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This may seem strange to anyone who hasn’t lived in Minnesota, but when I was a child, kids in my elementary school used to have fist fights when it came to the question of which famous European discovered America.

To most children in the U.S., this is probably a very silly question indeed. Not so, to the kids I knew. Some kids were convinced that it was Leif Erickson and were ready to fight to defend the point.

Since I now live on the West Coast, it’s probably safe for me to say that the first white people on the continent might NOT have been the Vikings.

NOVA’s series for teachers has the details.

NOVA Presents “The Viking Deception
Broadcast: Tuesday, October 10, 2006
(NOVA airs on PBS at 8 p.m. ET/PT. Check your local listings as
broadcast dates and times may vary. This program can be used up to
one year after it is recorded off the air.)

The Forger’s Inspiration
Learn how cartographic evidence refutes the authenticity of the
Vinland Map and from where the map’s maker might have drawn
inspiration. (Grades 9-12)

Who Were the Vikings?
Discover what drove the Vikings on their global explorations,
what recent research on the Vikings has revealed, what
contributed to the end of the Viking age, and more in this
interview with Smithsonian Institution archeologist William
Fitzhugh. (Grades 9-12)

The Map in Question
Explore the Vinland Map yourself and examine evidence that it
may be — and in some cases may not be — a 20th-century
forgery. (Flash plug-in required; printable version available.)
(Grades 6-8, 9-12)


  1. #1 Doug Alder
    October 4, 2006

    While the map may well be a forgery that is far from the only evidence of viking landings in NA long before Columbus. The dicovery of a Viking village at L’anse aux Meadows in NFLD/Labrador is pretty much proof positive 🙂 see http://www.cdli.ca/CITE/v_lanse.htm

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