How America Almost Came to Be (Discovered)
It’s 980 AD, and America was almost discovered! Not that it wasn’t already discovered by a bunch of wooly mammoth slaughterers, but we’ve already covered that in a previous Case History. No, it was almost discovered by Eric the Red, better known as Eric Thorvaldsson.
Eric, as you know, is that Norse fellow with the big burst of red hair on his chin–makes him look like Thor, he claims. The son of murderers, he moved with his family (some say fled) from Norway to Iceland. Iceland…now there’s a name to warm the heart.
Anyway, young Master Thorvaldsson didn’t fall too far from the tree, for he was accused of several murders himself. Of course, one could argue that these weren’t really murders. They were more in the realm of disputes, and it was his slaves that did the initial murders, anyway.
The murdering started when Eric’s slaves started a landslide on the farm of Valthjof. Valthjof’s friend, Eyiof the Foul, caught those slaves and killed them up proper. Eric, upon finding out that he had lost his property, slaughtered Mr. Foul, and therein started the real conflict.
Eyiof the Foul, you see, had family, and that family was large. In return for killing Mr. Foul the family wanted Eric to be banned. Eric, an obliging fellow if ever there was one, moved (fled) to the island of Oxney.
On Oxney, Eric decided that he wanted the return of some mystical beams he had lent to his friend Thorgest. Apparently Thorgest had grown attached to the beams, for he refused. Eric, not known for hiring lawyers, slaughtered both of Thorgest’s sons, and a few other fellows to boot, and the result of all this was that Eric the Red was, once again, outlawed, banished, whatever you want to call it.
Eric decided to sail west. This was logical because he had killed so many people in the east that west was the only place he could go without encountering some outraged kin or friend or whatever. And Eric went west to Greenland.
Now the stories of Eric the Red in Greenland are pretty boring, near starvation, fights and thievery, murders, and all that sort of thing, so we won’t go into them. The main point is that our friendly, neighborhood murderer didn’t go beyond Greenland, and so America wasn’t discovered. Maybe if Eric had been a little more ferocious, killed a few more people, he would have been banished yet again, and America would have been discovered…oh well.