Erik Thorvaldsson (950 – c. 1003), known as Erik the Red was a Norwegian Viking, remembered in medieval and Icelandic saga sources as having founded the first Norse settlement in Greenland. The Icelandic tradition indicates that he was born in the Jæren district of Rogaland, Norway, as the son of Þorvald Ásvaldsson, he therefore also appears, patronymically, as Erik Thorvaldsson (Eiríkr Þorvaldsson). The appellation "the Red" most likely refers to his hair color and the color of his beard.
Erik the Red's father was banished from Norway for the crime of manslaughter. He sailed West from Norway with his family and settled in Hornstrandir in northwestern Iceland. After marrying Thjodhild (Þjóðhildr), Erik moved to Haukadal (Hawksdale) where he built a farm. Erik then moved to the island of Öxney (Iceland).
Popular history credits Erik as the first person to discover Greenland: according to records from the time, Galti headed the first Norse attempt to colonize Greenland, which ended in disaster. Erik the Red was the first permanent European settler.
When Erik returned to Iceland after his exile had expired, he is said to have brought with him stories of "Greenland". Erik deliberately gave the land a more appealing name than "Iceland" in order to lure potential settlers. He explained, "people would be attracted to go there if it had a favorable name"
After spending the winter in Iceland, Erik returned to Greenland in 985 with a large number of colonists and established two colonies on its southwest coast. The settlement flourished, growing to 5000 inhabitants spread over a considerable area along Eriksfjord and neighboring fjords.
Medieval Icelandic tradition relates that Erik the Red and his wife Þjóðhildr (Thjodhildr) had four children: a daughter and three sons. Erik himself remained a follower of Norse paganism, unlike his son Leif and Leif's wife, who became Christians. After being baptized by king Olaf Tryggvason, Leif brought message of Christianity to Greenland, becoming something of an evangelist. While his wife took heartily to the religion, even commissioning Greenland's first church, Erik greatly disliked the faith and stuck to his Norse Gods.
Erik fell off his horse on his way to the ship and took this as a bad sign, leaving his son, Leif Erikson, to continue to explore the land of Vinland (part of North America. Erik died the winter after his son's departure.
Overall: 92 cm
Width: 10,5 cm
Weight: 1,9 kg
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