“From the Bridge”

Greenland

In the year 0982, Gunnbjorn Ulfsson reported that he had journeyed to another land having fertile green fields, about 200 miles to the west of Iceland. Out of duress, Eric the Red now 32 years old, decided to uproot his family and move there. Eric and his family sailed the treacherous distance between the two landmasses safely and named the new location Greenland. He chose this name because it reflected the grassy, valleys he discovered during this warm period of the island’s history.
Three years later when he could return to Iceland, he told astounding stories about where he and his family had settled. His stories must have sounded inviting since they encouraged many other settlers to join them there, especially considering that a famine had devastated Iceland. Not knowing any better, they had severely overworked the cold soil in Iceland, putting their very existence into jeopardy. Knowing that they could not survive another winter, 980 people on 25 boats left for the arduous journey to Greenland. It must have been a cold, rough crossing because only 14 boats succeeded in making it. However, Eric later learned that some of the boats had survived and had managed to return safely to Iceland. In time, there were about 5,000 settlers in Greenland. The official records indicate that two sizable Norse settlements had been founded in fjords on the southwestern coast of the island. Other smaller ones were located on the same coast as far north as present day Nuuk. Most of the settlements which were founded in about the year 1,000, remained inhabited until well into “The Little Ice Age,” which started in 1350 and lasted for approximately 500 years. In the beginning when the weather was considerably warmer, about 400 farms were started by the Viking farmers. However later, the extreme cold and glacial ice made farming nearly impossible in these frigid northern latitudes. Recently, archaeologists discovered a Viking village that was radiocarbon dated back to circa 1430.


Sisimiut, Greenland… to Davis Point on Baffin Island, Canada is 217 miles.

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