They were famous navigators, and, in the ninth century, discovered Iceland and Greenland.
In the tenth century a colony led by Eric the Red was planted in the latter country (983). It is said that an adventurer named Bjarni discovered the mainland of North America in the tenth century (986). These people were chiefly from Norway, and kept up communication with the parent country.
According to an Icelandic chronicle, Captain Lief, son of Eric the Red, sailed in a little Norwegian vessel (1001), with thirty-five men, to follow up the discovery of Bjarni, and was driven by gales to a rugged coast, supposed to have been Labrador.
He explored the shores southward to a more genial climate and a well-wooded country, supposed to have been Nova Scotia, and then to another, still farther south, abounding in grapes, which he named Vinland, supposed to have been Massachusetts, in the vicinity of Boston.
Lief and his crew built huts and wintered in Vinland, and returned to Greenland in the