Settling the unsettlable: Ryan Sines, Norse in the North Atlantic: A comparison of the Norse settlements and societies of Iceland and Greenland during the Middle Ages, MA Dissertation, University of Nebraska at Kearney, 2015
Abstract: Scandinavians constantly left their homelands during the Viking Age, and some of them settled new islands in the North Atlantic. The settlers in Iceland and Greenland attempted to create an idealized version of society, much of which was based on their experiences in Norway. Both countries faced different challenges as they developed, and ultimately Iceland survived while Greenland failed sometime in the fifteenth century. Each country, though unique, developed along the same pattern and had many similar characteristics. Iceland and Greenland both dealt with the introduction of Christianity, an overbearing Norwegian king who succeeded in the thirteenth century of annexing both countries, and the effects of environmental and climactic changes in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. Society also flourished in the North Atlantic as did travel and trade, with Icelanders and Greenlanders reaching as far as the Byzantine Empire. The Greenlanders also continued to travel west, reaching the shores of North America around the year 1000, the effects of which are still trying to be understood. The settlement of Iceland and Greenland offers an analysis of two countries that shared much in common, but only one survived.
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