Erik the Red and Leif Eriksson

Erik the Red was born Erik Thorvaldsson around 950AD.

He was born in Norway, but was moved, along with the rest of the family, after his father was exiled from Norway for killing a man. The family relocated to Iceland.

Erik was a big man with red hair, red beard and a fiery temper. It is believed that this is where the name Erik the Red originated from.

He married Thjodhildr and had four children, three boys and a girl. (Freydis, Thorvald, Thorstein, Leif Eriksson)


In around AD982 Erik was banished from Iceland for three years after he killed two men. He sailed from Iceland with his family and landed in Greenland. Here he stayed for the next three years.

Following the end of his banishment, he returned to Iceland and encouraged 400 – 500 people in AD985 – 986 to travel to Greenland and form a settlement there.

The settlement grew to over 5000 people, but some immigrants that arrived from Iceland brought with them an epidemic, which killed many of the settlers. Erik the Red also died at this time around AD1003.

Leif Eriksson – Son of Erik the Red

Leif Eriksson was born around AD970 – 980, it is believed in Iceland. He was the first European to sail to North America.



He sailed and landed with his crew of thirty-five in what is now Newfoundland in around AD999. He landed on an island and named it Vinland. This is now Nova Scotia. He settled in North America but did not stay long. He returned to Greenland in 1002.

It is not believed he knew about his father’s death until he landed in Greenland.

Leif Eriksson and his family along with many other Vikings, converted to Christianity. This conversion contributed to the end of the Viking age.

Little is known of his death, but it is believed to have been between 1019 and 1025AD.

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