Leif Eriksson

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Leif Eriksson ( Icelandic Leifur Eiríksson [ 'lɛiːvʏr' ɛi: riksɔn ], Old Norse Leifr Eiríksson ; * around 970 in Iceland ; † around 1020) was an Icelandic explorer . His nickname is "the lucky one".

Discovery of America

A possible course of Leif Eriksson's journey with a possible geographical allocation of the discoveries

Leif Eriksson was born around 970 as the son of Erik the Red and his wife Thjodhild (possibly before Thorhild was baptized ). Since the land grabbing in Greenland began around 986, the presumed date of birth is based on a birth in Iceland.

The discovery of America by Leif Eriksson is portrayed differently in the two " Vinland Sagas ":

According to the Eiríks saga rauða , he drove from Greenland to Norway around the year 1000 to be accepted into the royal court. After this was successful, he discovered unknown land on the way back to Greenland, also rescued the shipwrecked and converted the Grænlendingar to Christianity on his arrival . On another trip to the newly discovered country, Leif explored other areas on the North American coast with others , including Helluland , Markland and finally Vinland . The geographical allocation of these areas is controversial. Due to the findings in L'Anse aux Meadows , Vinland is often equated with Newfoundland .

According to the Grænlendinga saga ( Greenland saga ) Bjarni Herjólfsson discovered these areas when he was looking for Greenland, although the latter was only known to him from descriptions. However, he did not go ashore in the newly discovered areas. After Leif Eriksson found out about the areas, he took a trip there and spent the winter there. Since, unlike Bjarni Herjólfsson, he also entered and explored the country, he is considered to be the discoverer of these areas.

The discovery is also mentioned by Adam von Bremen in the Gesta Hammaburgensis ecclesiae pontificum .

That the fertile land that the Grænlendingar discovered in the west and call Vinland was on the North American continent and that the Scandinavians reached America, more precisely Newfoundland , has meanwhile been archaeologically proven. The remains of a Scandinavian settlement on Newfoundland near L'Anse aux Meadows , declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1978, bear witness to this . The Vinland map , which is mostly regarded as a forgery, has no historical source value. The information it contains is already known from written sources.


Statue of Leif Eriksson in Reykjavík in front of Hallgrímskirkja

Artistic reception




Individual evidence

  1. ^ Jeanette Sanderson: Explorers. Scholastic Teaching Resources, London / New York a. a. 2002, ISBN 0-439-25181-8 , p. 14 ( PDF file ).
  2. Tina Flecken (transl.) U. a .: Icelandic sagas. Volume 4, Fischer, Frankfurt a. M. 2011, ISBN 3-10-007625-7 , Chapter 5: The saga of Eirík the Red. Pp. 526-552.
  3. ^ Farley Mowat, Westviking: The Ancient Norse in Greenland and North America (1965) ISBN 978-0-7710-6692-4
  4. ^ Leif Eriksson Community School: Homepage - Article from February 29, 2012, last accessed on October 25, 2018.
  5. ^ The Vikings in the Internet Movie Database
  6. Amon Amarth - Wings of Eagles (band comment) on YouTube
  7. Vinland - Leif Eriksson discovers America on the website of the puppet theater fairy tales on threads


  • Lutz Mohr : America explorer before Columbus . In: Marinekalender der DDR 1990. Berlin: Militärverlag der DDR 1989, pp. 178-184.
  • Kirsten A. Seaver : On course for Thule. The voyages of discovery of the Vikings . Translated from English by Karin Schuler. Theiss, Stuttgart 2011, ISBN 978-3-8062-2411-5 .
  • Kurt Welker: The forgotten continent. The Normans' voyages of discovery to Greenland a. North America. Brockhaus, Leipzig 1970.

Web links

Commons : Leif Eriksson  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files