Celebrating Leif Erikson Day With The History Of The Viking Explorer

(PHOTO: ARCTIC-IMAGES, CORBIS)

Celebrating the Nordic explorer who discovered North America

Today is Leif Erikson Day that celebrates the 11th-century Norse explorer that sailed from New Foundland and settling in Vinland in North America. It just so happens Leif Erikson discovered the Americas 500 years before Christopher Columbus.

According to the background of Erikson, his father established two settlements of Greenland and influenced Erikson to be an explorer. This achievement makes Erikson the first person in recorded history to have discovered North America first.

Erikson traveled to work for King Olaf I of Norway and in 1003 he acquired a boat to explore the land west of Greenland to discover Newfoundland, Canada. Leif Erikson is believed to be from Iceland and settled in coastal North America a historic cite in Newfoundland, Canada known as L’Anse aux Meadows.

Though everything mention above is true, there is a lot of misinformation about the Viking heritage including the headgear with horns with limited historical evidence. Historians have also discovered there is little to no evidence confirming that Norse and Scandanavian people were pirating the coasts of Europe during the 8th to 10th centuries.

The first observation for Leif Erikson Day in Wisconsin in 1930 because the local community was convinced that the Vikings were the first explorers to discover North America. Minnesota celebrated the holiday the following year and by the 1950s seven U.S. states would observe Lief Erikson Day.

By 1964, Lief Erikson Day was recognized by President Lyndon B. Johnson during an announcement for a national observation of this holiday and every U.S. President has followed this tradition since. This holiday is celebrated by citizens of Canada and the U.S. that have a connection to Nordic and Scandinavian heritage for the spirit of the Nordic pioneering soul.


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