Collapse of Norse Greenland

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The fourth point of Diamond’s framework is friendly neighbors. As previously discussed, in Diamond’s view the Norse Greenlanders did not have a very good relationship with their neighbors the Inuits, which decreased trade between them. Also, as the weather became colder, and the icebergs increased, it was more difficult to take trade ships in and out of Greenland, causing loss of support from their trade partners in Scandinavia. The Greenlanders also had missed their opportunity to trade with people from North America. Since Scandinavia was the only “home” trade partner, the loss of trade from here had a very large impact on the Viking people. The necessities that they needed, such as timber and iron (which was helpful in maintaining/creating their cultural identity) was lost with the trade. Also, the Black Death that had struck Norway in the mid-14th century (as trading came from Norway, Scandinavia, to Iceland, then to Greenland), created an economic and political instability as it had killed half the population in Norway. This caused Norway difficulty in sending out trade ships. Also, Greenland’s primary export (walrus tusks) became less valuable to outside countries as sources of ivory started coming out of Africa. As the trade, and the Greenlanders “friendly neighbors” dwindled, was part of the “ultimate factors behind the Greenland colony’s demise” (Diamond, p. 267). McAnany and Yoffee believe that Diamond’s view is one of the two differing views on why Greenland’s trade connection had deteriorated. Another view that is seen with more relation to resilience thinking is that, instead of their trade stopping as their neighbors found trade elsewhere it was caused as a lack of interest in trade. As it was believed that “although...

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...ncy in the roles of the people, the tendency to collapse and fail increase when the circumstances the people are in suddenly change. If the land that the Norse had within their own society overlapped, and maybe even overlapped with the Inuit, the Greenlanders would have had a better chance at a resilient survival. The last point of resilience would be ecosystem services, where the Norse Greenlanders would try to help their environment and become more aware of their surroundings. When they appreciate the trees that gave them their resources, and try to help in return by planting more trees, they would be more resilient in their society. There are many ways in which the Norse Greenland would need to reorganize and become more resilient, however the Norse lived for as long as they could under the circumstances they found and put themselves in before leaving Greenland.

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