Thursday, February 28, 2008

Vikings, the sea and North America

About 1000 AD, some 500 years before Columbus' voyages, the Vikings sailed to Vinland. They built a community in Newfoundland, Canada, and fought with the skraelings, or native peoples.

800 AD to 1000 AD is called the Viking Age. They dominated life in Europe. They were farmers who went to sea in the summer and went to England and France to plunder.

Their ships were cutting edge technology. They could step their masts (fold them down on deck) and row. With the mast and sail down, they gained speed and the ability to travel up the rivers. From this was born the surprise attack of the pillaging Vikings. Because of bravery and ship technology, they could also sail away from the coastline and cut across open waters.

Pagans: "People from the country." Non-Christians.
Christians not allowed to trade with Pagans.
Vikings began to convert to Christianity about 1100 AD.

Trees: not avail on Greenland, but plentiful in Vinland. Why the high priority for trees?

Speaking of Canada, who were the Europeans who settled Nova Scotia, at the time named Acadia? The French who would later be called the Acadians.

Skraelings: the name for savages, or the Native Americans.

Oral culture: the Viking sagas.

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