The Early Norse Traffic to Iceland

By G.T. Marcus, published August 1960


Two centuries after its discovery by Irish Christians, Iceland was settled over about two generations around 900 by seafaring families from Norway together with Ireland and the Scottish isles. Enabled by the progress in Norse shipbuilding, seamanship and navigation, this exodus was stimulated by the expulsion of rival chieftains after the battle of Hafresfjord about 885. In sailing vessels of at least 40 tons known as hafskip, shorter and broader than the Viking longship, and of greater draught and freeboard, the emigration included over 400 named chieftains voyaging over 600 miles with their followers, wives and children, livestock, timber and household goods.

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Filed under: Atlantic | Early Middle Ages
Subjects include: Miscellaneous

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