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Sairushi Modern World History H Due: September 24, 2007 Leif Eriksson and His Parallels With Christopher Columbus

Leif Eriksson was the one of the sons of the famous Viking Erik Thorvaldson more commonly known as Erik the Red. He had two brothers Thorvald and Thorstein and one half-sister named Freydis. In 986 he moved with his family to Greenland. However, one Icelandic ship following Erik led by Bjarni Herjulsson missed Greenland and saw the coasts of Labrador and Newfoundland, but they did not land and instead sailed back northeast to find Greenland and the colony. The colony established by his father had scarce resources so the colonists had to rely on trade with Scandinavian merchants supply themselves, so in 999 Leif sailed to Norway to meet with King Olaf Tryggvason in order to request him to trade more with Greenland. However, during the trip he was blown off course and has to stay in the Hebrides for the summer. During his stay he fell in love with a woman called Thorgunna, who would later bear him a child. In the autumn of that year he arrived at Norway and converted to Christianity. The King compelled him to convert others at his home so Leif returned to Greenland in 1000 to proselytize to his people. Except for his father’s stubbornness, most of the settlers accepted Leif’s methods and twelve churches were formed in the settlement. In 1002 after Leif returned, he went on another expedition after listening to Bjarni recount his voyage and his sighting of land. The colonists lacked wood and Bjarni told of expansive forests. So Leif, with Bjarni’s ship, set out both to explore and to bring back the highly sought after timber. The first place he spotted he did not land because it was a glacial wasteland, which he named Helluland, or “slab land” also “The Land of the Flat Stone.” Later He came across a forested area he called Markland, “woodland.” His next stop was an unnamed island thought to be Belle Island. Finally he reached the bountiful Vinland, “wine land” because of the multitude of wild grapes. They set up a group of domiciles in “Leif’s Booths” or Leifrsbudir. They then went home and Leif, with his phenomenal vision, was the only man on his crew to first spot a crew of shipwrecked Norsemen. He agreed to bring them on board so long as he could take full ownership of their cargo. The timber coupled with the newly acquired cargo made Leif a rich man and earned him the soubriquet “Leif the Lucky.” Despite groups of explorers setting out to his discovered lands, Leif remained in Greenland and inherit his father’s position and wealth after he died. Leif and Christopher Columbus are similar in many ways, first and most obviously is that they are both accredited with discovering America. Another similarity is that they both went to America to gain a valuable resource, Columbus for spices and gold, and Leif for timber. However, Columbus did not discover much of what he was looking for while Leif succeed and came back with two big bonuses, grapes, and the cargo from the a shipwreck. Another of the men’s similarities was that of their religion. They were both Christians, Leif converted after a visit to Norway and Columbus from birth. They also proselytized Christianity and converted many to Christianity, Leif the people in his settlement, and Columbus or his successors and followers converting Native Americans. Also both men were stricken by a storm and forced to land on an Island for a period of time, Leif on the Hebrides at during his trip to Norway and Columbus in Jamaica during his fourth voyage. Interestingly enough both, had two brothers and both got into trouble because of their family. Leif was put into a bind when his half-sister Freydis betrayed two of her business partners on a voyage to the Leif’s Islands by having her crew kill both of her partners and their followers. The legend goes that when her crew refused to kill the woman in the group, she killed them herself. Leif could not pass judgment on her, however, because she was his sister. Columbus was arrested because of accusations against him and his two brothers, Bartholomé and Diego and was imprisoned without being allowed a proper defense. Columbus denied all charges

adamantly and King Ferdinand released him and his brothers six weeks later. Ultimately even though the men were separated by hundreds of years, explored different parts of North America, and thought of North America differently, they actually draw many parallels when compared.

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