Nordic Seafarer: The Vikings

2100 Words 9 Pages
A Viking—commonly thought of as a Nordic seafarer that plundered and pillaged countless seaside villages and merchant ships. This is a common misconception, since most "Vikings" were actually farmers, merchants, and explorers. Early Vikings travelled to and colonized Iceland, Greenland, and even areas around Newfoundland. Had the Vikings ventured south towards the eastern coastline of North America, colonization of the land would soon follow, and this alternate event would have been better than what actually occurred in history. Originally, the Vikings were a group of Germanic peoples that lived in the Scandinavian mainlands well before the common era. Early Nordic civilizations were based mainly upon agriculture, until the Roman Empire began …show more content…
As the Vikings expanded to Greenland and territories further west, like Vinland and L'Anse, they became aware of a native people in the area. Archeologists theorize these people were either the early Eskimos or Thule Inuits, who were a nomadic group that travelled throughout the Arctic Circle in search of whales for food; therefore, they were well adapted to the harsh Arctic climate (Berman). Erik the Red found evidence of a native group on his first expedition to Greenland, and Lief made contact with natives in 1001 during his exploration of L'Anse and Vinland. These interactions ended violently, however, and nearly all of the natives were killed when they attacked Lief and his crew; the native people were from then on referred to as "skraelings," or weaklings, in the Nordic tongue. A different party led by Thorfinn Karlsefni attempted to settle Vinland years after Lief's expedition, and he met the skraelings in a much different manner than Lief (Berman). Initially, the Vikings and natives met peacefully, and they traded with each other for different goods like furs and food, but the natives also wanted the Vikings' iron weapons, which Karlsefni would not give them. This began a series of conflicts between the Vikings and the natives that resulted in the Vikings deserting Vinland, again (Berman). Another effect caused by the expansion into Europe was the …show more content…
There was no shortage of trees in North America around the time they would have began building their farms, churches, and houses, so their cities would continue to grow. The buildings the Vikings created would strongly resemble early Scandinavian architecture, and even the infrastructure of the 1800's to today would have a noticeable Scandinavian influence. Also, the enlargement of their cities in Europe is what caused the Vikings to search for new lands to the west, so based on this fact, the same scenario would occur in North America as well. Some Vikings would also sail back to Iceland, Greenland, and Norway to proclaim that there is a new, flourishing colony in North America, which would persuade more Viking settlers to journey across the sea to live there. As the Vikings broadened the area they inhabited, they would encounter more native people, like the Iroquois, Shawnee, Powhatan, and Cherokee. The Vikings would most likely trade with indigenous population because they had seen the benefits of the cordial relations between themselves and the Thule. As the years pass, European practices and Christian beliefs would diffuse amongst the Native American people and take hold. After a century or two of regular interactions between the groups, Christian influences would be increasingly obvious in natives lives, and the Vikings and natives would begin to intermarry.

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