The discovery of America by the Norsemen in the early years of the eleventh century is now one of the accepted facts of history. While considerable difference of opinion still exists as to the measure of reliance to be placed, in points of detail, upon the documents in which the discovery is recorded, and the precise localities visited are still the subject of controversy, no one who has devoted any attention to the subject entertains any doubt that the broad fact of the discovery is established. But, though this is so, the evidence has hitherto been exclusively confined to the historical narratives of the sagas, and the attempts which have been made from time to time to supplement their testimony by the production of traces of Norse occupation discovered in America itself have not only broken down, but have excited so large a measure of ridicule and suspicion that they have, rather paradoxically, been the principal reason why general acceptance of the basic fact was unduly delayed. As a natural and justifiable result, the first reaction of students of the subject to alleged discoveries of Norse remains or inscriptions in the West is one of extremely cautious scepticism.
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