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Erik the Red: A Captivating Guide to the Viking Who Founded the First Norse Settlement in Greenland by History Captivating

Author:History, Captivating [History, Captivating]

Language: eng

Format: azw

Published: 2018-08-05T16:00:00+00:00

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Erik the Red: A Captivating Guide to the Viking Who Founded the First Norse Settlement in Greenland by History Captivating

Chapter 6 – Settling in Greenland

Erik spent the winter in Iceland recruiting followers and preparing to return to Greenland, not as an explorer with a crew of hardened men, but as a colonizer with a party of men, women, and children. When Erik persuaded three hundred people to go with him to Greenland, it was not to explore, trade, or gather resources; it was to settle. These people were giving up their entire lives in Iceland to venture into the unknown and start again. That meant that it wasn’t just the men that made the voyage; it was entire families and households. Women, children, and thralls all accompanied the men to Greenland. They took with them their household belongings, tools, seeds to grow crops, livestock, and everything they would need to start a new life in a harsh and unsettled territory. This was a major undertaking.

By the summer of 985, Erik and his party were ready to leave the relatively safe haven of Iceland and set sail for the icy and unwelcoming shores of Greenland. Thirty-five ships, loaded with settlers and cargo, left Iceland to start a new life in Greenland. The decision to go to Greenland was one thing; the voyage was quite another, as this was no easy crossing. The settlers had to deal with rough seas, inclement weather, and large icebergs. Ultimately only fourteen vessels made it safely to Greenland. The others were either blown off course and were wrecked or returned to Iceland.

 

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Erik the Red: A Captivating Guide to the Viking Who Founded the First Norse Settlement in Greenland by History Captivating

Author:History, Captivating [History, Captivating] , Date: June 6, 2019

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Author:History, Captivating [History, Captivating]

Language: eng

Format: azw

Published: 2018-08-05T16:00:00+00:00
Chapter 6 – Settling in Greenland

Erik spent the winter in Iceland recruiting followers and preparing to return to Greenland, not as an explorer with a crew of hardened men, but as a colonizer with a party of men, women, and children. When Erik persuaded three hundred people to go with him to Greenland, it was not to explore, trade, or gather resources; it was to settle. These people were giving up their entire lives in Iceland to venture into the unknown and start again. That meant that it wasn’t just the men that made the voyage; it was entire families and households. Women, children, and thralls all accompanied the men to Greenland. They took with them their household belongings, tools, seeds to grow crops, livestock, and everything they would need to start a new life in a harsh and unsettled territory. This was a major undertaking.

By the summer of 985, Erik and his party were ready to leave the relatively safe haven of Iceland and set sail for the icy and unwelcoming shores of Greenland. Thirty-five ships, loaded with settlers and cargo, left Iceland to start a new life in Greenland. The decision to go to Greenland was one thing; the voyage was quite another, as this was no easy crossing. The settlers had to deal with rough seas, inclement weather, and large icebergs. Ultimately only fourteen vessels made it safely to Greenland. The others were either blown off course and were wrecked or returned to Iceland.

The hardened Norsemen may have been used to treacherous sea crossings and dangerous raiding expeditions, but they were probably all highly relieved to make landfall on the shores of Greenland. They had after all brought their families and all their worldly possessions with them on this voyage and staked their futures on this venture. They certainly had no intention of returning to their old lives in Iceland.

Setting foot on dry land would have been a relief but making the ocean crossing to Greenland was only the beginning for Erik and his followers. Taming the harsh landscape was no mean feat. It took courage, determination, and hard work to survive, and ultimately thrive, in this environment. It also took strong leadership and here Erik the Red excelled. Two settlements were quickly established, about 400 miles apart, on the southwestern part of the island. These settlements were known as the Eastern Settlement or Eystribyggð (present-day Qaqortoq) and the Western Settlement or Vestribyggð (close to the present-day capital of Nuuk). These settlements were not along the coast but farther inland where the land was protected from the icy waters of the Arctic Sea and the cold foggy coastal weather. No doubt Erik had scouted these locations during his exile and already earmarked the best land for himself.

Soon after the settlers arrived in Greenland, Erik was elected paramount chief of the Eastern Settlement. He was a strong leader and he organized his followers to build homesteads and shelters before the onset of winter. Most built typical low, rectangular

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