Thorvaldr Eriksson and eight Dorsets killed in Vinland skirmish

by Vi Donche on Jul 16


VINLAND - A fierce battle with the natives here has taken the life of explorer Thorvaldr Eriksson.

Eriksson's last wish as he lay dying from an arrow wound was to be buried on the spot where he had hoped to build his home in Vinland.

Eriksson's brother Leif gave Vinland its name in the year 1000 when he became the first Norseman to set up camp here.

Leif's return to Greenland in 1001 sparked interest in the new land. Others hoped to visit the place Leif said had dew sweet like nothing else he'd ever tasted.

Thorvaldr borrowed Leif's ship in 1002 and sailed to Vinland with 30 men. Their first 18 months here they lived in houses Leif and his men had built.

But in the summer of 1004 they set out to search for a suitable place to build a new settlement. They eventually came to an area rich in trees which entranced Thorvaldr. 

After he picked it for a settlement, Thorvaldr and his men saw nine Dorset tribesmen. They killed eight, but one escaped and roused his tribe. It wasn't long before the Dorset returned in canoes, surrounding the Viking ship and bombarding it with arrows.

Thorvaldr lived just long enough to set his men defeat the natives.