Leif Ericson was a Norse explorer who led the very first expedition to North America. He was the son of Eric The Red, another explorer. Eric The Red also established the first settlement in Greenland. After his father died, Leif became the leader of Greenland in his father's place. Ericson was born in Iceland, near what is now called Budardalur. In about 999, Leif sailed to Norway where he became a Christian. Then Eric sailed back to Greenland and preached Christianity to his father's Pagan settlement. Then Ericson sailed west from Greenland in about 1,000 A.D. to find a land that a Norse sea captain had spotted. According to the Stories, Ericson and 35 other men first landed at a flat stone area that he named helluland, which means flat rock land. Then he went to a land filled with trees that he called Markland, which means forest land. Then he continued south and went to a place where grapes were growing. He and his men made wine out of the grapes and he then named that place Vinland which means wine land. Some historians think that they may have been cranberries or gooseberries instead of grapes. Afterwards Leif and his men spent the winter in Vinland. They built a large house and a shed to cover and protect their ship. They cut down trees to bring back to Greenland where wood was hard to find. On the way back to Greenland they rescued 15 men in a shipwreck and they gave their cargo to Leif for a reward. The cargo and the wood made Ericson become rich.
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