Published on October 09, 2013
The Vinland Society of Prince Edward Island is hosting two lectures by Icelandic Saga authority Gisli Sigurdsson OCt. 18 and 19 at the BIS Hall.
Published on October 09, 2013
Leif the Lucky, or Leifur Eiriksson, as depicted by Sigvald Asbjornsen in 1901.
Photo special to The Guardian by Gisli Sigurdsson
“The Island as Vinland” is the main theme of a new organization just formed in this province.
This is the Vinland Society of Prince Edward Island, inspired by the very real probability that Leif the Lucky and other Viking explorers visited our shores just over a thousand years ago.
Writers in Iceland composed two different sagas in the 13th and 14th centuries about voyages undertaken by their ancestors a few hundred years earlier — to the lands west and south of Greenland, including the fabled Vinland. These sagas contain the first realistic accounts of Europeans crossing the Atlantic and encountering the native peoples of the Americas, an historic event on a grand scale for humanity.
Historians now agree the archaeological site discovered some 50 years ago at L’Anse aux Meadows at the northern tip of Newfoundland was inhabited for several years about A.D. 1000 by people with Norse-Gaelic family background coming from Iceland and Greenland.
From this place, annual voyages of exploration were undertaken farther south, most immediately in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. In this sense, L’Anse aux Meadows is seen as the Gateway to Vinland, where Prince Edward Island is located.
In its newly adopted constitution, The Vinland Society states two main objectives: 1) to create among the Island people a Vinland state of mind; and 2) to establish close links between the Island and Iceland.
“We hope to forge great relationships with people from Iceland,” says Harry Baglole, president of the Vinland Society. “We anticipate links around literature, culture, archaeology and economic development — and perhaps even Viking- and Vinland-themed tourism.”
“As well, we want to imagine what this place — our Island in the Gulf of St. Lawrence — was like a thousand years ago.”
The Vinland Society will be organizing projects and exchanges and sponsoring public lectures, including several this autumn and winter. The first of these will be a visit to the Island by Icelandic saga authority Dr. Gisli Sigurdsson. He will be presenting two lectures, on consecutive evenings, at the Irish Cultural Centre (BIS Hall), on Friday and Saturday, Oct. 18 and 19.
Friday’s lecture is sponsored by the Benevolent Irish Society: it will focus on the Gaelic/Irish cultural contribution in Iceland during the Viking Age. The second, on Saturday, will address the topic Vinland As It Was Remembered in the Icelandic Sagas. The start time for both talks is 7:30.
A news release says all are welcome to attend Vinland Society events. Prospective new members will find it easy to join the society, at $20 for a life membership.