Dust off your Viking hats, Tuesday is national Leif Erikson Day. (Spelling alert: For the purposes of this story, we’ll stick with the local Sons of Norway Nidaros Lodge No. 60 spelling.) He is pictured in a Hans Dahl painting.
Oct. 9 is observed to honor the Icelandic/Norwegian explorer for being the first European person to visit continental North America, around 1000 AD (take that, Christopher Columbus). He visited and settled on previously undiscovered land west of Greenland, now known, appropriately, as Newfoundland, Canada.
It’s believed — but not proven — that Leif even managed to travel as far west as Minnesota. At least Minnesotans must think so, as there’s a Leif Erikson statue near the state capitol building in St. Paul.
Strangely enough, the date Oct. 9 has no significance in Leif Erikson’s life. It’s actually the anniversary of the day that the ship Restauration landed in New York from Stavanger, Norway, in 1825, marking first organized immigration from Norway. (bit.ly/LeifEDay)