Sunday, November 3, 2013

Leif Erikson - Explorer 9.10.1958

This light gray, brown and black brown stamp honours Leif Erikson, a Norse explorer who led the first known European expedition to the mainland of North America. 

Erikson was born in Iceland around 980 A.D.  About 985 A.D., his father, Erik the Red, founded a settlement in Greenland.  About 1002 A.D., Erikson and a crew of 35 men sailed west from Greenland in search of land sighted by another sea captain.  They landed in what they called Helluland – flat rock land.  They traveled further south and reached Markland – forest land.  Traveling farther south, they reach Vinland – or wineland.  Their crew members likely made wine from cranberries or gooseberries. nearly 500 years before Christopher Columbus. According to the Sagas of Icelanders, he established a Norse settlement at Vinland, tentatively identified with the Norse L'Anse aux Meadows on the northern tip of Newfoundland in modern-day Canada.
Norsemen continued to travel from Greenland to Vinland for a period of about 15 years after Erikson’s discovery.  Historians believe these voyages ceased due to violent confrontations with American Indians. October 9th is observed as Leif Erikson day in the United States. And it is on this day in 1968 at Seatle that this stamp was issued.

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