Leif Erikson

Norse explorer, discoverer of New Foundland

Leif Eriksson or Ericsson, Erickson, and Ericksson (c. 970 – c. 1020) was a Norse explorer.[1] He was the first known European to travel to North America.[1]

Faroe Islands postage stamp Discovery of America: Leif Erikson
1968 U.S. postage stamp


Erikson was probably born in Iceland and grew up in Greenland. His father was Erik the Red,[1] who had created colonies in Greenland. Eriksson is said to have visited North America long before anyone else in Europe did.[1] According to Icelandic sagas (stories) he started a Viking settlement in Vinland. Many scholars think this was Newfoundland in Canada. After landing in North America and when he was going back to Greenland, he rescued a man in his crew who had sunk. From that moment on, he was called “Leif the Lucky”. He generally believed to be the first European to reach the North American continent nearly four centuries before Christopher Columbus arrived in 1492.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 "Leif Eriksson the Lucky". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 6 March 2011.