Issue Date: October 9, 1968
City: Seattle, WA
Printed By: Bureau of Engraving and Printing
Printing Method: Lithographed, engraved
Color: Light gray, brown and black brown
This stamp honors Leif Erikson, a Norse explorer who led the first known European expedition to the mainland of North America.
Erikson was born in Iceland around 980 A.D. About 985 A.D., his father, Erik the Red, founded a settlement in Greenland. About 1002 A.D., Erikson and a crew of 35 men sailed west from Greenland in search of land sighted by another sea captain. They landed in what they called Helluland – flat rock land. They traveled further south and reached Markland – forest land. Traveling farther south, they reach Vinland – or wineland. Their crew members likely made wine from cranberries or gooseberries.
Norsemen continued to travel from Greenland to Vinland for a period of about 15 years after Erikson’s discovery. Historians believe these voyages ceased due to violent confrontations with American Indians. October 9th is observed as Leif Erikson day in the United States.