Letter to the Editor

V is for Viking and other lessons

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Dear Editor,

When I taught my children and grandsons, the alphabet I explained to them that V was the first letter of the word Viking.

During grade school, we learned that Columbus sailed the ocean blue in 1492. However, he was not the first European to reach the New World.

Toward the end of the Viking age between 800 A.D. and 1050 A.D. the Norsemen discovered the North American continent. They set sail from Greenland and landed in eastern Canada.

Their voyages took them to Greenland in 985 A.D. Actually, Leif Erickson, son of Erik the Red, was a key player in the discovery of the North American continent and Newfoundland in northeastern Canada.

According to Anne Stine Ingstad, an archaeologist, a site was excavated in the 1960s in Newfoundland. It was identified as Vinland. The Norsemen built houses there out of wood with sod covering the roof and the walls. The sod was laid grassy side up.

A large room was used for a time working and sleeping. There was also a kitchen. In addition, there were storage rooms and a boat shed.

People living in Norway, Sweden and Denmark were referred to as Norsemen. Voyagers to the New World were known as Vikings.

Their settlement included a blacksmith shop and a church. About 65 to 90 people lived in the settlement, which was established at Norstad, Newfoundland.

These people never intended to stay permanently. More than likely, there were areas of abundant timber and wild grapes, etc. A sudden departure may have been caused by attacks of Native Americans.

The Vikings were skillful and daring seamen. They made successful raids on England, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy and Spain. Before they went to North America in the 1000s, they had sailed to Iceland in the 800s and Greenland in the 900s.

Danish Vikings raided England in 980 A.D. Swedish Vikings raided western Russia. The influence of Norwegian Vikings in Scotland and Ireland lasted through the Middle Ages.

Helen Ruth Arnold,

Trenton, Neb.

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