Vikings In Canada: FlightHub’s Take On Canada’s Near-Norse Past

We all know the story of Christopher Columbus. An Italian explorer, Columbus sailed from Spain to the New World in 1492, discovering much of Caribbean over his four voyages. Likewise, the story of Jacques Cartier is well known after he discovered what would later become Canada in 1534. What many people don’t know is that neither of these famous explorers can accurately take the credit for new world exploration, especially when it comes to Canada. This is because in 1960, a site was discovered in what is now known as the province of Newfoundland that shows visitors had been to Canada almost half a millennium before the arrival of both Columbus and Cartier. Now a UNESCO World Heritage Site and National Historic Site Of Canada, L’Anse Aux Meadows is a popular destination for those who love history. FlightHub, a Canadian online travel agency, knows this. As a company dedicated to travel and intimately attached to Canadian tourism, FlightHub reviews sites such as L’Anse Aux Meadows so they can adequately guide peoples travel choices. So, what makes L’Anse Aux Meadows so interesting? It wasn’t the Spanish, or French, or British who discovered Canada. It was the Vikings.

lanseauxmeadows

As I mentioned, L’Anse Aux Meadows was discovered in 1960 on the very Northeast tip of Newfoundland. Acting on a hunch about a Norse story mentioned in the Icelandic Sagas, an oral history of Norwegian people, two Icelandic explorers discovered the Norse settlement, which was described as Vinland in the ancient texts. The name you could guess means Wine Land, implying the settlement supported the growing of grapes. This originally led people to believe that Vinland was actually located in Massachusetts, but that theory was proven wrong according to FlightHub.

The discovery itself was not a new one. Locals from the area had long described one of Canada’s largest archaeological finds as an “old Indian camp”, that only when combed through by the explorers was determined to be very significant. So, how did they know the settlement had Norse origins? The structures found there, the remains of nine buildings, were built in a Norse style and were filled with Norse artifacts. The style of these homes and the state of the artifacts made it clear that these structures dated back quite a long way. Think before Cartier, and before Columbus, these houses were built around 1000 AD, becoming the first known and furthest European settlement before the time of Columbus.

While they discovered that Norse people built and lived at the site, they also got clues as to their dietary standards. Food found at the site included butternuts and evidence of hunting. Local game at the time would have included caribou, wolf, fox, and bear in addition to sea life that would include fish, seal, and whale. The presence of butternut is particularly interesting as Norsemen would have needed to travel to southern portions of Newfoundland to find this source of food according to FlightHub. This Northern settlement would have faced very harsh Winters, with evidence suggesting the Norse people may not have stayed at L’Anse Aux Meadows for a long time due to food shortages and hostile weather.

FlightHub highly recommends visiting this site if you are interested in the history of Canada and North America. As a UNESCO World Heritage Site and National Historic Site Of Canada, L’Anse Aux Meadows represents some of the oldest European artifacts on Canadian soil and is a must see for history buffs everywhere.

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3 Lut '16

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