ICELAND


WESTERN EUROPE EASTERN EUROPE NORTH AMERICA SOUTH AMERICA ASIA AFRICA + OCEANIA

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ICELAND


Iceland was one of the last large islands uninhabited by humans until it was discovered and settled by immigrants from Scandinavia, Ireland and Scotland during the 9th and 10th centuries. Íslendingabók (Latin: Libellus Islandorum; English: The Book of Icelanders), written in 1122–33 claims that the Norwegian Ingólfur Arnarson was the first man to settle in Iceland (at Reykjavík) in 870. The families were accompanied by servants and slaves, some of whom were Celts or Picts from Scotland and Ireland (known as Westmen to the Norse). Some literary evidence suggests that Irish monks may have been living in Iceland before the arrival of Norse settlers, but no archćological evidence has been found. Erik the Red, or Eiríkur Ţorvaldsson, was exiled from Iceland for manslaughter in 980, and set sail to explore the lands to the west. He established the first settlements in Greenland around this time, naming the land, according to legend, to attract settlers. Eirikur's son, Leifur Eiríksson, finally set foot in the Americas around the year 1000. While some say he was blown off-course, it is most likely that he was deliberately seeking the land spotted by Bjarni Herjólfsson several years earlier. He is believed to have established a colony at L'Anse aux Meadows in Newfoundland, which lasted only a few years. Despite the short stay, a sizable colony with at least eight buildings including a forge and various workshops was built. Two further attempts at colonization by his brother ended in failure