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Norse explorer Leif Ericson (born 970s?-died 1020?) probably arrived in America five centuries before Christopher Columbus. Ericson's father, Erik the Red, had already established the first settlements in Greenland during the latter part of the 10th century. Hearing that a large land mass had been sighted west of Greenland by fellow Norse seaman Bjarni Herjólfsson, Leif later ventured further west, eventually reaching what became known as Vinland (probably in the year 999 or 1000) on the far northeastern tip of Canada in present-day Newfoundland. Leif had earlier landed on what was probably Baffin Island and Labrador before finally settling on Vinland, where he and his crew of about three dozen men built shelters and braved the winter. Nearly five hundred years later, Columbus took a more southern route to the New World, first arriving in the Caribbean in 1492.
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