Leif Eriksson was the first European to land in North America. He discovered Vinland (Newfoundland) in the year 1003. This event is the timeline's POD - Lief Ericson returns to Greenland to encourage the settlement of Vinland.
Settlement of Greenland (982-1002)Edit
In 982, Eiríkr rauði, or Erik the Red, was exiled from Iceland for 3 years. He sailed to the west coast of Greenland and spent his three years in exile there. Erik returned to Iceland after his exile and convinced people to come to this land that he called "Greenland" in order to attract people to settle. He then convinced many Icelanders, especially "Vikings living on poor land," to return to Greenland with him. In 985, Erik and his colonists established two colonies in Greenland. Eventually, the settlement grew to about 5000 people.
Discovery of Markland and Vinland (1003)Edit
Erik's son, Lief Ericson, was born in Iceland around 970 AD. Lief converted to Christianity while he was in Norway to serve the king. He heard stories about a land far west of Iceland from Bjarni Herjólfsson and bought his boat in order to explore it. He left in 1003 with 35 crew members, and followed Bjarni's route. Lief first found Helluland, an island covered with shiny rocks. Then Lief found Markland, or "Wood-land", a forested land with sandy beaches. He sailed further and found Vinland, a place that he deemed hospitable enough for settlement. Ericson's company stayed there over the winter and then set out for Greenland to bring word of this bountiful new land.
Greenlandic Settlers (1004-1010)Edit
See Early Vinland
Lief is able to lead a large group of Greenlandic settlers to Vinland. He establishes a settlement on the northern tip of the island. Harsh conditions in Greenland cause a majority of the people there to settle Vinland. The settlement's population grows to around 3,000. Ericson is declared "paramount chieftain" of Vinland.
Conflicts with the local Indians, or "skraelings" as the Norse settlers called them, impeded the expansion of Norse settlements throughout Vinland during the first few years of the colony. After several battles against the Beothuk people, the Norse are able to negotiate peace. They are able to expand southward and occupy around 1/3 of the island.
Icelandic Settlers (1020-1045)Edit
Lief Ericson dies. His son, Thorkell Leifsson, succeeds him as paramount chieftain of Vinland. One of his first initiatives is to send men to Iceland to promote further immigration. They are largely successful in convincing many poorer Icelanders to settle Vinland, and the population more than doubles by 1045. Several small settlements are established in Markland.
Further Expansion (1055-1107)Edit
Jón Thorkellson succeeds his father. Bolstered by the Icelandic immigrants, Vinlanders plan to expand southward. their main motivation is farmland - Vinland already had around 300 farms before the Icelandic immigrants arrived. They are met with resistance from the Beothuks, but are largely successful in their campaign. They establish control over the entire island. The few small settlements in Markland are attacked by the Dorset people, who destroy most of them. Vinland's Althing is founded in 1070. Thorkellson orders an offensive against the Dorsets in Markland. Sigurður Ólafsson leads a group of Vinlanders and defeats the indian tribes in Markland. Another wave of Icelanders and some Vinlanders settle there. Thorkellson is suceeded by his nephew Sæmundr.
Bishop of Vinland and Norwegian Immigration (1110-1150)Edit
Norway recognizes the value of the colonies of Vinland and Markland as trade between the colonies and Europe increases. He installs the first bishop of Vinland after he returned from the First Crusade. Several thousand Norwegians migrate to Vinland and Markland and the population grows to about 17,000. The population of the town of Liefsborg (founded by Lief Ericson) is around 5,000.
Vinland prospers as a North American colony.
Age of the Sturlungs (1226-1264)Edit
The chieftains of Iceland begin a series of battles. This escalated into a civil war in the commonwealth. While these events caused a few small conflicts in Vinland, the fighting in Iceland did not affect the politics of Vinland for the most part. Several hundred Icelandic peasants moved to Vinland as a result of the fighting. At the end of the conflict, the Gissurarsáttmáli agreement united Iceland and Norway. The King of Norway wanted to sign a similar agreement with the Vinlanders, who had been relatively isolated from events in Europe. They refused, and a breakdown in relations between Vinland and Norway started.
Conflict with Norway (1299-1305)Edit
The Norwegian king Haakon V sent over 3,000 men via Iceland to Vinland. He attempts to convince the Vinlanders to unite with Norway. The Vinlanders had by then established their own language and culture which was distinct from that of European Scandanavians because of their long period of isolation. The Norwegians land in Liefsborg in 1301 but are easily defeated by the end of the year. Preoccupied with the war against Denmark, Haakon breaks off relations with Vinland and makes further trade with Vinland illegal. Vinland gains de facto independence.
Vinland, abandoned by Norway, is isolated from Europe. In 1310, Þórarinn Ólafsson, a powerful chieftain of Liefsborg, defeats or makes treaties with the lesser chieftains of Vinland and later Markland. He establishes the Kingdom of Vinland in 1315. His descendants rule the kingdom for the next three hundred years. Vinland only trades with Greenland, which has several thousand inhabitants that mostly live around the prosperous settlement of Eystribygð. Giovanni Caboto (John Cabot,) an Italian explorer, lands at Vinland in 1497 but does not encounter any Vinlandic settlements and leaves the same year.
