Erik the Red

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Erik Thorvaldsson (Old Norse: Eirīkr Þōrvaldsson; 950 – c. 1003 a.d), known as Erik the Red (Old Norse: Eirīkr hinn rauði[1]), is remembered in medieval Icelandic saga sources as having founded the first Nordic settlement in Greenland. The Icelandic tradition indicates that he was born in the Jæren district of Rogaland, Norway, as the son of Thorvald Asvaldsson, he therefore also appears, patronymically, as Erik Thorvaldsson (Eiríkr Þorvaldsson). The appellation "the Red" most likely refers to his hair color.[2] Leif Ericson, the famous Icelandic explorer, is Erik's son.



Erik the Red's parents left Norway on account of manslaughter. Along with him, the family settled in Hornstrandir in West Iceland. The Icelanders later sentenced Erik to a three-year exile for several murders around the year 982.[citation needed]

After marrying Thorild, he moved to Haukadal (Hawksdale) where he built a farm. The initial confrontation happened when his slaves started a landslide on the neighboring farm belonging to Valthjof. Valthjof's friend, Eyiolf the Foul, killed the slaves. In return, Erik killed Eyiolf and Holmgang-Hrafn (Dueling-Raven). Eyiolf's kinsmen demanded his banishment from Haukadal.

Erik then moved to the island of Öxney. He asked Thorgest to keep his setstokkr, inherited ornamented beams of significant mystical value,[3] which his father had brought from Norway. When he had finished his new house, he went back to get them, but they "could not be obtained". Erik then went to Breidabolstad and took them. These are likely to have been Thorgest's setstokkr, although the sagas are unclear at this point.

Thorgest gave chase, and in the ensuing fight Erik slew both Thorgest's sons and "a few other men".

After this each of them retained a considerable body of men with him at his home. Styr gave Eric his support, as did also Eyiolf of Sviney, Thorbjiorn, Vifil's son, and the sons of Thorbrand of Alptafirth; while Thorgest was backed by the sons of Thord the Yeller, and Thorgeir of Hitardal, Aslak of Langadal and his son Illugi.[4]

The issue was resolved at an assembly, the Thing, with the result that Erik was outlawed for three years.

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