What if the Vikings had stayed in North America? | Alternate Afterthought

What if the Vikings had stayed in North America? | Alternate Afterthought


In 1492, Christopher Columbus arrived in the Americas. This event was to become the first foothold
for a lasting presence of European settlers. It led to the eventual transformation of the
population of the entire two continents. However, Columbus himself was preceded with
five centuries by a small band of Norse Vikings. The intense hostility from the locals reportedly
discouraged the Vikings from continuing their… … American adventure. But what if the Vikings were not
kicked out of North America? What would have happened to the Americas instead? Here’s one scenario! Shortly before the year 1000, a group of Norse
Vikings discovered and explored… …the North American continent before any other European. These American Vikings came from… …relatively large settlements founded at the southern tip of Greenland. This was during the so-called
“Medieval Warm Period”, a short interval of time… …when the climate still allowed farming there. However, as a result of their own aggressive
behaviour, the Vikings provoked the anger… …of the local Indigenous Americans
and were driven away again. One account tells us how a group of Vikings
led by Thorvald Eiriksson caught and killed… …a group of local men. Nonetheless, a single survivor managed to escape
and came back with a greater force… …to chase them out again. The colony in Greenland held on for a couple
of hundred years more, but then came the so-called “Little Ice Age”: A global cooling event
that occurred during the Late Middle Ages. The deteriorating climate combined with hostile
Inuit pushing southward from Northern Greenland… …probably caused the decline of the
Norse settlements in Greenland. Eventually, the settlements either went extinct or were abandoned. And thus ended the Viking adventure in the
New World. But what if things had turned out differently? Instead of killing the first locals they encountered,
what if Thorvald Eriksson struck a deal with them? If the Vikings remained on friendly terms,
their settlements may just have been tolerated. How would the course of history have altered
had they done so? An important difference with the European
colonists that would arrive centuries later in our own timeline, is that the Vikings were
less numerous and less technologically advanced. With the odds being more even, the indigenous
Americans would probably stand a better chance. A stalemate in such a case would then probably
lead to a more peaceful coexistence involving… …cooperation and trade. The Indigenous Americans could get a lot of
advantages out of this! Most importantly of all, it would bring about
the early introduction to North America of… …a great number of innovations like iron working,
wheat farming, Eurasian livestock… …and last but not least, horses! Also, Norse people had started converting
to Christianity, and with that came modern writing. The next question is whether the Vikings could also have transmitted precursors to… …the germs and diseases that in our own timeline… …would have a devastating effect on the Indigenous
Americans. Well, not necessarily! In our own timeline, the biggest killer for
the original peoples of the Americas was smallpox. Although that disease probably goes back thousands
of years, it had not yet spread to all corners of Europe until the time of the Crusades.
But let’s assume that in our alternative timeline… …smallpox and some of the other dangerous diseases had already reached Scandinavia and… …just happened to be carried across the Atlantic. Like in our own timeline, this would probably
have led to a comparable decimation of the… …local populations. Nonetheless, the Scandinavian settlements
would presumably grow more slowly and not invite the same vigour of colonization and
immigration as during the age of discovery. The Norse colonies in North America would
also quickly become isolated, especially when the Greenland colony disappeared, like it
also did in our own timeline. This would give the indigenous peoples time
to recover, while they acquired greater immunity to the imported diseases. As the Norse settlements persisted and grew,
it is likely that some kind of integration with the locals would occur. Even if the Norse stayed to themselves, some
individuals would still wander off from the settlements and mingle with the indigenous tribes. Eventually, a mixed culture would arise around
the settlements that combined local customs with the innovations brought along by the
Vikings. In our timeline, there are many examples of
similar developments around the world. For example, around the Cape Colony in South
Africa a group of so-called “Cape Coloureds” arose as a result of intermarriages between
white farmers, local Khoisan and imported slaves. From early one, these mixed-race groups already
had a distinctly European culture, speaking Afrikaans, a form of Africanized Dutch, while
holding Christian beliefs and European customs. Like the Boers, they even created their own
nations,i that however quickly were quenched by the expanding British Empire. In North America too, groups of people have
arisen that basically are amalgamations of European and indigenous peoples,
most notably the Métis. In our alternate timeline, the mixed cultures
would be at the frontier and quick to branch out and grow beyond the vicinity of the settlement. As more indigenous tribes are assimilated
into the new ethnic group, it would have acquired an increasingly indigenous character, both
culturally but also physically. Its initial spread may be along the coasts,
but thanks to the introduction of horseback riding, some branches would quickly take over
the expanse of the Great Plains. Meanwhile, other branches would eventually
encounter the Mesoamerican civilizations, maybe throwing them off at first, but eventually
enriching these with their new innovations. It is hard to tell if there in reality would
be enough time for all these developments, but it is easy to imagine the Mesoamerican
empires being revitalized with the new influx of inventions after recovering from the initial upheavals. At the same time, invading hordes of sword
wielding, arrow-shooting, armoured horsemen that developed on the Great Plains would perhaps
play a similar role to the Huns and Mongols that ravaged the civilizations of Europe and
Asia. When Europeans finally started coming back
again by the end of the 15th century, they would have met an entirely different situation
in the Americas in our alternate timeline. Disease-resistant, and equipped on horseback
with iron armour and weaponry, …the Indigenous Americans would be ready for them!

