Visit Vinland!

Hail Vinlands shimmering waters,
yield me bountiful codfish
and a wonderful wife
for me to eat,
and keep me company...
  Poet Einar Grimrsson

Vinland, located just South and East of Greenland, is home to beaches, mountains, forests, low depressions that seasonally fill with water, and one of the worlds largest canned fish industries.

From the first Norse explorers nearly one thousand years ago, to rafts and large bits of wood only recently, Vinland's shores have been welcoming people for quite a while. Vinland's wonders range from the spectacular to the sublime. Come with us now a nd learn about this treasure that is Vinland...

An interpreted history of Vinland

A Vinlander's Perspective

Win a Cannery Tour

The Miss Vinland Pageant

An Interpreted History of Vinland

Around a thousand years ago, almost exactly, Norse explorers from Greenland discovered Vinland, the shining jewel of the Atlantic. They called it Vínland. The name came from the Norse word for Wine, "Vín", as this land had a l ot of grapes, and this apparently made good wine. Some scholars have suggested that the reference to wine came from a remark from one of the explorers, in which they said they wouldnít make such a long and tedious voyage in such a crappy ship unless this place was three feet deep in wine.

Most accounts have it that the fellow to first discover Vínland was Leif Eiríksson, but it is also written that his pal, Bjarni Herjólfsson, actually sighted it first. To help clarify this, historians and unemployed extras from &q uot;Fargo" have made this reenactment:

Bjarni: Hey Leif...
Leif: Ja, Bjarni.
Ya know, ah, I was down there by where we found all those cod last week...
Oh, Ja?
Ja, and I coulda sworn I saw land, ya know.
Oh, ja, land ya say?
Ja, land I saw. Ya wanna take a trip out there with me to check it out?
Ja, sure, you betcha.

Unfortunately, Leif never took Bjarni and went on to discover Vínland himself.

Anyway, the Norse had settlements in Vínland, the most famous being at L'Anse Aux Meadows, Newfoundland. It of course is called L'Anse Aux Meadows now because it was named by French speaking people came much later. The Norse name was lost when the Norse settlers left.

Why did they leave, allowing it to be Ďrediscoveredí by Christopher Columbus or Cristobal Cologne, or whatever his name was, hundreds of years later? Well, thereís no definite answer, but there are several excellent theories.

The leading theory is that when the Norse arrived, they lived there for awhile until they encountered the Skraelings (what they called the Indians), now the Norse explorers of this new world had a strict prime directive, that stated that they couldnít interfere with any other culture or civilization. This actually was considerably different for their old prime directive, which was take whatever you want from other people and civilizations, and if they object, hit them with various metal and wooden imp lements and set their houses ablaze.

Anyway, this new, less exciting prime directive meant they had to leave and return to Greenland and Iceland, which wasnít so bad, as thatís where all the good looking chicks lived.

Anyway, they left and put up warning buoys to keep other travelers away, but the batteries must have ran out on these three hundred years later when crass Spanish explorers arrived, thinking they were in India. (snicker, snicker).

So then this and that happened and it wasnít until a little while ago people remembered that the Norse really did find this place, and it wasnít until tremendously recently (!) that people decided to use the placeís old name: Vinland. And now we are i n the present, where we have rediscovered our Norse roots, and can celebrate, with wine, women and fish.

(A few quick points, you may ask why didnít the Skraelings discover it if they already live here? The reply to this is, of course, "Donít be such a smart alec!" The other point is why is there a tractor in the picture for thi s section? "Well, I just thought it was a very nice tractor, thatís all." Happy now?)

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A Vinlander's Perspective
By Gordon Gordonsson

I am an atheist. I have been since a child. I just never saw a need for any supernatural beings, everything works on its own. That being said, I cannot deny that I grew up and still am immersed in Christian culture. I say, "Oh my God." when somethi ng bad happens, and use J*sus Chr!$# as an explicative. I do this as my parents did, as their parents before them did ,but not if you go back far enough, as I am descended from Germanic people, at least in part the Norse. They believed in different Gods , until Christianity spread to Western Europe. It saddens me that our old traditions were abandoned to accept those developed by another people. All the stories of the Gods and heroes of the North were replaced by stories from the Middle East.

Now the Jewish people have stories and a language developed by themselves that they jealously guard and study, and rightfully so. Native Americans make sure their traditions are handed down through the generations. So why don't we descendents of the Germanic people keep our traditions alive? Why do we not teach our children of the Norse Gods and heroes, and teach them Old Norse, the language most similar to the ancestral language of the Germanic people, and indeed the language of our Norse ancestors as it was in 1200 AD?

Well, I think we should be sharing these traditions, so I have taken several steps to do this. I have started learning Old Norse, and its amazing contemporary counterpart, Icelandic, so I may read the Sagas in their original form, and maybe understand the Norse perspective better, and that I may keep our language alive.

I have also made this web page hopefully to find similar people and maybe help others find their heritage, and maybe have a laugh doing it.

So I don't know if I'll ever be able to replace "Oh, My God" with "By Thor!", but I should be able to come up with some interesting tales to illustrate a point, and some exciting tale to tell my kids.

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Produced by Vinland Tourism Bureau and The Vinland Ministry of Unrelated Affairs
This page is the product of the twisted mind of Gordon Gordonsson

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