Eirik Raude (Eric the Red
) was a Norse
explorer, and father of Leiv Eriksson
. He came (most probably) from Jæren
, an area west in Norway
. Eirik and his father, Torvald, left Norway because of some murders. It is not known who they killed, but it was probably one of the King's men. They went to Iceland
in approximately 970.
Not soon after they settled, Eirik was again outlawed for murders. He set sail to the west, to seek out rumored lands. He found what he named Greenland in 982. After exploring for 3 years, he returned to Iceland, won support from earlier enemies, and returned with 25 ships in 985. Hundreds of men, women and children accompanied him, with livestock and all. Their settlement probably flourished for a while, but the Norse settlement disappeared at some point in the 15th Century.
According to Norwegian humorist Odd Børretzen in his book The Norwegian People's Sad Life and History, Eirik Raude did two incredible feats that would have been completely impossible for anyone today. Remember that he found an enourmous island that is basically covered in a kilometer thick layer of ice all year round. But by calling it Greenland, he convinced a lot of people to join him. What wouldn't a PR firm pay this man? His second great feat was of course to survive when they arrived at Greenland... :)
Before discovering Greenland, Eirik married Tjodhild and had the sons Torstein and Leiv (who later sailed further west to Vinland). Later they had Torvald and Frøydis.
Historical facts taken from Sola Historielag (http://www.sola.kommune.no/lokalhistorie/Sola%20Historielag/)