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Vikings establish a Successful Colony in Vinland?

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  • Vikings establish a Successful Colony in Vinland?

    Had there been less natives in the area (As there were in Greenland) Could the Viking's have survived and thrived long term in the new world?

    What would be the outcome?

  • #2
    Climate change would have severely impacted another settlement. People think there were few Native Americans before the European colonists got here. There were actually quite a few. The Vikings did not have a martial edge of the native tribes. The diseases did not become a factor. It is possible that a large settlement could have been founded on an isolated area like Prince Edward Island, but the hard part would be finding large numbers of such colonists. Colonies of Vikings in Europe were much easier and profitable!

    Pruitt
    Pruitt, you are truly an expert! Kelt06

    Have you been struck by the jawbone of an ASS lately?

    by Khepesh "This is the logic of Pruitt"

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    • #3
      Lack of 'profit' made European migration slow. The archeological evidence shows European fishermen were harvesting the Grand Banks fishery in the very early 1500s. Fishing camps ashore near the Grand Banks became common in a couple decades. But permanent settlements in North America were a century in the future.

      But, lets assume a few thousand Norse did follow the initial settlement in the next few decades. To sustain a viable expanding economy a source of metals would be needed, and other items worth the transportation cost to the European economy. The Iceland colonies built up a fair sized population, but failed to establish a deep basis for trade. Then there was the matter of the declining temperatures for a century or two. With Icelands colonies dying would contact continue with North America?

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      • #4
        I think the trade on furs, polar bear cubs, Falcons, and Narwhal Tusks would have been profitable. If the new colony had settled in an area with extensive forests, they could have sent the lumber to Iceland and maybe Greenland for a while. The furs would have been seal, walrus hides, and the usual marten, mink, and forest critters. There was already a trade network set up. Native Americans would set a few bundles of fur on a beach and wait for traders to arrive. When enough trade goods were left by the furs the NA would take the trade goods and depart, the traders would then take the furs. This setup went back many years. The European settlers also noticed this, but often stole the furs!

        Unless you count bog iron, I can't think of any metals available to the Norse except Great Lakes Copper. Any Canadians familiar with metals in the Maritimes?

        Pruitt
        Pruitt, you are truly an expert! Kelt06

        Have you been struck by the jawbone of an ASS lately?

        by Khepesh "This is the logic of Pruitt"

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        • #5
          On his great voyage of discovery along what would become eastern Canada and the St. Lawrence, Jacques Cartier is recorded as stopping European fishermen and asking for directions The area was not "unknown", just "unrecorded".

          Cape Breton Island has significant reserves of coal. (I realize that's not important at the time.) It was (and in some ways still is) completely forested.

          Although much of the island is comparible to the Scottish highlands, the Margaree Valley to the west and the Isle Madame area to the south are excellent farming areas (the latter would likely be found first).

          What is now the city of Sydney has a good harbour and at the time could have been good farmland. Fishing off the coast here would be easy and the Grand Banks are not far off.

          The weather on the island (except the northern portion) is significantly less harsh than Newfoundland because it benefits more from the Gulf Stream.

          I once worked with a Norwegian who claimed that Canada was a Norwegian colony. The settlement at L'anse aux Meadows hadn't disappeared, the Vikings from here (and other colonies 'we hadn't found yet') had merely intermarried with the locals. Therefore, according to him, everyone north of the US border and east of the Great Lakes was a Norwegian descendant. When he departed our group, he gave everyone a tour book of Norway to remind us of the 'mother country'
          Amateurs study tactics, Professionals study logistics.

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          • #6
            I think that a successful colony would have improved the odds of survival in Greenland, if only as a seasonal way station.

            Ironically there is a Gold/Copper/Silver/Zinc mine at Duck Pond about 6 miles south of the shoreline. Had the natives been dumb enough to show the shiny rocks to the Vikings there may have been no stopping them. There is also an iron mine on Bell island on the sound end of Newfoundland.

            However there is no indication that either deposit was usable by 10th century Norse technology.

            There were additional Norse "settlements" on Baffin Island which also has significant Iron deposits. But these were probably seasonal hunting camps.

