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The Norse were Europe's first Great Explorers. Centuries before Italians such as John Cabot and Christopher Columbus were motivated to sail in search of a new route to the riches of the Orient, the Icelanders had dared to travel far in search of new lands, riches and fame.
Then the successes of the Icelanders abrubtly and quietly came to an end. The newly discovered lands of Markland, Vinland and Helluland were abandoned; contact was abruptly lost with Greenland as the phenomenon known as the "Little Ice Age" swept Europe. The great Scandinavian Kingdoms of Sweden, Norway and Denmark wouldn't discover its fait until the 1700s, when it became clear that the colony had died out long ago.
But what if the Norse colonies had survived? (See Points of Divergence) This timeline shows one possible outcome.