Thorvald Erikson, first known European to be killed in North America

Thorvald Erikson was the son of Erik the Red and brother of Leif Erikson. The only sources available regarding Thorvald Erikson are the two Vinland sagas; the Greenland Saga and the Saga of Erik the Red. Although the two sagas differ in various detail, according to both sagas Thorvald was part of an expedition for the exploration of Vinland and became the first known European to be killed in North America by its indigenous people. Thorvald Erikson (Old Norse: Þōrvaldr Eirikssonr; Icelandic: Þorvaldur Eiríksson) The Greenland Saga describes the voyage made by Bjarni Herjolfsson,…

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Bjarni Herjolfsson

Bjarni Herjólfsson was an Icelandic trader who is the first known European to discover the mainland of North America in the year 986 AD. Bjarni was born in Iceland to Herjólfr, who was the son of Bárdi Herjólfsson (Old Norse: Bárði) and Thorgerdr (Old Norse: Þorgerðr). When Bjarni grew to manhood, he became a merchant captain based in Norway. Although he was away most of the year, he made sure he visited his father every summer in Iceland. Bjarni is believed to have been the first European to see North America. The Greenlanders Saga tells about one year when…

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Erik the Red

Erik the Red (Old Norse: Eiríkr hinn rauði) was a Norwegian Viking who founded the first Norse settlement in Greenland. Erik Thorvaldsson (Eiríkr Þorvaldsson) was born in 950 AD in the Jæren district of Rogaland, Norway and died in Greenland in the year 1003 AD.  He was the son of Thorvald Asvaldsson, whose violent actions would begin his son, Erik the Red’s, saga. The appellation “the Red” in Erik’s name most likely refers to his hair and beard color. Erik the Red and his wife Þjóðhildr (Thjodhildr) had four children: a daughter, Freydís, and three sons,…

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