The Vikings: Pioneers in the Land of Ice by Robert Wernick

By Robert Wernick

The Vikings sailed to Iceland no longer as raiders yet as settlers. They sought farmland and items with which to alternate. For the land-hungry Norwegians, the decision of the recent nation, the place significant stretches of genuine property have been open for the taking, should have appeared every piece as eye-catching as any treasure. As further inducement to emigration, Norway's King Harald Fairhair used to be consolidating his strength with a powerful hand, and, within the phrases of an Icelandic saga, "He made every person do something or the opposite: turn into retainers or hand over the country." right here, during this short-form e-book, is the dramatic tale of the way the Vikings got here to dominate and populate Iceland.

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Thanks partly to Naddod, the barren, wind-swept Faroe Islands northwest of the Shetlands would one day become vitally important as a navigational turnoff point for Viking voyages of exploration and settlement in faraway lands. But now the tiny chain served only as a lair for others of Naddod’s ilk, Norse marauders who occupied their energies raiding Ireland and Scotland to the southeast. On the way to this place of refuge, Naddod was caught in a terrible storm and, although his square-cut sail ordinarily could hold the ship’s curved prow on a desired heading, it was no match for a North Atlantic gale.

Bearing northwest with the curve of the coast, Gardar threaded between the mainland and a group of islands whose dark, brooding cliffs would within a few years take a morbid place in the region’s lore. Rounding a peninsula that extended due west thirty miles from the mainland, Gardar passed the largest and best harbor in all the land. He may not even have seen it, for it was later to be named Reykjavik - meaning “Smoky Bay” - and it was often misted over by the vapors from a witch’s brew of surrounding geysers, steaming springs, and boiling mud holes.

There they decided to settle. Alas, Raven Flóki was a better sailor than a settler. The fjord was alive with salmon and cod and seal, the grass grew lush along its shores, and, while his cattle grew fat, Raven Flóki fished and hunted to his heart’s content - all the while neglecting to put up hay for winter. As a result of his negligence, his livestock perished before spring. Raven Flóki bitterly blamed the land for his own imprudence. Then he packed up, and, late that second summer, he sailed for Norway.

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