            L'Anse aux Meadows itself was probably not Vinland, but possibly was a seasonal trading station where the Greenlanders would stay while trading with Natives further south, and also where they could cut lumber, and probably IMHO dates from after when the Vinland colony was abandoned.

            From a Viking Perspective, trading with the natives of the region was probably a multi month trip. They could take multiple ships land at L'Anse refurbish the camp, send some men south to log wood, since in 1347, a ship is recorded as having left Markland with a load of timber and arrived in Iceland. Any trading would have also been done in the area from ships that left and returned to L'Anse.

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            • #7
              Greenland was uninhabitable (apart from a few Inuit groups) throughout much of the Little Ice Age.




              It would have been almost impossible to maintain trade and contact with the Vinlanders. Had Vinland settlements survived, they would have probably adapted to an Amerind lifestyle.
              Watts Up With That? | The world's most viewed site on global warming and climate change.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by niikeb View Post
                .

                L'Anse aux Meadows itself was probably not Vinland, but possibly was a seasonal trading station where the Greenlanders would stay while trading with Natives further south, and also where they could cut lumber, and probably IMHO dates from after when the Vinland colony was abandoned.
                .
                L'Anse aux Meadows was definitely not Vinland. The name Vinland relates to the existence of grapes in plentiful supply and Vineland was also established to have butternuts. Neither grapes or butternuts grow at L'Anse aux Meadows. To locate Vinland, it is almost certain that they continued on the Northern part of the Gulf of St Lawrence next to Labrador and Quebec and then turned south when they reached the mouth of the St Lawrence river. A very likely candidate for "Vinland" is the area in New Brunswick at the mouth of the Miramichi Bay, know as Bay de Vin (named by the French) where grapes and butternuts were plentiful in supply.

                It is also likely that they were shunned off by natives and no serious attempt at settlement was made by the Vikings at Vinland.

                The exploration and early settlemnt at L'Anse aux Meadows was done by only a party of 20 or so in only a few Viking boats, strickly from Greenland. At that point in history the Greenland Vikings didn't communicate back to Iceland, or to Europe. So a successful settlement would not created a large scale European settlement.
                Last edited by Sparlingo; 20 Apr 12, 12:47.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Sparlingo View Post
                  L'Anse aux Meadows was definitely not Vinland. The name Vinland relates to the existence of grapes in plentiful supply and Vineland was also established to have butternuts. Neither grapes or butternuts grow at L'Anse aux Meadows. To locate Vinland, it is almost certain that they continued on the Northern part of the Gulf of St Lawrence next to Labrador and Quebec and then turned south when they reached the mouth of the St Lawrence river. A very likely candidate for "Vinland" is the area in New Brunswick at the mouth of the Miramichi Bay, know as Bay de Vin (named by the French) where grapes and butternuts were plentiful in supply.

                  It is also likely that they were shunned off by natives and no serious attempt at settlement was made by the Vikings at Vinland.

                  The exploration and early settlemnt at L'Anse aux Meadows was done by only a party of 20 or so in only a few Viking boats, strickly from Greenland. At that point in history the Greenland Vikings didn't communicate back to Iceland, or to Europe. So a successful settlement would not created a large scale European settlement.
                  Agreed, but the impact that a successful settlement would have had is not just impacted by what the Vikings could have gotten from it, but also by spreading the knowledge of said settlement to the rest of the European world. If Gold had been found, there is a good chance Denmark/Norway/Britain would have focused more effort on beating the Spanish to the new world, since it was Columbus that started the "Gold Rush".

                  There is evidence that Columbus knew of the existence of the American Continents as did many who were interested in such things, (Even if he thought it was a branch of Asia) The only question was was it worth sending expensive expeditions out for what did not appear to be anything more than unexplored islands.

                  It took Columbus and his dreams of Spices and Gold to put major backing behind said experiments.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by niikeb View Post
                    Agreed, but the impact that a successful settlement would have had is not just impacted by what the Vikings could have gotten from it, but also by spreading the knowledge of said settlement to the rest of the European world.
                    The little Viking community in Greenland that treked out to Newfoundland existed in total isolation, and no longer had any communication with Europe, or even Iceland.

                    I believe that that same Viking community in Greenland died out completely soon after with the main cause being soil erosion and failed crops, and the little ice age might have also been a factor.

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