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"What if the Vikings had went to the new world.." Topic

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Old Glory Sponsoring Member of TMP10 Jan 2022 12:45 p.m. PST

In much greater numbers with the intent of colonizing and staying?
Would the natives have been able to unify better and prevail considering there was not as big a gap in weaponry?
Or would have the same result came about due the intrinsic behavior of the evil white man ?
Consider big battle suspect as Europe witnessed in tge dark ages.

Russ Dunaway

forrester10 Jan 2022 2:04 p.m. PST

It took them a long time to establish a permanent presence in Saxon England [I use that word very loosely] in a much smaller area and much closer to home base than would have been the case in the New World.

advocate10 Jan 2022 2:06 p.m. PST

I'm not sure the colony could have been sustained. But if it were, I'd imagine they would have been able to defend themselves effectively, and would have ended up trading with the locals. Who would then have used the metal tools and weapons to dominate their neighbours. See the New Zealand Musket Wars…

Old Glory Sponsoring Member of TMP10 Jan 2022 2:14 p.m. PST

Indeed It took then longer to establish a permanent presence in Saxon England-- but in Saxon England there was possibly much stiffer organized resistance?
I cannot see the Vikings having trouble permanently sustaining themselves in North America.
I am more interested in the natives having a better chance, watching, learning, adapting so as they become more organized in the ways of the white man while they still had a chance?

Russ Dunaway

DisasterWargamer10 Jan 2022 2:16 p.m. PST

May have been a step too far – based on distance – not sure they had the population base to support it

Personal logo Grelber Supporting Member of TMP10 Jan 2022 2:49 p.m. PST

In some ways, Ireland might be a better analogy. There, the Vikings were able to establish cities and trade with the locals. Apparently, they felt it was better to trade from their bases, like Dublin, and let the locals bring in goods than to take over the land, which would have involved exterminating the natives or selling them off into slavery. If more resources had been available, perhaps they could have sustained a string of Viking harbors, trading with the natives.


phssthpok10 Jan 2022 3:24 p.m. PST

You are all forgetting germ theory.

Perris070710 Jan 2022 3:44 p.m. PST

They did. In the 1850's and 1860's. I am half Norwegian, and this part of Wisconsin is almost all Norwegian descent.

Mister Tibbles10 Jan 2022 4:12 p.m. PST

As an aside to the Saxon England topic, I'm watching the anime Vinland Saga. It's quite entertaining.

Old Glory Sponsoring Member of TMP10 Jan 2022 4:19 p.m. PST

Consider though the impact of the Norsemem developing a known sailing route and bases in the New World 500 years earler then happened ?
This would have put the North American natives in contact with Europeans long before the technology had gotten so far ahead?
Bows, spears, clubs, axes?
Russ Dunaway

advocate10 Jan 2022 11:48 p.m. PST

I'll say it again, metal versus wood and stone. It really matters.

Deucey Supporting Member of TMP11 Jan 2022 6:31 a.m. PST

I think the point is: Native Americans would have been gradually exposed to the west, as opposed to the Spanish Blitzkrieg.

Also smallpox would have come gradually, as opposed to racing the natives right when the Spanish arrived.

And Christianity may have come more gradually as well.

Who knows? Fate had other plans.

Personal logo Parzival Supporting Member of TMP11 Jan 2022 8:28 a.m. PST

It might have helped if they had refrained from butchering themselves. Kind of puts the kibosh on things when Freydis Eriksdottir slaughters half the colony in their sleep.

(If that's who actually did it; in any case, somebody did…)

Of course the real problem was that the Medieval Warming Period ended, hampering travel in open longboats and reducing the growing period and viable farming lands in Greenland. Effective long distance overseas colonies require sustainable trade methods, which required improvements in sea vessels which occurred over the next four centuries. Larger vessels, better navigation techniques and so forth made the difference. If anything, it was the sailing vessels of the 16th-18th centuries that doomed the natives of the New World. The Europeans kept coming because the Europeans had made the trip relatively easier, and thus cross-Atlantic trade both viable and profitable. The natives had no means of stopping that. Lack of metal wasn't their problem; lack of technology all the way around was. And lack of technology is directly related to one very key thing— the natives of North America had no written language. Without a written language and the means to widely distribute concise and specific information in a lasting form, the natives had no way to quickly develop and spread any technology capable of meeting or exceeding the European's.

Communication, transportation and logistics were the keys to the New World. The natives were centuries behind in all of them,

Old Glory Sponsoring Member of TMP11 Jan 2022 8:57 a.m. PST

Why would a Viking settlement in North America not be able to sustain themselves without trading?
Wood, food, their own craftsmen, etc?
Initially friends with the Natives who assist them -- if they even would have really needed that ( didn't you ever watch Gilligan's island?)
Over a period of 100 years the Natives will have learned much and advanced themselves.
Many great scenarios for the thinking man.
The Vikings follow rivers with their new found friends and allies-- etc

Russ Dunaway

dapeters12 Jan 2022 12:44 p.m. PST

My understanding is that the Greenland Colony collapsed because of the unwillingness of Norse settlers to take aid or knowledge from the indigenous population, who they consider pagan.

Old Glory Sponsoring Member of TMP12 Jan 2022 4:40 p.m. PST

LOL --- people considered pagans refusing to accept aid from other people they considered to be pagan???
I guess everyone is a pagan or infidel to someone else???

Russ Dunaway

dapeters13 Jan 2022 9:36 a.m. PST

Well Russ in fairness you could argue that those settlers were no longer vikings and were just Europeans at that point.

Personal logo Parzival Supporting Member of TMP14 Jan 2022 8:28 p.m. PST

Well, the Vikings didn't sustain themselves in the New World, so there you go— and pretty much what they lacked was that very trading aspect. Everything else— their level of technology, agriculture, fishing, etc., they had. But these were not enough. The Little Ice Age began, and the Vikings left, and that was that.

When the English, Dutch, French and Spanish colonization efforts began, there was a heavy emphasis on overseas trade as an element— the colonies found resources to transport back to Europe, with a resulting profit for both the colonists and Europeans, and that naturally produced significant increases in colonization, thus making sustained growth possible. Within a century, you could literally become wealthy by immigrating to the Americas from Europe. That's all it really takes to get people to colonize a distant land and become a permanent human habitation— the opportunity to profit. Other reasons may initiate the move, but profit sustains it. And profit requires trade.

Old Glory Sponsoring Member of TMP15 Jan 2022 10:17 a.m. PST

The Vikings simply did not go in enough numbers to make a colony and "so there you go."
That is the "what if??"
The natives of American seemed to have sustained themselves quite well without trade.
The importance of trade is made way to important --even today.
There are other reasons for migration then money.
And "that is that ???"

Russ Dunaway

Erzherzog Johann24 Jan 2022 3:17 p.m. PST

I agree Russ. It's in interesting 'what if' that posits a much earlier period of sustained contact between new and old worlds.

I think you're right. A more gradual, incremental, earlier contact would have ensured that the indigenous population would not have been overwhelmed by technology and disease as happened in real life.

While the indigenous populations had sustained themselves without external trade, I'm sure there was plenty of local trade, so one thing the Vikings would have needed to do was have something useful to the locals. Are there iron, copper or other metal ore deposits near where they landed that they would have been able to utilise?


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