L'anse Aux Meadows

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L'Anse aux Meadows, on the northeastern tip of Newfoundland, Canada, may have been the first European settlement in North America. In the 1960s Norse ruins were found here, leading scholars to believe this was the site described by Norsemen (Vikings) after they visited a portion of the North American coast around a.d. 1000. The Viking voyages were recorded in a book called the Greenlanders' Saga (1200). Norwegian-born Leif Ericsson (c.970c.1020) is generally credited with having been the first European to set foot on North American soil. Ericsson was the son of navigator Erik the Red who founded a Norse settlement in Greenland, where he moved his family in 985 or 986. About the same time another Norseman, Bjarni Herjolfsson, who was driven off course on his way from Iceland to Greenland, became the first European to see North America, but he did not go ashore. It is believed that Ericsson decided he would follow up on this discovery, and about 1001 he set out from Greenland with a crew of 35 men and probably landed on the southern end of Baffin Island (north of the province of Quebec). The expedition likely reached Labrador, Canada, and later landed on the coast of what is today Nova Scotia or Newfoundland, Canada. This landfall may have been L'Anse aux Meadows. Ericsson and his crew spent the winter of 1001-02 at a place he called Vinland, which was described as well wooded and abounding in fruit, especially grapes. He returned to Greenland in the spring of 1002.

The first authenticated European landing in North America was in 1500 when Portuguese navigator Gaspar de Corte-Real (1450?1501?) explored the coast of Labrador and Newfoundland.