Check out this glorious National Geographic article:
|Henricus Hondicus 1630 map print|
|A vegvisir representing the 4 directions with a border of Norse runes|
|mjolnir, or thor's hammer. Typically worn by Norse pagans and/or Marvel fans.|
|The iron cross: not always a nazi thing|
|A portrait of Shawnadithit|
FUN FACT: Some European settlers called the Beothuk people the "Red Ochre People" because they covered themselves in red ochre :D .
|Exceptionally well preserved Viking combs from a site in Russia. Many Vikings settled in and assimilated into Russian culture.|
Some Norse combs also have really pretty designs carved on their handles.
So they traded with the natives but never actually settled there. But perhaps they had the intention of doing so. Why else would they have established Leifsbudir?
Why the Vikings left their settlement in Newfoundland: Two possible reasons why
1: Conflict with the natives
There have been accounts that say that the Vikings treated the indigenous people well. They didn't pillage, rape, or kill them. They merely traded. However, there have been also accounts that say that the Vikings did exactly the opposite of that and were as brutal, savage, and genocidal as any other European explorers were. The Beothuk and other indigenous people of the area may have fought and expelled the Vikings. Some people suggest that the Vikings tried giving the natives cow's milk. There is no proof for that but it's a funny story:
Most Native Americans are lactose intolerant (I have a really weird sense of humor. Sorry I laughed really hard when I typed that for some reason.) The indigenous people started having whatever problems lactose intolerant people have when you give them creamy, thick, raw, stinky milk from the plump udders of Norwegian cows.
Please, don't start randomly going up to Native American people and asking them if they are lactose intolerant.
They were colonist cows though so alternately they might have been undernourished tiny cows who can't really produce good quality milk. The indigenous people thought they were being posioned, and so launched an attack on the weird pale blue-eyed aliens who had given them the elixir.
In my opinion, if conflict with the natives was the reason why the Vikings abandoned Leifsbudir, it probably didn't involve lactose intolerance. It was probably just a war started after the Norse might have done something really Cartier-level idiotic. The good part is that if the Vikings were genocidal and evil, at least they were deported. Who wants to speak Old Norse and have their country capital be Leifsbudir, which may have one day become a sprawling metropolis of over 100,000 people instead of a handful of rugged Norsemen, who knows?
2: Conflict among themselves
The Vikings might have left North America not because of the natives, but because of conflict with each other. The Greenlanders and Icelanders in Freydis Eriksdottir's crew didn't have much of a reason to like each other.After restlessly dwelling in Leifsbudir, they all might have gone mad, surrounded by endless skraeling-filled forest. Arguments broke out between the Icelandic and Greenlandic crew. Freydis herself was an ill-tempered Greenlander. A battle started in which both sides may have massacred each other. Whoever survived left Vinland forever. This would explain why only one ship returned back from the voyage. Originally there were supposed to be two, the Vinland and a smaller one.
But no one really knows why they left.
Reasons why you might still dislike the Vikings
and Leif Ericson:
1) HE CONVERTED TO ChRisTianiTY in his later days *gAsps*
By this time, Christianity was spreading in the Viking world like a plague. Leif converted on a trip to Iceland. :(
2) It's hard to say whether he was violent and genocidal or not. The sagas are difficult, contradictory, even. Did he merely trade with the Beothuk, or try to exterminate them? We may never know.
3) The Vikings had shown their greed for land by taking over Greenland. Maybe they wanted to do the same with Newfoundland?
4) If the intention of the Vikings was to take over Newfoundland, then the only thing that made them unsuccessful was the lack of biological warfare.
5) The Norse term "skraeling" which they called the indigenous could be taken as highly offensive. It might have meant "savage". The modern Icelandic word "skraelingi" has a similar meaning.