Erik "the Red" Thorvaldsson

 - Norwegian Viking Explorer and Hero -

( 935 - 1001 )
 


* List of the stories he appears in :
- W OS 408-02 : "The Golden Helmet", from 1951, by Carl Barks (by name only) ;
- D 93287 : "From Duckburg to Lillehammer", from 1994, by Don Rosa (by name only).

 

* His biography :
   Erik Thorvaldsson, best known as Erik the Red because of his red hair, was born in Joederen, Norway around 935, son of Thorvald Arvaldsson.
   His father was exiled from Norway in 950 because he commited several killings. Because of his age, Erik left with his father for the coast of Iceland, where he grew up.
   He then became a Norse Chieftain in his clan on the little island of Iceland. Erik the Red revealed many times through quarrels and life issues that he possessed a temperament that would lead to trouble. In 981, a serious quarrel erupted between Erik the Red-haired and his neighbours on Iceland. In the fight that followed, Erik was responsible for the death of two men. He was convicted of manslaughter, pronounced an outlaw, and exiled from Iceland for three years. To stay meant possible death as, once convicted, anyone on Iceland was allowed to legally kill him.
   Desesperate, Erik decided to explore the West of Iceland, and in 982, along with his family, he discovered a beautyful and atractive land which he called Greenland, and settled in it. The Viking settlements in Greenland were established fjords of the southern and western coast.  Erik named his settlement Brattahlid, which was located on the Ericsfjord. Erik the Redís entire family lived in total seclusion, but they spent the three years in exile exploring the south and west coasts of Greenland.
   In 985, Erik decides all the same to turn over to Iceland in order to make share his discovery, and convinced hundreds of others to join him in settling this new country. In 986, about 25 ships set sail with Erik the Red  for Greenland. Only 14 ships survived the seas, but about 450 new colonists set foot ashore. Erik the Red continued to reside in the Eastern Settlement, his home, the village of Brattahlid, and here he raised his children and headed his family. He had two wives, Thorhild and Thorbjarga, and four sons, Freydis, Thorvald, Thorstein, and Leif Eriksson. Towards 995, Norway is converted to Christianism by King Olaf Trygvason, and Leif, After an adventurous trip to Norway and an eye opening experience, now "saved by Christ", returned to his father Erik and tried to convince him to accept Christianity. Erik refused , but was persuaded by his wife, Thorhild, to have a church built in their settlement, although he never visited the finished establishment.
   He died in Brattahlid, in his residence of Greenland in the year 1001.
   Leif Eriksson is said to have been the first European to discover North America.

* His place in the Barks/Rosa stories universe :
    First, in Barks' "The Golden Helmet", his name is mentionned when Donald finds a map in Duckburg's museum showing the travels of the drakkar commanded by a Olaf the Blue. The director of the museum tells that according to a Norwegian legend, this Olaf the Blue discovered Greenland in 900, long before Eric the Red, and that he even moored in North America, in 901.
   Then, in Rosa's "From Duckburg to Lillehammer", he is also mentionned when Huey tells, when they are in a trip to Norway for the Olympic games, that 1 000 years ago, Eric the Red and Olaf the Blue travelled here...
   While Erik the Red is supposed to have really existed (even if some think it's still a legend), Olaf the Blue is a purely fictionnal character created by Barks. If he got his nickname after the color of his hair too, then he would have blue hair and beard :-)
   In "Luck of the North" (Barks, 1949), a map is found by Donald in a viking ship which is said to have been used to find America before Colombus. It is not told who used the map. It could be Olaf the Blue, but more likely Leif Eriksson...
 
 


Olaf the Blue in Don Rosa's
"The Lost Charts of Columbus"

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