Greenland Norse Knowledge of the North Atlantic Environment

Part of the The New Middle Ages book series (TNMA)


The arcing Norse expansion across the subpolar North Atlantic Ocean traces an inspiring tale of a stoic struggle against the elements. The sequence of accidental discovery, then deliberate exploration and settlement, repeated in turn as Faroe, Iceland, and Greenland were colonized between 825 and 985 AD. With each step further west, the difficulty of leading a contemporary Norwegian lifestyle increased. In part, the increasing hardship is linked to the increasing distance from European power, and the dwindling access to essential commodities. Contact with alien native communities is another factor, and it was decisive in obstructing long-term Norse settlements in North America. But at almost every stage, the much colder, more polar climate in Iceland, Greenland, and eastern Canada dominated the Atlantic Norse decision-making.


Arctic Ocean North Atlantic Oscillation Canadian Arctic Archipelago North Atlantic Current Labrador Current 
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© Benjamin Hudson 2012

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