Viking Voyager

Viking Voyager
Photo: Getty Images

In the early 11th century, almost 500 years before Christopher Columbus’s historic voyage, a female Icelandic adventurer named Gudrid Thorbjarnardottir, also known as the “Far Traveller,” embarked on a daring expedition across the Atlantic to Vinland (now Canada).

Her journey has been documented in the annals of two Viking sagas: “The Saga of the Greenlanders” and “The Saga of Erik the Red.” These have also been supported by archaeological findings. For instance, in 1975, the unearthing of a spindle whorl at L’Anse aux Meadows, the only known Viking settlement in Newfoundland dating back to Gudrid’s era, offered tangible evidence of Viking female presence, followed by the discovery of an ancient longhouse in an Icelandic valley in 2001, identified as Gudrid’s final abode. Remarkably, this buried dwelling bore a distinct resemblance to the turf houses found in L’Anse aux Meadows, confirming Gudrid’s remarkable journey. According to the Viking sagas, Gudrid, having made eight crossings across the North Atlantic Sea—from North America to Rome to Scandinavia—is the only Viking to travel that far.

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