Vinland is the name given to the area of coastal North America and Newfoundland explored by Norse Vikings. For centuries, there was no proof that Vinland referred to North America, or that it had existed at all. It was considered legend, and the Greenland and Vinland Sagas that described it were considered literary fictions. In 1960, archaeological evidence of a Norse settlement in North America was found at L'Anse aux Meadows on the northern tip of the island of Newfoundland. The discovery removed Vinland from the realm of lore and mythic geography and proved once and for all that Christopher Columbus was not the first European to reach North America.

The 16th-Century Skálholt map of Norse America

A page from the Saga of Erik the Red, telling the story of Freydis, sister of Leif Eriksson, who settles in Vinland. In this tale, Freydis, eight months pregnant, frightens away the native "Skraelings" by bearing her breast and striking it with a sword while sounding a furious battle cry.

Norseman landing in Iceland, illustration by Oscar Wergeland.

The Norse Sagas tell of the "Skraelings", the native people of Vinland and Markland. They wore white and were probably a Beothuk tribe.

L'Anse aux Meadows, 11th-century Norse settlement in Newfoundland

Abandoned Norse cottage in Iceland. It has nothing to do with Vinland. I just think it's cool.