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Norse explorer (approx 970-approx. 1020). Widely considered the original European discoverer of North America. He was probably born in Norway, and traveled with his father, Erik the Red, to colonize Greenland around 985. He had a falling-out with his father after Leif converted to Christianity--Leif's mother converted, and Erik banished her from the household.

In an effort to mend his relationship with his father, Leif undertook a voyage to the west, making landfall at several locations, including Baffin Island, Labrador, Belle Isle, and Newfoundland, which Leif named "Vinland". He and his crew built a settlement for the winter, then returned to Greenland in the spring. On the way home, Leif spotted some men shipwrecked on a reef, earning the nickname "Leif the Lucky". When he got home, Leif learned that his father had died, leaving Leif as the ruler of Greenland. He left future exploration to others, including his son.

Norse settlements in Vinland may have lasted as late as 1350, when attacks from the natives (called "Skraelings", or "Screechers" by the Vikings) forced the colonists away.

Research from GURPS Who's Who, compiled by Phil Masters, "Leif Eriksson" by Brian C. Smithson, pp. 42-43.

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