Erik the Red
Famous Vikings. Erik the Red.
In reality, Erik and his wives Thorhild and Thorbjarga had three boys and they were really called Leif, Thorvald and Thorstein and a daughter, Freydis. Leif married a woman named Thorgunna, and they had one son, Thorkell Leifsson. And I’m thor in the head just thinking about all that.
Eric the Red was born in Norway around 950AD but grew up in Iceland after his father was declared an outlaw for manslaughter, and had to move away, no doubt in a great big hurry.
Eric the Red also got into a great deal of trouble for killing people, but because the electric chair or gas chamber hadn’t yet been invented, instead, he was banished, or bani-shed as Shakespeare says it, for three years. In 982AD, with his family, he loaded up his longship and sailed west into the unknown, where, no doubt to his immense relief, he eventually discovered Greenland. He settled there and although it was covered in ice and snow, and should have more properly been called Whiteland, he mis-named it that so it would sound more appealing than it actually was, so as to attract investors and settlers. (Nothing much changes, does it, developers of Forest Lakes Estate,where there has never been a forest nor a lake? )
Colonists flocked to Greenland to escape famine in Iceland and eventually the settlement around the fjords grew to about 5000 people and prospered, making Eric very rich and successful. He named the town Brattahlid, probably after his kids. He also proclaimed himself paramount chieftain and carried on like he imagined Norse Gods did.
However, as with all good tales, karma, or a mother’s curse, eventually got him and he died of disease in 1002AD after one shipload of new colonists arrived carrying an epidemic. You have to watch out for that karma, it can be deadly. If karma doesn’t get you then the curse of a grieving Icelandic mother of someone you killed just might.
In spite of the disease ravishing the colony, it survived for another 500 years without Erik until fights with the Inuit, pirates and a mini ice-age made the bleak, isolated settlement on the very edge of the world even more unpleasant that it must have been. Brrrr.