The Vikings' Discovery of America
Sophie (age 7) and Ellie (age 5) tell the history of the Vikings' discovery of the Americas – hundreds of years before Columbus.----more----
A thousand years ago the Vikings were fierce fighters and brave explorers. They had already discovered and settled in Iceland. One of them was called Erik the Red. After his enslaved people cause a landslide a neighbour kills them out of revenge. In revenge Erik kills his neighbours. He is forced to leave Iceland for three years as a punishment. He decided to explore westwards. He sailed until he found a land which he called Greenland so it sounded better than Iceland. He explored the land and then sailed home to Iceland and told everyone about it. Many people followed him to live there. They ate seals and hunted Walruses for their ivory and Narwhals for their tusks and Polar Bears for their furs.
One day a ship was blown off course and ended up even further west than Greenland. They spotted a land full of trees. Now Greenland had many things but it did not have many trees. The Vikings needed trees. When the ships captain returned he told everyone about this new land.
Erik and his son Leif decided to go and explore it for themselves. However, before they could set sail, Erik had an accident. He couldn’t travel anymore. Leif had to go himself. Leif sailed westwards until he found the new land. It did have trees and beautiful beaches. It also had berries which could be made into wine. We now call this land Newfoundland and it is in Canada. However, back then Leif called in Vinland.
Leif stayed for two winters before returned to tell everyone in Greenland what he had found.
Later his brother Thorvald went to the same place to explore some more. This time they found some local people sleeping. The Vikings attacked them and killed them. But more local people came and attacked the Vikings. Thorvald was killed.
Later more Vikings arrived. At first there was peace with the local people. However, after an argument a battle started. The Vikings were losing the battle and started to run away. However, Leif’s sister was there. She was furious with the Vikings for running away. She was pregnant and couldn’t run fast herself. She picked up a Viking sword. She tore off her own clothes and charged the enemy. The battle was won thanks to her.
The Vikings stayed in Vinland for hundreds of years. However, around 600 years ago the weather got colder. The Vikings seem to have left Vinland. The next Europeans to arrive was the ships of Columbus.
It is important to remember that the Vikings and Columbus were not the first humans living in the Americas. There were already people living there. It was their home first.
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