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What if Leif Ericcson had settled in Quebec?

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  • What if Leif Ericcson had settled in Quebec?

    I was thinking about how history would'eve changed if Norwegian settlers had permantly settled in Newfoundland and up the St. Lawrence in the decades following Leif Ericcson's exploration of Northern America in the years between 1000 AD?



    What if Leif and his kin had dared to sail up the St.Lawrence after having created a few settlements in Newfoundland, creating another number of settlements to the north of Quebec as far south as Montreal? And let's say that a sort of Norwegian kingdom had been established there around 1100-1150? I'm sure that news of this new kingdom in Europe would'eve made Columbus' voyage to the New World obsolete. Could the Norwegians have created a nation there and if they did, how would it have looked like? Would it have failed eventually or would it have become huge, encompassing the entire northern coast New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Maine, New Hampshire, New York? I mean, America was up for grabs...

    I wonder...
    Death is nothing, but to live defeated and inglorious is to die daily.- Napoleon

    It is better to fail in originality than to succeed in imitation.- Herman Melville

    Aut viam inveniam aut faciam

    BORG

  • #2
    They would have run into a lot of the same problems the Newfoundland colony did. Remember, the Viking people were used to fairly cold weather. I think that with a more serious colonization, there would have been a longer lasting Viking colony, and maybe up the St. Lawrence would have been a better location, but by and large, I can't see it succeeding in the long term.
    Tacitos, Satrap of Kyrene

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    • #3
      Unless the Vikings quickly married into the neighboring Algonquin Tribes, they would have been speedily wiped out. The Vikings had no great technology edge over the locals and the locals greatly outnumbered them. This was not the same shattered societies found by the Europeans later. They were untouched by Smallpox and the other European childhood diseases.

      The Vikings would need an edge, like a large army and a large number of families coming in. Neither was available to Lief. If you look at isolated, but "manageable" areas, like Prince Edward Island, there are some interesting locales. If you can grow Barley, Hops, Wheat to go with Swine, Goats, Sheep and Cattle, PI might have worked. The surrounding Fishing Banks would have help fuel the economy. The colony would have been severely tested by having no local metals available. I am not sure if Bog Iron was available.

      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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      • #4
        Some folk have theorized Breton or Spainish fishermen were using Newfoundland as a base for summer fishing of the Grand Banks before Columbus. No real proof has emerged. There is strong evidence Bretons were repairing boats and drying fish each summer on the south shore of Newfoundland in the 1500s. At least one historian claims Columbus made a journey to coastal France circa 1490 looking for navigation info.

        Perhaps the Norse might have established a fishing industry & settlements in the same area? The rich fishing grounds were a incentive to return each year, but not requiring a permanet settlement be established imeadiatly. That could come after some decades as the number of fishermen using the area and economic importance grew? Or were the Norse poor fishermen?

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        • #5
          Acctually there is evidence for Basques.French using Newfoundland as a base for cod fishery . At Red Bay Newfoundland there is a wreck of a ship that has been documented as being a Basque ship dating from 16th century. They were not looking at colonizing Newfoundland , just using it as a forward operating base for the fishery .

          "To all who serve , have or will serve , Thank You"

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          • #6
            Originally posted by strathnaver View Post
            Acctually there is evidence for Basques.French using Newfoundland as a base for cod fishery . At Red Bay Newfoundland there is a wreck of a ship that has been documented as being a Basque ship dating from 16th century. They were not looking at colonizing Newfoundland , just using it as a forward operating base for the fishery .
            I wonder if any historians have made a systematic search for evidence of Breton, Basque, or other fishermen using the Newfoundland shore & adjacent island as a fishing camp pre 1492? I've only read two English language historians discuss this, and that from the thin evidence left in the Newfoundland area. One wonders if there are documents or old oral traditions lying unnoticed along Europes western ports.

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            • #7
              Carl,

              I am thinking they would have done fine using St Pierre and Miquelon (Sp?) Islands. They would just need some space onshore to dry their catches. The Indian populations were also using the Grand Banks fisheries. Using these Islands with a little exchange of presents as "rent" could have worked on the small scale. I doubt if the number of Western Fishermen was that large.

              The first "official" European explorers mentioned that they could find "bales of fur" left on some beaches by the Indians in hopes of a trade. It is likely some of those fishermen were also doing a bit of fur trade on the side. All they had to do is leave some trinkets and goods ashore for what they thought the fur was worth. If the furs stayed and the trade goods were gone, they picked up the furs and left.

              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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              • #8
                Originally posted by Pruitt View Post
                Carl,

                I am thinking they would have done fine using St Pierre and Miquelon (Sp?) Islands. They would just need some space onshore to dry their catches. The Indian populations were also using the Grand Banks fisheries. Using these Islands with a little exchange of presents as "rent" could have worked on the small scale. I doubt if the number of Western Fishermen was that large.

                The first "official" European explorers mentioned that they could find "bales of fur" left on some beaches by the Indians in hopes of a trade. It is likely some of those fishermen were also doing a bit of fur trade on the side. All they had to do is leave some trinkets and goods ashore for what they thought the fur was worth. If the furs stayed and the trade goods were gone, they picked up the furs and left.

                Pruitt
                Not suprising. The items I had read only discussed the archeological evidence of fishing camps at several locations. Fire pits of the arraignment used for drying fish, wooden ends of drying racks remaining arond the fire pits, broken tools, discarded boat hardware. Incidently the small number of iron tools tuned up in the Oak Island site are of Dutch manufactor of the early to mid 1500s and of a type commonly purchased for the Spanish treasure ships.

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                • #9
                  The Vikings would have not survived. There were far too few of them and far too many Natives.
                  A wild liberal appears! Conservative uses logical reasoning and empirical evidence! It's super effective! Wild liberal faints.

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                  • #10
                    The vikings had a penchant for attacking everything else. They would have attacked the locals and been crushed.

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