Eric the Red

(late 10th century AD)

Eric the Red


The terrain of Greenland is covered mainly with glaciers and barren rock, with only a few patches of tundra and habitable land. Eric named it Greenland on the principle that colonists would be eager to go there if the country had an attractive name.

Biographical Note: 

Eric the Red was a Norwegian navigator. Brought up in exile in Iceland, he led an expedition westward around 982 and discovered Greenland, where he established a Viking colony a few years later.

More Information: 

Find out more about this early explorer.

Illustration Info

Eric the Red (Eiríkur rauði). Woodcut frontispiece from the 1688 Icelandic publication of Arngrímur Jónsson’s Gronlandia (Greenland). Fiske Icelandic Collection.