A to Z of Statues – E is for Leif Ericson in Reykjavik

Outside Hallgrímskirkja, Reykjavik’s Lutheran Cathedral, is a statue of Leifur Eiriksson who was an Icelander born about 970 and who explored the oceans and the lands west of Iceland, establishing colonies in Greenland and Newfoundland and who according to legend reached America long before Christopher Columbus or Amerigo Vespucchi.

The statue was a gift from the American Government in 1930 to mark Iceland’s 1,000th anniversary and in the United States October 9th is commemorated as Leif Ericson Day. The date is not associated with any particular event in Leif Erikson’s life, it was chosen because the ship Restauration sailing from Stavanger in Norway, arrived in New York Harbour on October 9th 1825 at the start of the first organised immigration from Norway to the United States.

The Vikings were Norse explorers, warriors, merchants, and pirates who raided, traded, explored and settled in wide areas of Europe and the North Atlantic from the late eighth to the mid eleventh century. These Norsemen used their famous long ships to travel as far east as Russia, as far west as Newfoundland and as far south as modern Spain in a period known (not very imaginatively it has to be said) as the Viking Age.

It is now widely believed that Norsemen from Greenland and Iceland were the first Europeans to reach North America in what is today Newfoundland in Canada when Leif Ericson reached the Continent via Norse settlements in Greenland around the year 1000. Nearly a thousand years later many Norwegian immigrants went to the United States primarily in the second half of the nineteenth and the first few decades of the twentieth century.

There are more statues of Leif Ericson in the USA

Click on an image to scroll through the Gallery…

24 responses to “A to Z of Statues – E is for Leif Ericson in Reykjavik

  1. What an interesting post.


  2. Oh, you make a great Viking, Andrew! Can you cuss and swear? 🙂 🙂


  3. You look very fetching in the helmet


  4. Viking sites are being excavated in several different places and searches for more continue by satellite. No doubt whatsoever that they reached North America before Columbus.


  5. Strange to think that Leif Ericson is the only Icelander most of us have heard of, and yet he lived 1000 years ago.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I couldn’t get out of Reykjavik quickly enough when I was in Iceland.


  7. I’m looking forward to seeing some Viking history in Iceland this summer.


  8. Scary looking Viking top right.


  9. Pingback: A to Z of Statues – Leif Ericson in Reykjavik – REYNOLDS'S NEWS AND MISCELLANY

  10. Pingback: A to Z of Statues – E is for Leif Ericson in Reykjavik – Roger's Vault

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