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Leif the Discoverer: 1899

Leif the Discoverer: 1899
LEIF THE DISCOVERER
SON OF ERIK
WHO SAILED FROM ICELAND
AND LANDED ON THIS CONTINENT
A.D. 1000

The shores of Lake Michigan circa 1899. "Leif Erikson statue, Milwaukee, Wisconsin." 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative. View full size.

 

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"What happened?" Leif cried.

Shading his eyes from the burning sun, he gazed back to whence he thought he came.

"Where are my matelots? They were with me last night when I opened the celebratory wine barrel. I just checked and this sea behind me is fresh water!"

The actual location of the subsequent Norse settlement where Leif first bounded ashore in North America is in Newfoundland, some 2500 miles east and now both a Canadian National Historic Site and UNESCO World Heritage Site:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/L%27Anse_aux_Meadows

Quite what the citizens who erected this statue in this inappropriate spot were thinking may well have been influenced by copious drafts of Milwaukee's most famous product. Leif's Roman tunic instead of reindeer skins from head to foot, the Gillette-smooth shave instead of full beard and especially those snappy shoes and socks are mere further indications that excessive alcohol consumption can lead to strange outcomes. Ahem. It's about the kind of surprise that astonished first-time visitors to some small town may experience - something like a giant billboard proclaiming "Home of the World's Most Famous Hot Dog!"

Now you know

why sailors call each other "mate."

Hello Sailor!

Leif must have been popular with the crew during long sea voyages.

Born and raised in Iceland

We didn't exactly skip through Leifur when I began my school years (Reykjavík, 1930s), but they should have told us about that early miniskirt!

Viking breastplates

Did Leif wear breastplates like that? Really? Hmph.

Ho ho ho

He looks a little like the Jolly Green Giant.

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