What happened to the real Leif Erikson?

Vikings: Valhalla trailer released by Netflix

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Vikings: Valhalla is on Netflix now and the series focuses on a different era of the Viking Age. The historical TV drama acts as a sequel to the original Amazon Prime Video series, focusing on descendants of the famous warriors. Leif Erikson was a Norse explorer and Express.co.uk has all you need to know about the real historical figure.

What happened to the real Leif Erikson?

In the Netflix series, Leif (played by Sam Corlett) arrived in Kattegat with his sister Freydis Eriksdotter (Frida Gustavsson).

They met Harald Sigurdsson (Leo Suter), the Prince of Norway, and they formed an alliance to try and maintain peace between the Pagan and Christian Vikings.

The real Norse explorer was around from 970 until around 1020 and he is believed to be the first European to enter North America.

According to sagas, he is believed to have founded Vinland on coastal North America.

In the series, he explains he is the father of Erik the Red, and this was indeed the case.

Erik, who featured in the original Vikings series, was the founder of the first Norse settlement in Greenland.

Leif went on to have two sons, Thorgils and Thorkell, who took over as chieftain of the Greenland settlement.

As he is portrayed in the Netflix series, the real Leif was wise and considerate and was attractive to many.

He fell in love with a noblewoman, Thorgunna, with whom he had son Thorgils.

In the series, he fell for fellow Greenlander Liv (Lujza Richter), and they travelled together.

Nothing has been recorded about his death but he is most likely to have died in Greenland.

After his son Thorkell took control of Greenland, not must is mentioned about his family.

Thankfully he was still alive at the end of the first season of Vikings Valhalla, so there is more of his story to tell.

The series has been picked up for three seasons, so there is plenty to explore about the Norse traveller.

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After the real Leif’s time in Vinland, he returned to Greenland and turns his back on North American shores.

He managed to convert his mother, Thjodhild, to Christianity and the first Christian church was built at Brattahild.

In the late 19th century, Nordic Americans celebrated Leif as the first European explorer of the New World.

In September 1964, President Lyndon Johnson declared October 9 as Leif Erikson Day.

Actor Sam Corlett, who plays Leif in the Netflix series, told Looper: “For myself, it was very important to go back to the sagas and brush up on my history.

“I remember learning about it in high school. I remember where I was sitting in Mr Gill’s history class, learning about Leif Erikson and Erik the Red.

“I dived into the books, but ultimately, I loved stripping it back and going to, ‘What are the similarities that I have with Leif, and where can I impart my experience of being a human in this world, and where can he impart his experience on me?’

“I think there’s a nice meeting when it comes to an actor and a character. Then, it was about telling a very human story about someone who’s trying to do their best for the people that they love.”

Vikings: Valhalla is airing on Netflix now.

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