The First European to Discover America

Trondheimers have no doubt who first discovered America -- or, put more politically correct, the first European to discover an already inhabited continent. Here is the official line as taught in local schools: "Leiv Eiriksson sailed to Nidaros in the year A.D. 999. The visit to Olaf Tryggvason's new royal farm must have been a success. Leiv Eiriksson became the king's man and stayed as a guest all winter. Spring came and he was a changed man. He had been baptized as a Christian. He launched his mighty boats at Skipakrok and sailed over the ocean to Greenland and further, far, far to the west. Leiv Eiriksson made the discovery of a lifetime -- America."

To honor Leiv Eiriksson, there is an emigrant monument, Leiv Eiriksson Statue, at Pirsenheret, Brattøra (take any bus circulating through Trondheim's downtown to Pirterminalen). It was a gift from Americans of Scandinavian heritage to honor Trondheim's millennium celebration in 1997. The statue was erected and dedicated to emigrants who left Norway to seek a new life in America. The monument is an exact copy of the original, which stands in Seattle.

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