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Vikings and the First American Colony

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Vikings and the First American Colony

The idea that Columbus did not provide Europeans with their first long term contact with America is now nearly universally accepted. Activists for the Irish monk, St. Brenden, and other early explorers are gaining support with new archaeological evidence. It is the Norsemen, though, that have the distinction of being the first colonizers of the Americas, whether or not chance meetings occurred before. The legacy they left the Americas is striking considering the short amount of time they actually spent here, and historians are baffled by nearly every aspect of their colony. The forces that made them abandon Vineland, their main colony, are the subject of an ongoing debate on both sides of the Atlantic. The nature, location, and inhabitants of the Americas the Vikings knew would all have been obstacles to forming a permanent settlement. The economy, the driving force for colonization, also affected the need for Vineland.

The peninsula in the northwest corner of Europe known as Jutland has been inhabited by Scandinavians for centuries. Pto...

... middle of paper ... discovery of America. The colony was not permanent, but the legacy the Vikings left is seen in many places like Cape Cod where street names like Leif Lane and Viking Way dot the maps.

Historians may never know all the details concerning why settlement did not last. For now the evidence points to skirmishes with the natives, the long distance from Greenland, the population shortage and the natural environmental factors. The Vikings were here for an instant and, for various reasons abandoned their settlement, leaving their mark forever.

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