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Profile of the Day: Leif Erikson

It’s Leif Erikson Day! The 11th-century Norse explorer is believed to have led the first Europeans to North America, 500 years before Christopher Columbus set sail to the New World.

Profile of the Day: Leif Erikson

Image: Wikimedia Commons

Leif Erikson was the son of Erik the Red and Thjodhild and was likely born in Iceland around 970. He grew up in Greenland, where his father had established the first Norse settlements. Around 1000, Erikson sailed to Norway where he was converted to Christianity by King Olaf Tryggvason and given the mission to bring the religion back to Greenland.

Accounts of Erikson’s voyage varies across different sagas, so the true details of what occurred are uncertain. According to some accounts, Erikson’s ships had gone off course during his return and he landed in a place that he would call “Vinland.” Other accounts say that Erikson had already heard of “Vinland” and sought it out on purpose. Either way, he is generally believed to have been the first European to land in North America.

Explore Leif Erikson’s family tree on Geni and share how you’re related to the Norse explorer.

View Leif Erikson’s Geni Profile


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