Exploration Before Columbus
By the time Christopher Columbus landed in
the Western Hemisphere in 1492, the New World had already been “discovered”
more than once. First, of course, there were the Native Americans
we discussed in the previous chapter. But there is solid evidence
that other Europeans made it to the Americas long before Columbus
did. Around A.D. 1000, Viking
Norsemen led by Leif Ericson sailed from Norway across
the Atlantic Ocean and settled in Newfoundland, in northeast Canada.
These Vikings also explored some distance up and down the coast.
This settlement, however, was short-lived. The Norsemen soon sailed
back across the ocean, having had little to no effect on North America.