Event: Vikings Land in New World to the West
Date: A.D. 1000
Place: Greenland
Brief Synopsis: During the late 10th century A.D., Norwegian, Swedish, and Danish Vikings expanded their settlement of northern and western Europe into Iceland and Greenland. They were led by famed explorers such as Eric the Red. Around A.D. 1000, Eric the Red’s son Leif Erickson expanded the Viking influence into eastern North America. Erickson settled in what many believe is modern-day Newfoundland. Erickson called the region Vinland because of the grapes growing there. The Viking settlements in North America came almost 500 years before other Europeans “discovered” America.

Web Links

Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History’s “Vikings: The North Atlantic Saga”

Nova: The Vikings

Research Questions

Answer each question below using the suggested links to guide your research.

1. What modern-day nations make up the lands of the Vikings in both Europe and North America? When did the Vikings leave their homes in Scandinavia and when did they arrive in North America? Who were the major explorers?

2. Describe the changes that were taking place in Viking society prior to the 12th century. List and describe the primary economic activities of the Norse settlers of the North Atlantic islands.

3. What effect did the Viking settlers have on the environment and ecosystems of the North Atlantic lands they settled? What are sagas?

4. What evidence exists to support the idea that the Vikings had contact with the natives of North America during the early 1000s?

Team Discussion Question

After your team has answered the questions above, discuss these questions as a team:

· Describe the reasons for Viking exploration. What was their greatest contribution to civilization? Trade routes? Exploration? The longboat?

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