Chapter 7

With Leif the Viking to America…

Vliegende Brouwkabouter volgt ski-les Our Flying Brewer Gnome flew to the land of the fjords and Vikings. It doesn’t surprise us that as he had spent thousands of years in Scandinavia he learned many legends and true stories about gnomes and trolls. Trolls were the counterparts of gnomes, ugly giants who were malicious towards humans.

Our Chouffe gnome learned to ski and ski-jump there. He jumped and flew very high above the fjords and saw that there was still a lot of land to be discovered.

Ontdekkingsreis met de Vikings Before the year 1000 our Flying Brewer Gnome met a certain Erik Thorvaldsson who, because of his red hair, was also called Erik the Red. Erik was an outlawed Viking because of some killings which had occurred and wanted to flee from the Nordic countries in search of better places. Our gnome, after much urging, decided to accompany him on his adventures. They discovered Iceland where Erik fathered another son who was named Leif Ericsson. We were unable to ascertain beyond doubt that the electronics company Ericsson descended from him. Anyhow father, son and Brewer Gnome went on to discover an immense white island (in the year 986) which they jokingly decided to call Greenland. They founded two colonies there.

De Brouwkabouter naar Newfoundland Leif Ericsson wanted to discover something more with the Brewer Gnome but without his father. Our gnome flew as high as he possibly could and looked in the far, far distance where he saw a whole new world. When he told Leif about this he could wait no longer. They went off around 6 minutes past 6 in the year 1000 westwards from Greenland into the unknown. They landed in Helleland (Norway), Markland (probably on the Atlantic coast of North America) and eventually founded a settlement in Vinland. You can imagine how happy Leif and our gnome were having found this new land. Therefore it later became known as Newfoundland which became an island province of Canada on the Atlantic coast in 1949.

Vikingnederzetting in l'Anse aux Meadows Archaeological discoveries in 1960 provided concrete evidence of the presence of Vikings there around the year 1000. One can now visit a reconstruction of this Viking settlement in L’Anse aux Meadows (on Jellyfish Bay)…and our Flying Brewer Gnome. It is proof of the earliest presence of Europeans in North America. The excavated remains of timber-framed, peat buildings are similar to buildings found in Norse colonies in Greenland and Iceland.

L’Anse aux Meadows is the first and only known settlement built by Vikings in North America and the earliest proof of European settlement in the New World. Therefore it is a unique milestone in the history of human migration and discovery.

Leif’s discovery of the new continent was not announced with the appropriate drum-roll in Europe. Only the Scandinavians, especially in the Nordic Sagas, wrote enthrallingly about it (Erik the Red’s Saga and the Greenland Saga for example).

Amerikaans muntstuk Leif Eriksson In the European tabloids of 1494, under pressure from the Spanish king Ferdinand II and Pope Alexander VI, it was claimed that Christopher Columbus had discovered America but our Flying Brewer Gnome and Leif got there 500 years earlier.

Koning van Spanje Ferdinand II Columbus’ discovery of America is quite a story of deception supported by a law passed by the Spanish king under pressure from his wife Isabella of Castille. To protect Spanish pride a Bull (an official document issued by Popes, Princes and Universities) was issued decreeing that anyone who was not Spanish, and certainly anyone without Spanish approval, could say nothing about the New World.

Postzegel Leif Eriksson The historic importance of Leif Ericsson is well recognised in North America. In 1968 the U.S. Post Office issued a special stamp commemorating his historic discovery.

There is even an annual Leif Ericsson Day.

Hun wegen gingen uit elkaar After staying a while in Vinland together, Leif Ericsson and the Flying Brewer Gnome went their different ways. Leif went back to Greenland, Columbus sailed from Spain some 500 years later and the Flying Brewer Gnome remained another few centuries on the new continent. He foresaw the potential for a devilish new beer-continent there.