What Is The Very First Viking Settlement in America?

Posted by Ms Elly on

What Is The Very First Viking Settlement in America?

For decades it has been remaining a debate whether it was Columbus or other explorers that discovered America? History had it that Columbus set his foot on America in 1492.

But some sources debunked this by saying that it was Leif Erikson that discovered America around 1000s, 500 years earlier than Columbus. Forget al about the dispute, this blog post is to focus on answering what is the very first Viking settlement in America. 

According to Icelandic saga, the Viking sailor named Leif Erikson came across a land when he and his crew were on their voyage. He called this land Vinland.

Leif Erikson Viking warrior who discovered North America

In 1960, the discovery of Viking settlement at L’Anse aux Meadows in Newfoundland, Canada proved that the saga was not a joke. 

The archaeologists quickly formed a team to unearth the site and what they found there were totally Viking-related. The work unearthed remains of turf walls and an ironworking fireplace, yielding valuable information on the Vikings’ seafaring and metalworking techniques at their time. 

 L'Anse aux Meadows First Viking Settlement in North America

Reconstructed Viking longhouse in L'Anse aux Meadows

However, L’Anse aux Meadows was not a permanent settlement for the Vikings. Rather, as the archaeologists agreed, it was a temporary boat repair facility. No burials were found around L’Anse aux Meadows.

Some scholars also believed that the Vikings once abandoned the site because of the tides and the land was different from Scandinavia which meant they met with agricultural difficulties. 

A model depicting the Norse settlement established at L'Anse aux Meadows.

A model depicting the Norse settlement established at L'Anse aux Meadows.

In 1978, L’Anse aux Meadows was recognized as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. By far, the site has been widely accepted as the pre-Columbian trans-oceanic contact. Also, it was confirmed as the only site by the Norse in mainland North America, connected with Leif Erikson. 

L'Anse aux Meadows is a French-English name. It can be translated as the bay with the grasslands. How the land was called as such is unknown. In Icelandic saga, Leif Erikson called it Vinland or "Wine-land" because he found tons of grapes there.

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