A Description of the Vikings
In 790, the Vikings were running out of land to farm and to live on. So, they left and invaded areas of Britain, Italy, France, and Ireland. The Normans and the Rus were both Vikings settlers. They were known by the French as the Normans (northmen) and as Rus (redheaded people) in Eastern Europe.
The Viking Longships
Viking longships, or dragonships, are really what is responsible for the Viking Age. These boat had many factors that allowed them to be the ideal ships for raiding and conquering any land. First, these ships very fast. This enabled a fast attack and an equally fast escape. Also, dragonships had a hull that allowed them to land easily on any beaches and they did not require a dock to land.
Erik the Red and Leif Eriksson
Erik the Red was known, and named, for his bright red hair and beard. He was also known for being the founder of the first European settlement in Greenland in 986. Before this, he and his father left Norway and ventured to Iceland. But, in 980, Erik was exiled from Iceland and decided to explore Greenland in 982. This is when he built the first European settlement in Greenland. However, in 986, Erik returned to Iceland and formed his own colony.
Erik the Red had three sons. The second was Leif Eriksson (Erik's son). Leif had exploration in his blood and soon set out to do just that…explore! Leif is known as the first European to reach North America. King Olaf I had asked Leif to come Christianize the people in Norway. During his journey, Leif accidentally sailed off course. He landed on land that is now called Nova Scotia. When he arrived there, he called it Vinland. Leif never colonized this land and left it once the winter was over.