to the color of his hair. He had already spent
some years in Iceland, but in the year 982 A.D., he led an expedition to a new territory,
establishing a settlement there that would last
for hundreds of years. Erik the Red called
this new land Greenland. He figured that giving
it an attractive name would make it seem like a
desirable place to live. When Erik had a son, he
was called Leif Eriksson in keeping with the Viking tradition of adding the word son
to the father’s name. But Leif inherited more
than just his father’s name, he had adventure and
exploration in his blood. Furthermore, his father
taught him the necessary skills to be an explorer: leadership and navigation. And so it was, that, at the
age of 25, Leif Eriksson set sail with a crew of
35 men to explore the seas even further to the west
going well beyond Greenland. He was sailing through uncharted waters without maps or a compass. This would be a journey
of unrivaled discovery and one that would take
it’s leader to immortality. Eventually, Eriksson landed in a place he called Vinland and Vinland was part of what we
now call North America. Eriksson’s achievement was celebrated for hundreds of years in
Norse legends and stories. But many people doubted
that it had really happened. Was it true that a
Viking could have beaten Columbus by 500 years? Doubts about Eriksson’s discovery were finally dispelled in 1960. That was when the modern-day explorers Helge and Anne Instad
identified a Norse settlement at the northern tip of Newfoundland in what is now Canada. The site at L’anse aux
Meadows has the remains of nine houses that are
unmistakably Nordic in their design. Helga and Anne Instad
also established that the remains dated back from
around 1,000 A.D. – exactly the time that Eriksson’s voyage had taken place. And they found artifacts on the site which further proved the
truth of Eriksson’s story. So, Leif Eriksson has now taken his rightful place in world history. In the United States, his
achievement is commemorated every year on October 9th. And statues celebrating the great explorer can be found in many American cities. For it does, indeed, seem to be true. Leif Eriksson, the Viking,
was the first European to set foot in America. (gentle music)

83 comments on “Leif Eriksson – The First European in North America

  1. I'm American and although most people I know are aware that Leif Eriksson was first, we do still celebrate Columbus' Day in the US. I'm pretty sure it's a federal holiday, schools and banks and the like are all closed for it. I've only been to Canada twice though, so I can't say whether or not they celebrate an Eriksson day. That'd be cool if they did, though.

  2. His father was Norwegian, Idk about his mother, but atleast we know that he is half Norwegian.
    As a Norwegian myself, I claim half of america.

  3. There should be a movie or tv series about Leif Erickson also this was before the diseases that killed off most of the natives

  4. I would be one of the few to not say Columbus, I did a report on Leif in the 4th grade 😁. But they did try to cram the fable of Columbus being the first in our heads just like many other fairy tales that I now know was to obviously give us a much different view of our past, covering up not so tasteful historical events.

  5. Leifur heppni Eiríksson – Leif the lucky (980-1020) was born in Iceland. Leifur was a son of Eiríkur rauði – Eric the red and is wife Þórhildur – Thorhild. Eric saild from Norway to Iceland and settled down for few years.
    With his parents and two brothers Þorvaldur and Þorsteinn, Leif sailed from Iceland to Greenland.
    Around 1000 he sailed from Greenland to Helluland/Baffinsland. Then to Markland/Labrador and Vínland/Newfoundland (island)

  6. Now to find the name of the Polynesian leader that re discovered The Americas as well as the Chinese And Malian leaders

  7. Imagine if Scandanavia had continued it's attempts to establish colonies past Greenland. It would've been very difficult, but we could've had colonies in the Americas perhaps 400+ years earlier, and since there wasn't THAT big of a technological gap yet, the natives could've adopted European technology and adapted it. Albeit diseases would still be a big issue.

  8. I Just Made A Video Called "Who Discovered America Before Columbus?" And It Seems Like You Already Uploaded A Video Somewhat Similiar.

  9. Wait a minute! Erik the Red discovered and colonized Greenland? So Erik the Red was the FIRST European in North America. Not his son Leif. Greenland is not Europe. Greenland is solidly part of North America.

  10. Leif Eriksson did NOT discover America! He only discovered Canada. Now it was the great Christopher Columbus who discovered America!

  11. Sahrra Anne Burns is cool and every body else hwo will take a chance to learn is cool anyone else who is spongbob over education take a chance and at least LEARN A LITTLE

  12. My dad is from Island and he told me that Leif Eriksson is on my 20-30 led. That means hes my grand grand grand grand grand grand grand grand grand grand grand father.

  13. I have to give props to you for pronouncing Leif Eriksson correctly. Most non-Scandinavian speakers usually pronounces Leif, Leaf instead, which is wrong.

    EDIT: Yeah you are pronouncing everything correctly, are the narrator Norwegian with a great english accent or English with a great Norwegian accent? Sounds Norwegian when pronouncing Leif Eriksson and Vinland.

  14. I've heard of this, but……why did nothing come of it? So they discovered it, wow, but not many Europeans colonized it after.

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