Þorfinnur „karlsefni“ Þórðarson

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Þorfinnur „karlsefni“ Þórðarson

Also Known As: "Torfinn Karlsevne", "Thorfinn Karlsefni", "Þorfinnr Karlsefni"
Birthplace: Iceland
Death: Glaumbær, Iceland
Immediate Family:

Son of Þórður "hesthöfði" Snorrason and Þórunn
Husband of Guðríður Þorbjarnardóttir
Father of Snorri Þorfinnsson and Þorbjörn Þorfinnsson

Occupation: Vinlandsfarer
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Þorfinnur „karlsefni“ Þórðarson


Þorfinnr Karlsefni, fl. 1002–15, Icelandic leader of an attempt to colonize North America. He appeared in Greenland in 1002 and married Gudrid, widow of one of the sons of Eric the Red. He set out c.1010 with an expedition consisting of three ships and 160 men to settle in Vinland, which Leif Ericsson had discovered a few years before.

Thorfinn's expedition is recorded in the "Saga of Eric the Red" in the collection of sagas known as Hauksbok, and in a narrative interpolated in the "Saga of Olaf Tryggvason" in the Flateyjarbok. According to the former, which has been favored by most scholars, the expedition came first to a region they called Helluland. Then they passed on to a wooded country which they named Markland, sailed by sandy, desolate beaches called Furdustrands, and settled for the winter in a bay called Straumfjord.

Still seeking the land of grapes, they proceeded southward the next spring until they reached a place called Hop. There they found vines, and there they settled for the next winter, selecting a spot up a river that widened into a lake. Several encounters with the natives, however, in which two of their number were killed, induced them to abandon Hop in the spring and return to Straumfjord, where they spent the third winter. One of the ships, commanded by Thorhall, had deserted the first year after a disagreement and had met disaster in Ireland. With the prospect of attack, plus growing dissension, it was decided to abandon the whole attempt. Returning by Markland, Thorfinn's ship reached Greenland safely; the other was wrecked in the Irish Sea and part of its crew saved.

Much effort has been spent in attempts to identify the lands visited by Thorfinn and to discover his wintering sites, but no theory has won general acceptance. Places from Labrador to New England have been suggested, but such identifications are little more than guesses. There is also divergence on the dates assigned to Thorfinn's expedition.


Þorfinnr “Karlsefni” Þórðarson

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The title of this article contains the following characters: Þ, ó and ð. Where they are unavailable or not desired, the name may be represented as Thorfinnr “Karlsefni” Thordarson.

The title of this article is an Icelandic name; the last name is a patronymic, not a family name; this person is properly referred to by the given name Thorfinn, Thorfinnr, Þorfinnr or Þorfinnur.

Thorfinn Karlsefni (Old Norse: Þorfinnr Karlsefni, Icelandic: Þorfinnur Karlsefni) was an Icelandic explorer who circa 1010 AD led an attempt to settle Vínland with three ships and 160 settlers. Among the settlers was Freydís Eiríksdóttir, according to Grœnlendinga saga and Eiríks saga rauða, sister or half-sister of Leif Eriksson respectively. Thorfinn's wife Guðríðr Þorbjarnardóttir gave birth to a boy in Vínland, known as Snorri Guðríðarson[1][2] , the first child of European descent known to have been born in the New World and to whom many Icelanders can trace their roots. The exact location of Thorfinn's colony is unknown but is believed to potentially be the excavated Norse camp at L'Anse aux Meadows, Newfoundland.

In the early twentieth century, Einar Jónsson, an Icelandic sculptor, created a statue of Thorfinn Karlsefni which was placed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. There is another casting of the statue in Reykjavik, Iceland.


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Þorfinnur „karlsefni“ Þórðarson's Timeline

Hop, Stony Point, Rockland County, New York, United States
Reynistadur, Skagafjardar, Iceland
Glaumbær, Iceland