The Viking and Norse exploration of the continent of North America remains one of the lesser-known episodes of pre-Columbus American history, despite its unquestioned authenticity and numerous archaeological proofs. One of the more interesting sources for these early trans-Atlantic voyages is to be found in the famous Icelandic Sagas, and this book is a masterful collection of these adventures.
Written and compiled by expert scholars and translated directly from the original Icelandic, the Sagas showed that there were numerous Norse voyages of exploration—and settlements—in North America more than 500 years before Columbus. The meticulous research in this work also reveals that Columbus himself was aware of these Norse ventures, and that this knowledge provided many valuable details such as approximately how many days’ sailing he faced.
The Sagas also contain many other fascinating details, such as the name of the first Norse baby born in North America, interactions with the natives—which alternated between trading and war—and the location of their landing points and settlements.
In addition, the Sagas provide evidence of Norse settlers in the New World who stayed behind, and were absorbed into the native population. This book also looks at how US Indian vocabulary was influenced by Norse and Celtic words, and includes a list of Norse/Irish trans-Atlantic voyages of exploration.
Actually three books in one, The Norse Discovery of America remains the leading English translation and study of the Icelandic Sagas ever published—a field of science and historical endeavor now increasingly being ignored.