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Leif Erikson Day, October 9, 2004
The White House ^ | October 7, 2004 | By the President of the United States of America

Posted on 10/10/2004 3:14:20 PM PDT by U.S. Resident

Leif Erikson Day, 2004

By the President of the United States of America
A Proclamation

More than 1,000 years ago, Leif Erikson led his crew on a journey across the Atlantic, becoming the first European known to have set foot on North American soil. Every October, we honor this courageous Viking explorer, his historic voyage, and the rich heritage of Nordic Americans.

Immigrants from Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden and their descendants have made great contributions to our Nation in the fields of business, politics, the arts, education, agriculture, and other areas. Nordic Americans have also made a significant mark on our country's society and culture, and have helped to establish and define America's most cherished principles. Their energy and spirit have inspired others, and their courage, skill, and determination have played an important role in the development of our country. Today, millions of people in the United States trace their origins to these Nordic countries, and their contributions to America make our country stronger and better.

On this day, we also recognize our longstanding ties to these nations that were home to the ancestors of many Americans. Together, we continue to work to advance prosperity, expand freedom, and increase stability and security in Europe and elsewhere in the world.

To honor Leif Erikson, the courageous son of Iceland and grandson of Norway, and to celebrate our citizens of Nordic-American heritage, the Congress, by joint resolution (Public Law 88-566) approved on September 2, 1964, has authorized and requested the President to proclaim October 9 of each year as "Leif Erikson Day."

NOW, THEREFORE, I, GEORGE W. BUSH, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim October 9, 2004, as Leif Erikson Day. I call upon all Americans to observe this day with appropriate ceremonies, activities, and programs to honor our rich Nordic-American heritage.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this seventh day of October, in the year of our Lord two thousand four, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and twenty-ninth.

GEORGE W. BUSH


TOPICS: Announcements; Culture/Society
KEYWORDS: 1492; ageofsail; ancientnavigation; archaeology; baffinisland; bush43; christophercolumbus; columbusday; denmark; discovery; finland; ggg; godsgravesglyphs; heritage; history; iceland; leiferikson; nordicamerican; nordicamericans; norway; proclamation; sweden; thevikings; vikings
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1 posted on 10/10/2004 3:14:21 PM PDT by U.S. Resident
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To: U.S. Resident

"The country which is called Greenland was discovered and settled from Iceland. Eric the Red was the name of a man from Breidafjord who went there from here and took possession of land in the place which has since been called Ericsfjord. He named the country Greenland, and said it would make people want to go there if the country had a good name. There, both in the East and the West, they found human habitations and fragments of skin boats and stone implements, from which it was evident that the same kind of people had been there as lived in Wineland and whom the Greenlanders call Skraelingjar. He began settlement in the country 14 or 15 years before Christianity came to Iceland, according to what a man who himself had gone there with Eric the Red told Thorkell Gellisson in Greenland."
This extract from the Book of the Icelanders by Ari the Learned (1067-1148) is completely reliable, though tantalizingly brief. He could be sure that his readers knew about Wineland, and so wasted no words on the story of its discovery and the early attempts that were made to settle there.

The Book of Settlements contains more about Eric the Red, the father of Leif Ericsson. Eric’s father had fled from Norway because he had slain men, and settled in Iceland. Eric established a farm at Erisstadir in the west of Iceland and also lived for a short time on Oexney and Sudurey, two of the islands off the West coast. Like his father, he also became involved in slayings, and was eventually sentenced to three years’ outlawry and exile. Eric sailed to Greenland and spent the three years exploring both the East and West coasts. After a year in Iceland, he then moved permanently to Greenland in either 985 or 986. The same summer, 25 ships set out for Greenland, of which only 14 made the crossing. This was the beginning of the Icelandic settlement of the country, a settlement which flourished for some centuries.

The discovery of Wineland the Good and other lands on the eastern coast of North America is recorded at greater length in two mediaeval Iceland sagas, the Saga of Eric the Red and the Saga of the Greenlanders. These were probably written around or soon after the year 1200, just over two centuries after the events they record. Of course it is likely that many details in them were distorted or altered in the time during which they were handed down orally, but these two sagas contain a central body of facts in common, including most of the characters, the new lands in the west, and many of the main events.

Leif was Eric’s eldest child, probably born at Ericsstadir about 970-980. As a child he moved with his parents to Greenland and grew up on the farm at Brattahlid. Following the custom common among the sons of prominent Icelandic families of the time, he made a voyage to Norway as a young man. According to the account in the Saga of Eric the Red, his ship was blown to the Hebrides and he spent most of a summer there, during which time he begot a child with a woman named Thorgunna. He arrived in Norway in the autumn. The king of Norway at the time was Olafur Tryggvason (who ruled 995-1000), and he made great efforts to convert Norway and the countries which had been settled from it to Christianity. Leif met the king, was converted, and spent the winter with him. In the spring the king sent him to Greenland to spread Christianity, and sent two men to Iceland for the same purpose, who succeeded in getting the Icelanders to adopt Christianity at the Althingi in the summer.

