Wow, the US government has officially proclaimed October 9th as Leif Erikson’s day. First of all they – the same government that lies to its citizens daily - misspelled his name. Of course what sane person believes the corrupt US government anyway? But I digress.
Assuming that Leif was literate – we do not know that he was – he would have spelled his name in the Old Norse way, Leifur Eiriksson, because he was the son of Eirik, therefore literally Eirik’s son and he spoke the Old Norse language.
Leifur was born on Iceland, and like his mother and father was of Norwegian extraction. His voyage of discovery occurred sometime between 997 and 1002. It is doubtful the exact date will ever be known, but that is close enough for our purposes.
The important thing is that the Norse accomplishment has finally been officially recognized – and Obama was not the first to recognize the day.
The Norse discovered America, not Christopher Columbus. Columbus, by the way, never set foot on the North American continent during his alleged voyage of discovery some 500-years after Leifur and his crew arrived.
As far as we know at this point the Norse were the first Europeans to set foot on the North American continent. Irish monks may have done it 400-years before Leifur, but we will probably never be able to prove that, it being difficult to even find any sign of an event that occurred 1400-years ago on this continent.
Leifur was not even the first Norseman to know of the land to the west southwest of Greenland, but we think he was the first to land. The first sighting was made by Bjarni Herjulfsson of Iceland. Storm-driven too far to the west of Greenland, he sighted either Baffin Island or Labrador before turning back to the northeast for Greenland.
But putting all the minutia aside, today is to officially celebrate the accomplishment of Leifur Eiriksson, who with his crew of hearty souls sailed to the west southwest of Eiriksfjord, Greenland, landing on Helluland (Baffin Island) and Markland (Labrador) along the way, before finding what he sought on Newfoundland at a place he called, according to the sagas, Leifsbudir (Leif’s Booths). We know the place as L ‘Anse aux Meadows, or Jellyfish Cove in English. You will find it on a map on the northeastern tip of Newfoundland, Canada.
So, take a moment during your day to celebrate what Leifur Eiriksson and his crew accomplished so long ago. They discovered and landed on an island within sight and just off the North American coast - a very big deal, folks. (Ed.)