100 thoughts on “What if the Vikings had stayed in North America? | Alternate Afterthought

  1. For more interesting videos from this channel, please click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VAWTlKEVOfY&list=PLbAr0DK7A_W4W1x09_796uB_qqdlObWpB

  2. I like how the Vikings were wreaking havoc across Europe but get driven away from the Native Inhabitants of NA. I still love Vikings though, many misconceptions about them.

  3. What you did not add, is that the vikings settled on the east part of north-america for many years – building homes, bringing pastures and farming. After sharing cow milk(which you need a ezym(?)) to break, as it is not natural for humans to drink it. Making the natives have diarea and stomach issues. Blaming the vikings, they chased them away. But not all of them, some stayed.

  4. I absolutely love this fantasy. I have thought along these lines, many many times. Thanks for letting me , not be alone on this one.

  5. This assumes that you can keep another highly fertile continent a secret while moving vast quantities of goods, livestock, and information between them.

  6. Viz, the smallpox, i think you were originally right, as i'm reasonably sure the northmen's homeland would have had cowpox >(£/-&–×*÷‘’ΦΦΠΠ®©`°~§¦) e.g., therefore there would have been precursors in the spirit of vaccination or innocculation.

  7. I can just imagine the English arriving and thinking that the vikings were long gone and the days of viking invasions were long gone just to get ambushed by vikings.

  8. You did forget something, Vikings did get to America because they know how to make fast ships and navigate the oceans, that is something that isnt easily forgotten. When that knowledge is spread you will have trading along the entire Atlantic coast going on.

    So when Colombus shows up and behaves badly it will not take long for most of America to know this and prepare.

  9. I just wanted to point out: Leif wasn't norwegian (or Norge as you put it) he was a Greenlander. Carry on

  10. Had the vikings stayed the world would've been better. Lel free education with what, 10% more taxes. I say its a tradeoff worth it

  11. The Vikings arrived in Greenland around 1000 AD & stayed until about 1350.  During this time period, other Vikings went as far south as Maine & the Canadian Maritimes.  However, permanent settlements only existed along the south coast of Greenland.  For the 3 & a half centuries they lived there, the Vikings referred to the Eskimos they encountered as the Ugly Little People.  Actually Eskimos refer to themselves as Inuit.  Eskimo is another indigenous people's name for them (the Iroquois, I think) which translates as Raw Fish Eaters.  While the Vikings were not as technologically advanced as Columbus & the Spaniards who accompanied him in 1492, they were still of the iron age.  But the native populations of North & South America were still operating at a Neolithic level; something Asians & Europeans had transitioned from somewhere around 4000 years earlier.

  12. Because they are to proud for that. In Greenland they refused to adopt the Inuit/Eskimo way of life (whale and seal hunting) even when they starved to death! And the Vikings called the Inuit/Eskimo, 'little ugly people'!

  13. I am for scandinavians.
    Los Angeles if rull of blonds. L'Oreal and other ingrances can do that to a brunette.
    But out of there ingredients Finland is the nation on blondes

  14. Idiot Europeans. Native Americans are not 'Indians'. They are actual americans. Not you white Europeans. We are indians. Even when they know where India is they still call native Americans as Indian. Idiot Europeans. Duh!!

  15. The Norsemen (pre-christian) would start inner-marring within the neighboring tribes. They would include some local skills and habits as the tribes became accustomed and style of the north ways. It would be cultural assimilation without needing to kill plus (wipe-out) the indigenous inhabitants. There would be a national history of peaceful coexistence.

  16. As history, and not speculation, has shown there were just not enough "Vikings" to make permanent settlements in North America. After successfully settling in Iceland, fewer Vikings made it to Greenland and even fewer to the tip of the east coast of North America where the one verified tiny settlement failed. More intriguing is the fact that the Chinese,at one time in the past, had large sailing fleets capable of long ocean voyages, until one of their Emperors ordered the fleets destroyed.The rest is history. But what if large numbers of Chinese had landed on the West Coast of North America. Would all Americans now be speaking Chinese? @#alternateafterfantasy

  17. I think not if you've ever heard the saying "don't bring a knife to a gun fight" you know they don't stand a chance

  18. The Vikings intermarried with the North American indigenous population. Physical appearance is lost but that warrior spirit remained.

  19. Thus, they would be assimilated into the Indigenous Nations, but their assimilation would make a significant faction of I.N. to look and behave very odd for the others. An Indian with a Mjöllnir pendant, shaved temples, iron armor and sword, sitting on a horse and speaking some indigenous language heavily contaminated by the Old Norse terms… fuck! THAT kind of Indians would soon dominate over the eastern half of the North America.

  20. Would be very difficult transporting horses in Viking boats to North America and if possible it'd be more likely small ponies like the Shetland rather that full sized horses.

