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Icelandic Online Dictionary and Readings

Carry On Icelandic: Culture [selections] (2004)

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Landafundir - Nordic Discoveries

Landafundir

┴ seinni hluta 10. aldar hÚldu ═slendingar vestur um haf Ý landaleit. EirÝkur rau­i fann ■ß land sem hann nefndi GrŠnland "og kva­ menn ■a­ myndu fřsa ■anga­ farar a­ landi­ Štti nafn gott" (Ari frˇ­i, ═slendingabˇk). SamkvŠmt Landnßmu kanna­i hann GrŠnland Ý ■rj˙ ßr en sneri ■ß aftur til ═slands. Sumari­ eftir nam hann land ß GrŠnlandi. 25 skip fylgdu honum af ═slandi til GrŠnlands en einungis 14 komust ß lei­arenda. Hin třndust Ý hafi e­a sneru vi­. Landnemarnir settust a­ ß vesturstr÷nd GrŠnlands og var ■etta landnßm framhald landnßmsins ß ═slandi. Siglingar til GrŠnlands l÷g­ust af Ý byrjun 15. aldar og ■egar landk÷nnu­ir komu ■anga­ tveimur ÷ldum sÝ­ar fundu ■eir a­eins hrundar bŠjar˙stir. Sagnir In˙Ýta segja frß m÷nnum ß stˇrum skipum er hafi rŠnt m÷rgu norrŠnu fˇlki. ١ eru afdrif meirihluta landnßmsmannanna ß GrŠnlandi m÷nnum enn rß­gßta.

Color photograph

═ L'Anse aux Meadows ß Nřfundnalandi Ý Kanada fundust h˙sar˙stir norrŠnna manna; myndin sřnir endurger­ar byggingar ■eirra. (At L'Anse aux Meadows in Newfoundland in Canada were found ruins of a Nordic settlement; the picture shows their reconstructed houses).

Sk÷mmu eftir landnßmi­ ß GrŠnlandi var Bjarni Herjˇlfsson ß lei­ ■anga­ en hraktist af lei­ og sß l÷nd ß austurstr÷nd Nor­ur-AmerÝku. Leifur EirÝksson, sÝ­ar nefndur Leifur heppni, fˇr Ý k÷nnunarfer­ til ■essara landa og nefndi ■au Markland, Helluland og VÝnland. VÝnlandsfer­ir ur­u ekki tilefni landnßms ß meginlandi AmerÝku en landk÷nnu­irnir reistu sÚr ■ar skßla og komu sÚr fyrir ß me­an ■eir k÷nnu­u landi­.

Tali­ er vÝst a­ Helluland sÚ Baffinsland og Markland sÚ Labrador en frŠ­imenn greinir ß um hvar VÝnlands sÚ a­ leita. Nokkrir hafa bent ß Nřja England sem lÝklegasta sta­inn en ■eirri sko­un hefur vaxi­ fylgi a­ VÝnland sÚ ß Nřfundnalandi eftir a­ r˙stir fundust Ý L'Anse-aux-Meadows ß nor­urodda Nřfundnalands sem ■ykja benda til vistar norrŠnna manna ■ar. Nokkrir hafa einnig bent ß a­ St. Lawrence flˇi kŠmi einnig til greina Ý ■essu sambandi.

Sagt er frß fer­um norrŠnna manna til GrŠnlands og VÝnlands Ý GrŠnlendinga s÷gu og EirÝks s÷gu rau­a.

Nordic Discoveries

In the latter part of the tenth-century, the Icelanders made their way westwards by sea in search of land. There, ErÝkur "rau­i" (Erik the Red) found a country which he named Greenland, "and said that men would wish to go there if the land had a good name." (from Ari the Wise, ═slendingabˇk) According to Landnßmabˇk (The Book of Settlements), he explored Greenland for three years but then returned to Iceland. The following summer he settled in Greenland. Although 25 ships left with him on the voyage from Iceland to Greenland, only 14 made it to the end of the journey. The others perished at sea or turned back. The settlers established themselves on Greenland's west coast, and the settlement was a continuation of the one in Iceland. Sailing to Greenland fell away at the beginning of the fifteenth century and when explorers arrived two centuries later they found only ruins. Inuit stories tell of men on large ships kidnapping many of the Nordic people. However, what the actual fate of the majority of the Greenland settlers was remains a mystery.

Shortly after the settlement of Greenland, Bjarni Herjˇlfsson was on his way there when he was driven off course and sighted land on the east coast of North America. Leifur ErÝksson, later named Leifur "heppni" (the Lucky), undertook an expedition to these lands and named them Markland, Helluland, and VÝnland (that is, Forest Land, Table Land, and Wine Land). The VÝnland expeditions did not prove to be the basis of a settlement on the mainland of America, but the explorers did construct cabins for themselves and were settled there while they explored the country.

It is thought to be certain that Helluland is Baffinsland and that Markland is Labrador, but scholars are divided about what area VÝnland refers to. Some have named New England as the most likely place, but support has grown for the view that VÝnland is Newfoundland after ruins were found at L'Anse-aux-Meadows at the northern point of Newfoundland, Nordic remains which seem to point to a Nordic settlement there. Others still have pointed out that some place in St. Lawrence Bay could also be likely candidate.

The travels of the Nordic people to Greenland and VÝnland is described in GrŠnlendinga saga (Saga of the Greenlanders) and EirÝks saga rau­a (Saga of Erik the Red).

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