Leif was driven off course in this voyage, and found lands whose existence he had not previously known of. In one place there were fields of self-sown wheat and grapevines. Leif named the country Wineland. On the way back to Greenland he found men on a wrecked ship and rescued them, after which he made his way to his father’s home in Brattahlid. This took place in the year 1000 according to Snorri Sturluson’s Heimskringla.

Leif brought a priest with him from Norway, and set about spreading the new religion in Greenland. The saga says that Eric was reluctant to have anything to do with it, but his wife Thjodhildur was converted immediately and had a church built at some distance from the farm buildings. The settlers in Greenland were probably all converted very quickly, since no heathen graves have been found there. A cathedral and bishopric were built later in Gardar in the next fjord.

Soon after Leif’s return to Greenland, an expedition was mounted to explore the lands he had found. The explorers came first to a flat and stony land which they named Flat-Stone Land. Then they sailed further south and found another piece of land which was level and wooded, and they named this Forest Land. Then they sailed a long way south and reached a country where there were grapevines and self-won wheat. Flat-Stone Land was probably Baffin Island, while Forest Land was possibly part of Labrador. Archeological remains left by Norsemen in the Viking Age have been discovered on the northern tip of Newfoundland. They are probably the remains of wintering quarters, a staging-point on the way between Greenland and Wineland. From the descriptions in the sagas and from the objects found in Newfoundland it seems plain that Wineland was considerably further south, probably to the south of Gulf of St. Lawrence in what is now New Brunswick.

The Saga of Greenlanders tells how Bjarni Herjolfsson, the son of a settler in Greenland, was the first to see the new countries when he lost his course in fog while sailing to Greenland, and how Leif Ericsson later explored them and gave them their names. It is impossible to say now which version is correct, but if the two sagas are given equal weight then the conclusion is that both men were the discoverers, but Leif retains the credit for exploring the new lands and giving them their names according to their characteristics.

Attempts were later made to settle in Wineland. A man from Skagafjord in northern Iceland, Thorfinnur Karlsefni, led a large expedition in the early 11th century. According to the Saga of Greenlanders, there were sixty men and five women on his ship, including his wife Gudridur. Thorfinnur had all sorts of livestock with him, since he intended to settle in the new country. He got Leif’s permission to use the houses Leif had built in Wineland and stayed there with his men for three years, but was driven away following violent clashed with the Skraelingjar. During the first autumn in Leif’s house in Wineland, Snorri, the son of Thorfinnur and Gudridur was born, and he is the first European recorded in history as being born on the American continent. After a short time in Greenland, Thorfinnur and Gudridur went back to Iceland and settled at Reynines in the North.

"Gudridur was a very exceptional woman" says the Saga of Eric the Red, and the Saga of the Greenlanders says that after Thorfinnur’s death she made a pilgrimage to Rome, returned to Iceland to live with her son, finally becoming a nun and a recluse in her old age.

Very little is known about Leif’s later life. He was the most prominent person in Greenland after the death of his father, and he lived at Brattahlid. It is not known when he died, but his son Thorkell is on record as the master of Brattahlid in about 1025, so that he presumably died before then.

Leif’s determination and nobility of spirit are well attested in the two Wineland sagas, albeit in tersely-worded passages. "Leif became wealthy and well respected" says the Saga of the Greenlanders. After the rescue of the shipwrecked men, the Saga of Eric the Red reads: "In this, as in many other things, he showed the greatest nobility and goodness ... and after this he was always called Leif the Lucky".


2 posted on 10/10/2004 3:15:04 PM PDT by U.S. Resident
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To: U.S. Resident

The Orientals had him beat by at LEAST 10,000 years.


3 posted on 10/10/2004 3:17:34 PM PDT by bikepacker67 (Wake up the damn Bambino and have me face him. Maybe I'll drill him in the ass)
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To: U.S. Resident
KITTIES: HOW ARE YOU RES!!
KITTIES: WE ARE YOUR OVERLORDS.
4 posted on 10/10/2004 3:17:47 PM PDT by RichInOC (SO NOW YOU BETTER 'ZOT' AND REBUILD ALL YOUR RUINS...)
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To: U.S. Resident

We need a clarificaton: Finns were NOT Vikings.


5 posted on 10/10/2004 3:22:28 PM PDT by Kurt_D
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To: U.S. Resident
Snorri may have been the first European born in North America, apart from Greenland, but he wasn't necessarily born on the mainland of North America--it may have been Newfoundland. There are archaeological remains of a Norse settlement dating about A.D. 1000 at L'Anse aux Meadows near the northern tip of Newfoundland which were discovered in the 1960s.
6 posted on 10/10/2004 3:42:03 PM PDT by Verginius Rufus
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To: U.S. Resident

Go Vikings!! (and kitties)

http://users.wolfcrews.com/toys/vikings/


7 posted on 10/10/2004 3:42:19 PM PDT by Finalapproach29er ({about the news media} "We'll tell you any sh** you want hear" : Howard Beale --> NETWORK)
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To: U.S. Resident

I come from the Land of the ice and the snow...........

