In 1925, President Calvin Coolidge—standing before a crowd of 100,000 at the Minnesota State Fair—declared that Norse explorer Leif Erikson was the first European to set foot in North America, 500 years before Columbus. Shortly thereafter, 9 October was declared Leif Erikson Day.
Leif Erikson was (thought to have been) born in Iceland around the year 970, the son of Norwegian explorer (and outlaw) Erik the Red. Young Erik had founded the first Norse colony in Greenland. His son, Leif, landed in North America (perhaps blown-off course?), founding Vinland (in modern-day Newfoundland, Canada). For a time, Vinland was believed to have been sited on Cape Cod, thus a statue/monument to the explorer was erected in Boston. Subsequent statues were placed in Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul, Cleveland, Duluth, Minot, Seattle, Los Angeles, Brooklyn, New Rochelle and Reykjavik. He is highly-regarded and mythologized amongst Norwegians and, especially, Norwegian-Americans. Erikson is thought to have died around 1020.
Some 950 years after intrepid Leif, these Norwegian cufflinks by David Anderson (pictured above) set-sail for the New World. Click on the photo above to learn more about them.
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