  21. The Vikings did stay. They settled in the Hudson's bay of Manitoba. There is a large group of Icelantic decendants there to this day in CANADA never north america.

  22. Do a video about what if the Moroccans were able to establish colonies in the Americas(they almost tried, but their ruler died right before he could send a fleet of ships to the new world)

  23. they werent kicked out. the history always dramatizes. eric stayed in Iceland and leif went to greenland and then north america. they traded with the natives but chose not to stay. they had a great relationship with the natives. the horns on leifs helmet was out of admiration towards the natives and how they used them to fool the buffalo to capture them. it was a head dressing of strength and bravery. it was a gift from the natives. how would i know? leif is my distant grandfather.

  24. Leif Erikson led the "expedition", not Thorvaald! I put expedition in quotes because it was more like a fishing trip gone wrong…

  25. the romans discovered america before columbus and the vikings. the rests of oak island in canada and coasts of brazil…

  26. It does not take a large technology advantage for one population to completely replace another. At the same time-frame roughly 1000-1500ad the Thule Inuit completely replaced the Dorset culture Paleo-Eskimos with no interbreeding. The Norse just needed enough people to cross the Atlantic to make a viable and defendable first settlement and exponential population growth would see them spread across the continent by the time Columbus arrives.

  27. I doupt these "Vikindinas" would stop voyaging, they wuld aslo pas the Alaska, Siberia and assimilated with mongols and Chinese also 😀 , PS: Medieval Europe would be the opposite- the most technologically backward of the world , and ultimately conquered by vik-indian-gols from both sides at ons – from east and also from west from see…. 😀

  28. No there wouldn't be some wast mixed Indian/Scandinavian people. The whites would still come over and they would dominate.

  29. If there was a war between us Natives and Vikings, there would be evidence found by now. I strongly believe we had a great relationship,, and they left on there own terms.

  30. There is a Viking community in northern Ontario, almost all being well over 6'6" tall.
    They stay off to the side in their custom vehicles when they do business at a buy and sell annual get-together.
    Their teenagers will walk around to see what's there. Despite my best, polite efforts, I never saw any women.
    Viking is a verb that means travelling to discover and trade. There never was Vikeland, Swedes, Danes, Scots.

  31. it would have all been different if a somewhat government (perhaps a jarl or wealthy duke) had the goal of colonization.

  32. the Vikings/Norse were almost always aggressors so why would you expect them to be any different in America. the ironic thing is that having stumbled upon North America the Scandinavians were virtually nowhere during the Age of Discovery. the Viking homelands became totally insignificant by the 14th century. a group who had invaded and terrorized Europe at will for centuries became nobodies as history moved along while England, France, Germany and Russia went on to become major powers. ironic

  33. Vikings have stayed in northern Ontario. There is a community up there, seeing members during a trade show.
    There is a tribe of half-native, half Gaelic speaking natives, and other mixes with early European travelers.
    The English-French domination of Canada works hard to marginalize these communities,
    and that's so easy to do when these people want to remain apart from a disease causing urban "civilization".
    Bay-an-uck let, that's Gaelic for blessings on you. We still walk this earth.

  34. I'd like to know what would have happened had the Vikings invaded North America. Like what if they came in full force like they did during their invasions of England and France? And lets say we are talking 13th century Vikings here.

  35. Viking Native Americans vs European Colonization
    yeah that won't end well for European colonies… im saying if South America was same as north america with natives

  36. The European colonists were also much less nature friendly, but the Vikings would learn to respect the environment instead of harming it.

  37. Had the Norsemen (Vikings) been diplomats and traders but not raiders as they were in our timeline then yes this scenario would be possible.

  38. Before the huge invasian of the Americas by Spain and Portugal the Native population was immense… disease brought them low by the time Britain arrived, and could explain why the Norse left since the Norse were just warbands against entire nations of Natives. The Norse were not friendly by nature and wanted land to plant crops.

    Funny note: one the Mayan's chief gods was Kulkulkan-Votan. Woden is the Anglo name for Odin. The Aztecs said their gods who taught them civilization were bearded and rode "a raft of serpents under a cloud" (passed to them by the Toltec), and then they left and claimed they would return as either friends or destroyers, to signal the end of their age. The Hopi Natives have a similar story about their "White Brothers" as well (obviously, destroyers). Then Cortez shows up in a ship… Maybe the Norse or pre-Norse got around more than we though, maybe it's just coincidence? Interesting to say the least, it leaves me to believe our history may be more connected than we might possibly know at the moment.

  39. The ‘little ice age’ actually had no or very small effect on Greenland: that is a Viking mystery…2:05

  40. I know I'm splitting hairs because it's just a stock graphic, but it kind of annoys me to see Native characters dressed in pseudo Plains Culture garb when it was the frontier of Mississippian Culture Natives that the Norse encountered. Yeah yeah – I know they're just cartoons but I'm so sick of the Indian stereotype of how we all looked like we walked out of an idiotic John Wayne Western movie. Natives in the east had nearly nothing in common with those in the west.

  41. There is still tribal stories from different tribes that Natives and Vikings did communicate and trade. Some were good and some were bad, both sides.

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