The first written referance to a German in connection with North America is of Tyrkir, who took part in the Viking expedition to the new world in the year 1000. Under the leadership of Leif Erickson they sailed from Greenland across to the Labrador coast, to Newfoundland, then to the area of today's Cape Cod, Massachusetts.

The Icelandic Sagas state: The man Leif Erickson called his foster father, had one day failed to return from a scouting expedition. It was Tyrkir the German, an old friend of Erick the Red, Leif's father. Tyrkir's role was to serve Leif as a stand-in-father, to protect and guide him and to offer counsel.

Leif anxiously searched for him and finally found him in a great state of excitement. "I have found grapevines and grapes," Tyrkir shouted. "Foster Father is this possible?" Leif asked. "Yes, for where I was born there was no lack of either vines or grapes," Tyrkir replied knowingly. Having said this he showed Leif the location of his extraordinary find. There they were, vines laden with fruit. The saga then states that they loaded the afterboat with grapes and the ship itself with a cargo of timber.

Leif called this country Vinland (Wineland).

A little background to this Viking/German story:
Schloss Gottorf in Schleswig-Holstein Germany, houses in it's museum section an early germanic ship from the 4th century. It was ships like these that were used in the settlement of England by the Angles and Saxons, two germanic tribes from this area of northern Germany. The Viking ship is an evolution of this ship.

Not far from Schloss Gottorf on the river Schlei, there exsisted at the turn of the 10th century an important and powerful germanic trading centre called Haitabu or Hedeby, it's remains can still be seen today. It was the gateway to the Baltic and beyond. It attracted traders from all the germanic tribes such as Frisians, Saxons, Franks from the Rhineland as well as Danes, Swedes and Norwegeans. It could very well have been here that Tyrkir met Eric the Red and Leif Erickson.

Our next story of Diedrick Pining has a direct connection.

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