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A statue of Leiv Eriksson at the waterfront looking towards the sunset. This is a replica of the statue August Werner made for the 1982 Seattle World's Fair, given to Trondheim in 1997 by Leif Erikson Society of Seattle.
Leiv Eriksson (about 970–1020) was the son of Eirik Raude and grew up on Greenland. Eirik Raude had become an outlaw because of manslaughter on Iceland (like his father before him in Norway) and had initiated two settlements on Greenland in 986. Tenty years old Leiv Erikson sailed to Norway, arriving in 999. When he sailed back the year after he had promised King Olaf Tryggvason of Norway to christen the people of Greenland (note the cross on his chest). In 986 the merchant Bjarne Herjolvsson from Iceland had seen a land west of Greenland, but hadn't gone ashore. After returning from Norway Leiv Eriksson set out with 35 men to investigate. The finally went ashore on the north end of Newfoundland (L'Anse aux Meadows) and built a settlement. This land they called Vinland, which can be translated as pastureland. For a society dependent on cattle pasture is very important. Later building permanent settlements were attempted, but they were soon abandoned, probably because of conflicts with the natives.