Leif Erikson was born the son of Erik the Red. Leif had two brothers and a sister (Thorsteinn, Thorvaldr, and Freydis). Leif's grandfather, Thorvald, was exiled to Iceland for manslaughter. Leif eventually got exiled from Iceland himself, which led to him finding Greenland and establishing a settlement there.
Early in his adult life, Leif took a trip to Norway and converted to Christianity. He spread the religion to Greenland, and then went to search for new lands. He had heard of a man named Bjarni Herjólfsson who claimed to have seen land off the coast of Vinland. Bjarni said he had never set foot on it, though. Leif bought Bjarni's ship from him and set off with a crew of 35 men to find the land he described.
First, Leif landed in Helluland (Flat-Stone Land), which was an island north of Erikson. He then landed in Markland, a chilly, forested area on the mainland of the continent. Finally, he reached a much warmer place full of grapes and fruit, which led him to call the place "Vinland". After staying there for a full winter, he returned to Iceland with barrels of grapes and wine.
Leif was described as a very wise and considerate man. He met a woman named Thorgunna who gave birth to his son Thorgils. While he was spreading Christianity, his father did not take very kindly to the suggestion, while his mother did very easily. Leif later had another son, Thorkell. Not much more is known about Leif, except for the fact that Thorfinn lived in Leif's Vinlandic estate until his death in 1058.