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31 History Facts!

31. Why was an ice-covered country named ‘Greenland’?!

The Eqi Glacier in Greenland

According to Viking the Sagas, Erik the Red was banished from Iceland for committing murder. During his three years in exile, he sailed west, found an ice-covered island, and named it Greenland in hope that the pleasant name would attract settlers.

I guess this makes it the first fake news!

Bonus Fact 1: Erik’s father, Thorvald Asvaldsson, was banished from Norway for – you’ve guessed it – committing murder. He sailed west and settled in Iceland.

Bonus Fact 2: Eric’s son, Leif Erikson, followed his father’s footsteps. No, he did not kill anyone, but he did sail west and discovered what is now known as ‘North America’. He called it ‘Vinland’, meaning the land of wine. 

Mind you, this happened some 500 years before Columbus (!) which makes him the first European to set foot in the Americas.  

Bonus fact 3: Within a few generations, the biology of Viking immigrants to Greenland adapted to conditions on the island. They became shorter and with higher levels of fat tissue that helps them cope with the intense cold prevailing on the island.




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