Full Circle

One hundred thousand years ago, our ancestors walked out of their African homeland to explore and settle the rest of the world. The paths they chose were to lead them to all corners of the earth. While some tribes turned left into Europe, others turned right into Asia. It was not long before the descendants of those who turned left ran into the uncrossable barrier of the Atlantic Ocean.

The descendants of those who turned right found a larger world at their feet. The path led them across Asia and to the narrow Bering Strait – the gateway to North America. When these people set foot on the island of Newfoundland 5,000 years ago, they could not have known that they stood on the other side of the Atlantic barrier.

It would be the Vikings who would close the circle. Driven by ambition and a need to find new lands, they ventured farther and farther from mainland Europe in sturdy, ocean going knarrs. Their journey brought them from Scandinavia first to the Orkneys and Faeroes, then Iceland, then Greenland…

In the early summer of the year 1000, Leif Ericson and his crew sailed from Greenland to explore a land hidden in the distant mists. What the Vikings discovered was a vast wilderness already inhabited by aboriginal people they called Skraelings . After one hundred thousand years, the descendants of the people who turned right were about to meet up with the descendants of the people who turned left.

Humanity had come full circle.

These are the opening words to the fascinating history of the Vikings and the First Nations in Labrador and Newfoundland: Full Circle: First Contact. In the year 2000, the Newfoundland and Labrador Museum commemorated the extraordinary events that surround the Viking landfall in L’Anse aux Meadows at the turn of the last millennium with tours in North America and this website. It is full of interesting information and links to related sites about the Norse and North American First Nations.

May 9, 2004 in History, Rock Art & Archaeology by Marja-Leena