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Vinland

Around the year 1000 AD, five centuries before Christopher Columbus (1451-1506), the Greenlanders, under the command of the Icelandic navigator Leif Eriksson (970-1020), were probably the first Europeans to enter the American mainland and called it "Vinland". There are several versions about the exact geographical location of Vinland. Partly Nova Scotia and New Brunswick is assumed, partly New England near today's Boston in the US state of Massachusetts, but also the island of Manhattan at the place of New York. According to traditional interpretation, "Vinland" is derived from "vines", but this has been doubted recently. Vin has two meanings in Old Norse: With an accent on the "i" it means "wine", without an accent it means "pasture" or "farm". The Greenlandic settlers might have been impressed by the green pastures, so it could also mean "pastureland". But if it does mean "wine country", it could be derived from the masses of wild vines in the forests with grapes hanging from the trees. But it could just as well mean wild berries. According to the Greenland saga, Leif Eriksson and his men settled in a place in Vinland, which they named Leifsbuðir.

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