Social Studies 5: Look What Leif Eriksson and the Vikings Found
Today we're learning about how the vikings found North America, got really happy about it, made (and drank) a bunch of wine, and then promptly forgot to keep any records of their discovery. So Columbus ended up getting all the credit...500 years later. Yeesh. Maybe they should have held off on the partying.
|5th Grade||Social Studies|
|Elementary and Middle School||5th Grade|
Talk about showing up late to the party…
The first European visitor to North America was actually this handsome devil, Leif
He was an explorer and a Viking.
The Vikings were a diverse group of people from Scandinavia. [Coop pointing at a blackboard]
They were particularly known for their brutal fighting, and for their long ships, which
were lighter, faster, and more maneuverable than any other ship of the time period.
Leif himself was the son of Eric the Red, founder of the first Norse colony here. [Location of the colony on a map]
He called this barren place “Greenland”.
Probably because “Cold, Barren Land” didn’t look super inviting on travel brochures. [Travel brochure]
As for Leif, one day around 1000 AD, he was sailing back to Greenland after a trip to [Leif stood at the front of his boat]
Norway, where he’d given up his Norse gods for Christianity…
… when a storm blew his ship wildly off course. [Ship in rough waters]
When his ship finally came to a rest – and the seasickness wore off – Leif saw something
unexpected off to the west:
See, all the maps of the time said there would just be open water. [Old Norse map]
So spotting land?
Kind of a big deal.
So Leif headed home, fired his mapmakers, and headed back out to explore this mysterious land. [Leif sets fire to a map shop]
First, he came ashore on an island that was little more than a flat rock. [Leif's ship arrives]
He named the place, “Flat-Rock Land”.
Leif hit the seas again, and landed on present-day Newfoundland in Canada.
There, Leif and his fellow Vikings discovered rivers full of salmon and – even better – grapes. [Leif at a waterfall]
Lots and lots of grapes.
Which the Vikings put to good use…
… making jelly!
C'mon, these were wild, party-hardy Vikings. [A glass of red wine being poured]
They made wine.
Leif was so excited about the of all these grape vines that he named the place – wait
for it – “Vinland” or “Vineland.”
So, if Leif Eriksson and the Vikings discovered North America five hundred years before Columbus,
why does Chris get all the credit?
Turns out, while the Vikings were great at ship-building, pillaging, wine making, and [Picture of Vikings fighting]
marauding, one thing they weren’t so good at was record-keeping.
It wasn’t until a few hundred years after Leif’s travels that anyone bothered to write
And even then, the authors didn’t give much in the way of details. [Vikings at a BBQ]
So the well-documented Columbus story became the popular one.
Then, in the 1960s, two archaeologists discovered the remains of a Norse settlement dating back [Dino pointing at a blackboard]
to the time Leif was rumored to have discovered Vinland.
This discovery seemed to prove that it was Leif, not Christopher,
who got to North America first.
Well… first among the Europeans, that is. [Native Americans looking annoyed]
Evidence of the Vikings in Newfoundland continues to grow.
In fact, in 2015, satellite imaging picked up evidence of a possible Norse settlement
here in Point Rosé.
And as archaeology becomes more advanced, who knows where the next discovery of Viking [Astronaut on the moon]
exploration will be?
Uh… that might be pushing it…