Encounters with European Sailors (1501-1583)Edit
Portuguese fishermen establish a small fishing settlement at the eastern edge of Vinland. When Vinlandic fishermen encounter these foreigners, they alert the king and he sends a fleet to destroy them. Eastern Vinland is then patrolled by a fleet of Vinlandic ships. In 1527, John Rut, an English mariner, sailed to Vinland and encountered the Norse ships. They attacked him on sight, and even though his ship had superior technology it was sunk. During the mid-16th century, Vinlanders destroyed or captured any fishing ships they encountered. In 1583, the English explorer Humphrey Gilbert sails to Vinland. Gilbert plans to declare possession of what he called "Newfoundland" for the British crown. Vinlandic ships attack him before he lands but his ship survives and he sails back to England to report hostile "vikings" in the area.
Conflicts with European Colonists (1585-1630)Edit
In 1585 the British Navy sends several warships to investigate Gilbert's claims. When they reach the port in "Newfoundland" that Gilbert was attacked at, they encounter several "primitive viking ships" and easily destroy them. The British make the mistake of going ashore, however, and a large group of Vinlanders ambush them. These Vinlanders came from a settlement near the former European sailing port of St. John's. Even though the British had superior weaponry, they were heavily outnumbered and many were killed or captured. One of the captured sailors, Eric Jackson, is a native speaker of Danish and knows some Icelandic. He is brought to Liefsborg and after several months is able to communicate in Vinlandic. Jackson tells the Vinlanders of Europe and the technological advancements of the past several centuries. Vinlanders are in awe at how advanced the land they only know from sagas has become. They saw how powerful the European arquebus was and immediately started attempting to replicate it. They had some success and by 1590 Vinlandic artisans were able to create a crude form of arquebus. Vinlandic ships continue to attack European fishing ships around Vinland. By 1615, several French expeditions encounter southern Vinlandic settlements. There are around a dozen of these settlements outside Vinland proper, a kingdom that has over 100,000 inhabitants. The French are met with resistance but these small settlements do not disrupt the fur trade and the small conflicts only serve to show the British and French the reality of a Norse Kingdom in the northern area of the New World.
European Colonization (1631-1715)Edit
The British colonize the Eastern coast of North America. They encounter several Vinlandic settlements in the colony of Maine but defeat the Vinlanders with ease. The settlers of New France make treaties with Vinland. As kindred Catholic nations, the Vinlanders and the French become important allies. The sudden influx of French culture and language drastically changes the sociolinguistic aspects of some Vinlandic towns. Eriksborg becomes the home of more and more French immigrants, as a treaty between France and Vinland allows immigration to the kingdom. King Ólaf of Vinland learns French and it becomes the main language of the Vinlandic court. The English become wary of this alliance, and refused to trade with the Vinlanders. By 1715, there were over 140,000 inhabitants in Vinland, around 20,000 in New France, and over 430,000 in the British North American territories.
The Five Years' War (1756-1761)Edit
The Five Years' war is fought as a continuation of the War of the Austrian Succession. In North America, it is a war of empires. Britain and its colonies fight a coalition of France, Vinland, and Spain. The British capture important French forts in Southern New France early on. At the Battle of Fort Beauséjour, however, the French and their Vinlandic allies are able to defeat the British. Vinlandic soldiers rebuff their French allies in Quebec City, the French capital in North America. In 1758, the British are decisively defeated by the French and Vinlandic forces. Britain then focuses on the southern provinces and is able to conquer many important French forts. However, they are unable to conquer further territory and after a string of defeats to Franco-Vinlandic forces they are willing to sign a peace treaty. The Treaty of Paris is signed in 1761. The British keep their New England colonies, but return captured Florida to Spain. France gives Britain Illinois Country in exchange for the return of the Caribbean islands of Guadeloupe and Martinique. To compensate Vinlanders for their help in the war, France gives Vinland the northern territories of New France. Immigration to Vinland continues and its population grows to 190,000.
French Revolution and War (1780-1790)Edit
While France did have relative success in the Five Years' War, the defence of New France plunged the kingdom further into debt. King Louis XVI's failed financial reforms and opposition to the Third Estate (the common people) leads to a rebellion in Paris. In 1781 a constitutional monarchy is declared. In 1782 France goes to war with Austria and in the same year the king and his family flee to New France where they have the support of the Vinlandic royal court. Louis declares New France a constitutional monarchy and secedes from France in 1783. Britain takes the opportunity to seize southern Louisiana territory and declares war on Spain. Britain captures Florida and some Spanish lands east of Louisiana. The new French Republic signs a peace treaty with Austria and Britain in 1789. Britain and Spain sign a peace treaty in 1790.
Unrest in the Colonies (1791-1804)Edit
Many supporters of the French royalty immigrate to the Kingdom of New France. Several rebellions against the king in New France are quelled with the help of Vinlandic soldiers. After several successful but costly wars, Britain is heavily in debt. The taxes that the colonists have to pay to Britain quickly increase, much to the dismay of local leaders. Several small-scale rebellions occur in various areas of New England. Fearing a uprising in the colonies in light of the success of the French Revolution, King George III of Britain gives further autonomy to his North American colonies.