Her Name was Viking and She Crossed Atlantic Ocean in 1893

Posted by Ms Elly on

Her Name was Viking and She Crossed Atlantic Ocean in 1893

It has been 125 years since the day she left her home. Every second goes by, she gets older and seemingly cannot stand the test of time. But what she did in the past was, is, and will always be the most amazing and proudest thing that any Viking enthusiast can feel. "Viking" is her name and she is the descendant of the Viking Gokstad ship. And she is the first Viking ship replica. 

The story from the farmland full of rumours and mysteries

The arable farmland was named as Gokstadhaugen or Kongshaugen which meant the mound of the king. Rumours spread and mysteries made people in the surrounding area curious about what was under this farmland. But it was not until 1880 when the sons of the owner of Gokstad farmland set out to dig up their farmland to see whether the rumours were true or not. As their wish, they found the bow of a boat. 

Image of Gokstad Viking ship

Gokstad ship is now on display in the Viking Ship Museum in Norway

With the power of words, this news reached Nicolay Nicolaysen who was the President of the Society for Preservation of Ancient Norwegian Monuments. He immediately went to the farmland to see it by himself and without a hesitation he wanted the excavation of the sons to be stopped. And he called for the help of the archaeologists to carry out the excavation. He and his team finally made the Gokstad excavation with a ship of the largest preserved ship in Norway. The ship was in fact in the Goksad burial mound of a great warrior.

The idea neglected and the determination to build Viking the Replica

Eight years later, an anonymous American General put forward his idea about building the replica of Gokstad. This was published on Bergens Tidende which was quite famous at that time. But seemingly it just covered a small part of the newspaper and no one really paid attention. 

Until 1892, the rumours of the replica of Columbus's ship being constructed in remembrance of Columbus's discovery reached Norway, a group of insightful people came up with the idea of making a replica of the Gokstad ship. This was challenging but as usual, challenges could not make the people with the Viking blood running in their vein back down. According to the sagas and tales about the Vinland discoveries, Bjarni Herjolfson and Leiv Eiriksson traveled at the shore of North America around the year of 1000AD which was roughly half a millennium of years earlier than Columbus's discovery. In Norway, the story was kind of a historical text. But that was not enough for the lack of archaeological evidence. The group mentioned created a project and promoted Magnus Andersen as the leader for his rank as the naval captain and seafaring skills. The captain wanted to replicate the Gokstad ship and sailed it from Norway to Chicago. The more daring the project was, the more determined the team was to it.

Image of the Viking the first Viking ship replica ever built

The construction of the ship took roughly a year to finish

She the gift from the Norse ancestors enchanted the Chicago

The construction of "Viking" was quite difficult as the team could not find exactly the material of the Gokstad ship. Then they had to resort to the wood from Canada and some from the local area. In the fall of 1892, she finally took the form of a beautiful ship. However, the process of constructing the "Viking" was not published to the public eye as no one was allowed to reach the constructing place. And this included the photographers. 

On the fourth day of February 1893, the ship finally set sail. Slightly across the cold water, she was named with this line in her crossing: 

VIKING er ditt navn. ( - VIKING is your name. )

But because of the raven flag in the ship, many people called it Raven the Ship which later creating a widespread misunderstanding. 

Not a single days passed by since the ship left its Burgen, Norway without the careful notes of Captain Andersen. He wrote about how the ship worked under the harsh weather and the cold water of the Big Pond. Before reaching Chicago, the ship was in the race against many ships down Nova Scotia and Massachusetts coasts. But those ships were simply left behind. She, Viking, easily outpaced her opponents who had the 1000-years-later construction compared with her medieval form. This attested to the truth that Viking nearly reached the point of perfection in shipbuilding. 

Image of the Viking ship the first Viking ship ever built in the 19th century to cross Atlantic Ocean

Captain Andersen was holding the banner of the raven which caused the erroneous name for "Viking". The captain was in the middle.

And she made it to the Chicago the Heart of America. As planned, she crossed the Big Pond and arrived at the Columbian Exposition. The moment she arrived, she stole the show. This event dominated the headlines of newspaper across the globe days after. After the crossing of Viking, no one could ever doubt the ability to cross the ocean of the Norsemen. 

Image of Viking ship in Chicago

She was at the Columbian Exposition in Chicago in ending years of the 19th century

Image of Viking stamp Viking ship

A 1925 US Postage 5c stamp with the depiction of Viking

And every party had its end. After finishing the project, Captain Andersen gifted the ship for Chicago. Viking was on display in the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago until 1920s when she was placed in the Lincoln Park. Because of the exposure to the weather, she became deteriorated. With the attempts of reviving her glory, Viking is now well preserved and in better condition. 

Image of the first Viking ship replica in the modern time

Image of the Viking ship replica ever built in the 19th century

Viking the Replica Ship is now in better condition. Gone are her glorious days but the amazing achievement of hers is forever in the memory of the people with the Viking blood

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