SV: Did the Aryans return to India?

Lars Martin Fosse lmfosse at ONLINE.NO
Sun Feb 27 11:13:18 UTC 2000

Shrinivas Tilak [SMTP:shrinivast at HOTMAIL.COM] skrev 27. februar 2000 04:11:
>     Winnipeg Free Press of February 26, 2000 carried a column called "They
> all discovered America," by Tom Oleson, one of the editorial writers. In his
> column Oleson informs the reader that in April Canada will commemorate the
> millenium of the arrival of a party of Icelanders from Greenland (led by
> Leif Eiriksson) to North America in 1,000. A settlement dating from that
> period has been uncovered at L'Anse aux Meadows in Newfoundland.
>     But after spending only a few years in what is now Canada, the
> Icelanders realized that they were unwelcome and therefore returned to
> Greenland. About 400 years later this group mysteriously vanished from the
> face of the Earth.

The Icelanders (or rather: Norse Greenlanders)  gave up living in America
because they were unable to handle the hostilities of the Native Americans.
Norsemen were known for their warlike character, so we must assume that they
were simply short of men. However, they apparently kept visiting America for
several hundred years, because that is where they got their timber. At the
most, some 3000 Norsemen seem to have lived on Greenland, concentrated in two

In 1053, Greenland came under the archbishopric of Bremen, and in 1104 under
the archbishop of Lund in Sweden. In 1112 Greenland got its own bishop. There
was active trade between Greenland and Norway, and the Eddic poem of Atlamaal
was made on Greenland. In 1261, the Norsemen of Greenland made themselves
dependent upon the Norwegian king and thus became part of Norway, undoubtedly
for trade reasons. This made Greenland Norwegian Crown Land. Noone knows
exactly why the Norsemen died out/disappeared. After the Black Death, the rest
of the world gradually lost contact with Greenland.  The last bishop of
Greenland who actually lived there died in 1378. The last recorded ship from
Greenland came in 1410, although the traffic must have gone on for some time
into the 15th century.  The archaeological material tells us that the Norsemen
did not intermarry with the Greenlanders (whom they called "skraelinger" =
"people with miserable looks"). They possibly died out because of worsening
climatic conditions and inadequate food. After 1500 the country was exclusively
peopled by inuit for a while. Several Dano-Norwegians had plans for
rediscovering Greenland, but for political reason, nothing was done. In 1578
Martin Frobisher found Greenland while looking for the Northwest Passage. This
brought Greenland "back on the map".  There has been some speculation that
Columbus knew about Greenland and was inspired to go looking for the Americas
(India to him) because of this.

Thus, we quite a lot about the Norse settlements on Greenland, the only unclear
point being exactly how the Norsemen died out. Given the state of the world in
the late 14th century, this is hardly surprising. Norway had lost almost half
its population during the Black Death and also gradually lost its political
independence. If the Norsemen were dying out on Greenland, there may have been
little produce to fetch, thus reducing interest in the place. Trade between
Denmark-Norway and Greenland was only reestablished,  not without problems, in
the first half of the 18th century.

Best regards,

Lars Martin Fosse

Dr. art. Lars Martin Fosse
Haugerudvn. 76, Leil. 114,
0674 Oslo
Phone/Fax: +47 22 32 12 19
Email: lmfosse at

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