Have you ever wished you could be an explorer? Sometimes it is fun to think about the things you might see or do. Imagine taking a trip on the ocean with only a sail or oars to make the boat move. Leif Eriksson, a Viking, came to the North American continent over 1,000 years ago. He brought only one ship and thirty-five men.
Leif Eriksson was probably born in Iceland between the years AD 970 and AD 980. His father was a well-known Viking by the name of Eric the Red. Leif's surname came from the fact that he was Eric's son.
He did not grow up at home like you. It was common in those days to send children, especially sons, to live with another family to be trained. Leif was sent to Norway. He was taught to read and write runes. He learned to speak the Celtic and Russian languages. He learned how to be a good trader. He was also taught the old tales or stories handed down among his people.
By the time Leif was twelve years old, he was considered a man. He was sent back home. His father Eric had grown richer and now owned many herds and slaves in Iceland.
In the spring, an assembly was called. All the important people went, and Leif went with his father. Almost right away, Eric the Red got himself into trouble. The council banished or exiled him from Iceland for three years. Leif and Eric couldn't go to Norway, because Eric had been exiled from there already. Eric had heard of a new land to the west. Now he wanted to find it.