Why did Norse Greenland fail as a colony?
York Medieval Yearbook, ISSUE No. 1, (2002)
Since the discovery in 1721 by the Norwegian missionary Hans Egede that the Norse no longer inhabited the two settlements they had established in Greenland around the year 1000, their decline and eventual disappearance has been much debated. Until the twentieth century, theories were generally based upon interpretations of Inuit oral tradition and primarily attributed the demise of the Norse colony to the aggressive nature of contact between the ancestors of the modern Inuit and their Norse contemporaries (Seaver, 1996, 119). More recently, however, in addition to theories emanating from both the limited documentary evidence for the period and the expanding archaeological record, a number of scientific advances have allowed for a more thorough and directed debate as to the plausible causes of their demise. In this way, theories have diversified in content, bringing Brunn’s hope of a multi-disciplinary solution to the mysterious extinction of the Norse much closer to realisation.