Pastland  |  930 A.D.- 1030 A.D. 

  Modern day Icelanders often point to the first Norse settlers as their ancestors, often speaking fondly of their colorful Viking past. Much of it is writen down in the Landnamabok (Book of Settlements), one of the early sagas. While there is some argument as to the motives of the first widespread Nordic settlement, convention holds that the Norsemen were fleeing the tyranny of the Norwegian King Harald Haarfagri, who drove them from their ancestral lands in southern Norway. Arriving in Iceland, they threw high seats over the edges of their longboats and built their new homesteads where the seats washed ashore, believing that the divine hand of Thor would choose the spot. Sometimes it would take years before the seats were found. 

The exiled Norse quickly developed their own sense of national identity, creating in 930 what is regarded as the world’s first parliamentary system, The Althing. Local chieftans gathered at Thingvellir, a natural amphitheater, where they elected leaders yearly. To prevent leaders from abusing power, The Althing had no military to enforce its will, a stipulation that would later cause problems when regional chiefs decided to take matters into their own hands.  But for the most part, these early years following the development of the Althing were peaceful. It was an era of optimism, even for Erik the Red, who arrived after he was banished from Norway for murder. When he committed the same crime in Iceland and was exiled from there, too, he managed to convince 25 ships to follow him in a colonial expedition to Greenland. His son, Iceland born Leif Eiriksson, later sailed further west, becoming the first European to reach North America, which he called Vinland. 
      Viking Oasis  -  Europe's Hard Shadow  -  Independence    


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