8 posted on 10/10/2004 3:53:11 PM PDT by Missouri
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To: Missouri; B4Ranch
Ah, ah,
We come from the land of the ice and snow,
From the midnight sun where the hot springs blow.
The hammer of the gods will drive our ships to new lands,
To fight the horde, singing and crying: Valhalla, I am coming!

On we sweep with threshing oar, Our only goal will be the western shore.

Ah, ah,
We come from the land of the ice and snow,
From the midnight sun where the hot springs blow.
How soft your fields so green, can whisper tales of gore,
Of how we calmed the tides of war. We are your overlords.

On we sweep with threshing oar, Our only goal will be the western shore.

So now you'd better stop and rebuild all your ruins,
For peace and trust can win the day despite of all your losing.
9 posted on 10/10/2004 4:22:42 PM PDT by risk
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To: U.S. Resident
Then there was the guy who brought the concept/design for the bow and arrow from the Old World to the New World circa 800 AD.

We don't know who he was, but he could have come from anywhere but Australia.

The deal is, if you take a good look at the hurricane season in the Atlantic, and the sheer size of the Pacific basin, ancient people could get to America fairly easily. They just couldn't get back home ~ unless, maybe, the guys from the high Andes running cocaine to ancient Egypt, ever thought to go back.

10 posted on 10/10/2004 4:23:14 PM PDT by muawiyah
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To: Verginius Rufus

Snorri's grandfather was Carhal, the High King of Ireland in that day, right?


11 posted on 10/10/2004 4:25:57 PM PDT by muawiyah
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To: U.S. Resident
Check out the "Kenington Runistone" which was found in Minnesota in 1890. It talks about a Viking expedition in about 1090 that was sent by the King of Norway to find out where the settlement in Greenland had gone.
12 posted on 10/10/2004 4:51:08 PM PDT by stubernx98 (cranky, but reasonable)
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To: Kurt_D
Looks like you and I are the only ones who know that. (See my post http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/881657/posts?page=32#32)
13 posted on 10/10/2004 4:51:40 PM PDT by ajf0
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To: stubernx98

The Kensington Runestone is now housed in a museum in Alexandria, Minnesota. It is generally dismissed as a forgery from after the modern settlement of Scandinavian immigrants in the area.


14 posted on 10/10/2004 4:58:35 PM PDT by Verginius Rufus
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To: U.S. Resident
Leif Erickson Day seems like it might be more of a drinking holiday than Columbus Day. So I hoist a tall mug of beer as a salute to Leif Erickson. Now tomorrow is Columbus Day and I will have a hard time drinking beer to that. Perhaps a glass of wine. I can picture Columbus as more of a wine drinker.

Speaking of Leaves, does anybody remember Leif Garrett? During the late 1970s, he attained a certain degree of notoriety as some sort of teen idol. A few lame Top 40 hits and possibly a movie or two but I can't remember. He was some kind of sissy long-haired kid. Faded into obscurity even faster than Shaun Cassidy.

15 posted on 10/10/2004 4:58:53 PM PDT by SamAdams76 (The NHL is not playing - does anybody notice?)
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To: SamAdams76

http://dophine0.tripod.com/

I Was Made for Dancin'

Like a wheel on a road
Turning round and round
Nowhere to go

I've got to find out
If you're feeling it too
It's hard to tell
So here's what I do

And everytime I want more
I take you out on the floor

(CHORUS)
I was made for dancing
All, all, all, all night long
Yes, I was made for dancing
All, all, all, all night long

The days and nights
Are moving by me and you
You're such a crazy love
You tear me in two

I spend my time
Moving to dreams that I face
Such a crazy love
You can see it in my face

And everytime I want more
I take you out on the floor

(CHORUS) etc to fade

16 posted on 10/10/2004 5:08:20 PM PDT by U.S. Resident
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To: SamAdams76
Thanksgiving Day in Canada is always celebrated on the same day in October as Columbus Day in the U.S. Perhaps our friends to the North should instead take Leif Erikson day as their holiday -- to thank God that at least someone discovered Canada...
17 posted on 10/10/2004 5:38:28 PM PDT by mikrofon (Another beer, eh!)
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To: Missouri

That's funny! I was thinking of that old 70's era song myself, when they mentioned Iceland, and the discovery of the other lands up there!


18 posted on 10/10/2004 6:31:45 PM PDT by dsutah
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To: U.S. Resident

19 posted on 10/10/2004 6:35:21 PM PDT by Revolting cat! ("In the end, nothing explains anything!")
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To: U.S. Resident; Cacique

Their is a Leif Erickson Park in Bay Ridge/Dyker Heights Brooklyn, created back in the day when that part of New York was home to the largest population of Norwegians outside of the midwest. Although most (though not all) of the Norwegian has moved on, there is still the crowning of Miss Norway every year in May.


20 posted on 10/10/2004 6:49:20 PM PDT by Clemenza (Still waiting in vain for a savior to rise from E Street)
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