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The name given by Vikings to a place in North America where an attempt at settlement, led by Leif Ericsson, was made in the 11th century.

The Vinland saga says that its name was given due to the wild grapes that grew nearby.

The actual site of Vinland is a matter of conjecture, but a good candidate is the settlement of L'Anse Aux Meadows on the northern tip of Newfoundland.

Vinland is so called because of what appears in the Icelandic Annals at the time of discovery. The expedition describes an area with wild grapes in profusion, vast stretches of towering timber, an abundance of game of all kinds, rivers teeming with giant salmon, meadows rich with a harvest of wild wheat, and a climate so kind that winter frosts were hardly known; even the dew seemed to them sweeter than anything they'd ever tasted before. And Leif the Lucky named the country Vinland: 'Wineland', the land of grapes.

This is the main point of conjecture about the location of 'Vinland'. Since the settlers seemed to place so much importance on the quantaties of grapes that surrounded them, it seems unlikely that they could have been talking about Newfoundland. Before the discovery of the settlement in Newfoundland at L'Anse Aux Meadows, Vinland had been confidently located by enthusiasts in areas as far apart as Hudson Bay and Virginia.

The discovery of Viking settlement in Newfoundland is of monumental historical importance, but does little to paint a clear picture of the extent of the Norse colonization of America.

On the debate on Vinland and grapes:

The actual word in the sagas is "vinber" which means a berry used to make wine. It doesn't necessarily mean "grape". People made wine out of elderberries, gooseberries, currants, and many other berries that grow as far north as Newfoundland.

Helge Ingstad points this out in his book about his and Anne Stine's discovery of the L'Anse Aux Meadows Norse settlement site. Gwyn Jones also talks about it at length in his books about the Vikings.

Samuel Eliot Morison says that this was first pointed out by Merritt L. Fernald, a botany professor at Harvard, in 1910. (Poor Professor Fernald, I don't even have the urge to link your name -- you are too obscure sounding...)

Even before the Vinland Sagas were written down, Adam of Bremen, in 1075, referred to Vinland as the land of wild vines that yield excellent wine.

But even if, in 1075 or so, rumor had it that there were vines with berries on them in Vinland, it could easily have been just misinformation based on people's extrapolation of that fatal word "vinber".

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