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Vikings vs. Native Americans: A Clash of Cultures in the New World (Video)


The Vikings have always been known for their bold and adventurous spirit, but for a long time historians didn’t realize that the Vikings actually beat Columbus to the Americas by over 400 years. So what happened when they clashed with the Native Americans in North America? In 1,000 AD, the Americas had been cut off from Eurasia for almost 12,000 years, so when the Vikings journeyed to the Americas from Greenland and Iceland, it wasn't very peaceful. Erik the Red had begun a movement to colonize Greenland, and his son Leif Erikson was fascinated by strange lands to the west. Leif set sail with 35 men to find out if this mysterious land existed and eventually found Newfoundland, where he and his men set up camp.

However, they did not stay very long, and there are no accounts of encounters with Native Americans during Leif's brief visit. Over time, Thorvald and his men arrived, and the Vikings had tense relations with the Native Americans, which led to an arrow ending Thorvald's life. Thorfinn Karlsefni, a wealthy merchant with a distinguished lineage, arrived with three ships and between 160-250 men and women and livestock, which led to a legendary battle with the Native Americans. But what happened to the Vikings after battling the Native Americans? They didn’t stick around for long.

Top image: Armed Vikings. Source: Nejron Photo / Adobe Stock.

By Robbie Mitchell

Robbie Mitchell's picture


I’m a graduate of History and Literature from The University of Manchester in England and a total history geek. Since a young age, I’ve been obsessed with history. The weirder the better. I spend my days working as a freelance... Read More

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