Erik the Red was famous for his violent temper, which often made him "see red," so to speak.
It seems that some of his children, Freydis and Leif in particular, inherited some of their appearance and some of their personality traits from their father.
Banished from Norway as a child, from Iceland as an adult
Erik the Red was born in Norway, but he had to leave the country at the very young age of 10.
Thorvald, his father, murdered a man, so they were exiled from Norway.
There is no evidence that Erik the Red and his father ever returned to Norway after the expiry of the punishment. Instead, they moved to Iceland and settled there.
Moving to Iceland wasn't the end of banishments for Erik the Red. As an adult, he got involved in a sort of retaliation and killed two men, so he was sent away from the settlement.
He set up a new one in one of the Icelandic fjords. Still, this also wasn't the end of his trials – new troubles appeared when Erik, in an attempt to reclaim his property, killed three men, so he was again banished from the community.
Did Erik the Red discover Greenland?
Some theories claim that Erik the Red discovered Greenland; however, this is not the case.
Greenland was discovered about 100 years before Erik's arrival, but Erik the Red was indeed the first person who successfully colonized the island.
There were some attempts by other Vikings to do so; however, these attempts weren't successful.
Erik the Red carried out a smart campaign in his attempt to bring the settlers to the new island – he called it "Greenland" to make it sound more attractive, and it was a success!
He managed to organize 25 ships to leave Iceland. Unfortunately, only 14 arrived in Greenland. Of course, Erik made himself the chieftain – he was the first to settle, took the richest parts of the land for himself, and soon became the richest man on the island.
He did not name the land after himself, although many landmarks and locations carried his name.
Freydis Eiríksdóttir is a controversial figure – according to some sources, she was a strong-willed woman and a fearless warrior, and according to others, she was a ruthless villain. Photo: Baran Lotfollahi / Unsplash
Freydis and Leif, Erik's famous children
Erik the Red was married to Thjodhild Jorrundsdottir, and according to the sagas, they had four children.
Two of the four were also important figures in history, and just like their father, they were mentioned both in historical accounts and in legends.
Leif Erikson, Erik's son, was famous for being the leader of Viking expeditions to North America. According to some sources, he discovered it before Christopher Columbus.
Freydis Eiriksdottir, Erik's daughter, followed her brother Leif to the new territories in North America. According to the sagas where she was described, she was a very fierce woman who inherited both her father's personality and appearance.
At times, her personality was depicted positively. At times, she was described as a villain. In either case, her bravery and ruthlessness were never questioned (despite being pregnant, Freydis had the courage to kill the natives who tried to attack the camp where Viking explorers had settled).
While Freydis and Leif are more famous, their other two siblings, Thorvald and Thorstein, also got to North America at some point.
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