THE HISTORY OF CANADA
The earliest discovery of the New World was made by Norse seafarers known as Vikings. The vague accounts of their exploits are drawn from their sagas, epic stories in prose or verse handed down by word of mouth through many generations. In AD 985 Norse seamen sailing from Iceland to Greenland were blown far westward off their course and sighted the coast of what must have been Labrador. The report of forested areas on the strange new coast encouraged further explorations by Norse colonists from Greenland, whose settlements lacked lumber.
In AD 1000 Leif Ericson became the first European to land in North America (see Ericson). According to the sagas, this was the first of many Norse voyages to the eastern shores of the continent. A colony was established in what the Vikings described as Vinland, identified in 1963 as being on the northernmost tip of Newfoundland. Recent investigations have cast doubt on the once-popular theory that the Vikings also penetrated Hudson Bay and reached the upper Great Lakes region by overland routes. Discoveries of "Norse" relics in that area have been exposed by scholars as hoaxes. The Greenland colony died out during the 14th and 15th centuries, and the Norse adventures in Canada must have come to an end well before that time.
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