Books Should Be Free is now
Loyal Books
Free Public Domain Audiobooks & eBook Downloads
Search by: Title, Author or Keyword

The Discovery of America by the Northmen, 985-1015   By: (1816-1906)

Book cover

First Page:

NORTHMEN IN AMERICA.

985 1015.

THE

DISCOVERY OF AMERICA

BY THE

NORTHMEN.

985 1015.

A DISCOURSE DELIVERED BEFORE THE NEW HAMPSHIRE HISTORICAL SOCIETY, APRIL 24, 1888.

BY THE REV. EDMUND F. SLAFTER, D. D.,

A CORRESPONDING MEMBER OF THE SOCIETY, HONORARY MEMBER OF THE ROYAL HISTORICAL SOCIETY OF GREAT BRITAIN, ETC., ETC.

CONCORD, N. H.:

PRIVATELY PRINTED.

1891.

REPRINTED FROM THE PROCEEDINGS OF THE NEW HAMPSHIRE HISTORICAL SOCIETY.

DISCOURSE.

On the 29th day of October, 1887, a statue erected to the memory of Leif, the son of Erik, the discoverer of America, was unveiled in the city of Boston, in the presence of a large assembly of citizens. The statue is of bronze, a little larger than life size, and represents the explorer standing upon the prow of his ship, shading his eyes with his hand, and gazing towards the west. This monument[1] suggests the subject to which I wish to call your attention, viz., the story of the discovery of this continent by the Scandinavians nearly nine hundred years ago.

I must here ask your indulgence for the statement of a few preliminary historical facts in order that we may have a clear understanding of this discovery.

About the middle of the ninth century, Harald Haarfager, or the fair haired, came to the throne of Norway. He was a young and handsome prince, endowed with great energy of will and many personal attractions. It is related that he fell in love with a beautiful princess. His addresses were, however, coolly rejected with the declaration that when he became king of Norway in reality, and not merely in name, she would give him both her heart and her hand. This admonition was not disregarded by the young king. The thirty one principalities into which Norway was at that time divided were in a few years subjugated, and the petty chieftains or princes who ruled over them became obedient to the royal authority. The despotic rule, however, of the king was so irritating and oppressive that many of them sought homes of greater freedom in the inhospitable islands of the northern seas. Among the rest, Iceland, having been discovered a short time before, was colonized by them. This event occurred about the year 874. Notwithstanding the severity of the climate and the sterility of the soil, the colony rapidly increased in numbers and wealth, and an active commerce sprung up with the mother country, and was successfully maintained. At the end of a century, they had pushed their explorations still farther, and Greenland was discovered, and a colony was planted there, which continued to flourish for a long period.

About the year 985, a young, enterprising, and prosperous navigator, who had been accustomed to carry on a trade between Iceland and Norway, on returning from the latter in the summer of the year, found that his father had left Iceland some time before his arrival, to join a new colony which had been then recently planted in Greenland. This young merchant, who bore the name of Bjarni, disappointed at not finding his father in Iceland, determined to proceed on and pass the coming winter with him at the new colony in Greenland. Having obtained what information he could as to the geographical position of Greenland, this intrepid navigator accordingly set sail in his little barque, with a small number of men, in an unknown and untried sea, guided in his course only by the sun, moon, and other heavenly bodies.[2] After sailing three days they entirely lost sight of land. A north wind sprung up, accompanied with a dense fog, which utterly shrouded the heavens from their view, and left them at the mercy of the winds and the waves. Thus helpless, they were borne along for many days in an open and trackless ocean, they knew not whither. At length the fog cleared away, the blue sky appeared, and soon after they came in sight of land. On approaching near to it, they observed that it had a low, undulating surface, was without mountains, and was thickly covered with wood... Continue reading book >>




eBook Downloads
ePUB eBook
• iBooks for iPhone and iPad
• Nook
• Sony Reader
Kindle eBook
• Mobi file format for Kindle
Read eBook
• Load eBook in browser
Text File eBook
• Computers
• Windows
• Mac

Review this book



Popular Genres
More Genres
Languages
Paid Books