The Frozen Echo: Greenland and the Exploration of North America, Ca. A.D. 1000-1500
It is now generally accepted that Leif Eiriksson sailed from Greenland across the Davis Strait and made landfalls on the North American continent almost a thousand years ago, but what happened in this vast area during the next five hundred years has long been a source of disagreement among scholars. Using new archaeological, scientific, and documentary information (much of it in Scandinavian languages that are a bar to most Western historians), this book confronts many of the unanswered questions about early exploration and colonization along the shores of the Davis Strait. The author brings together two distinct but tangential fields of inquiry: the history of medieval Greenland and its connection with the Norse discovery of North America, and fifteenth-century British maritime history and pre-colonial voyages to North America, including that of John Cabot.
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Pretty much everything we know about the European Greenlanders. What an incredible story. Whether or not you agree with her conclusions, you'll still learn a lot. Read this before you read Jared Diamond's "Collapse."
LibraryThing ReviewUser Review - LibraryThing
In The Frozen Echo, Kristen A. Seaver presents an impressive examina-tion of Greenland’s early colonies of Norsemen with the goal of explaining their eventual disappearance. In particular, Seaver challenges the theories that the neglect of the mother country and the harsh conditions in Greenland gradually weakened Greenlander’s ability and desire to maintain their settlements. In-stead, she asserts that the Norse colonies remained viable and operational throughout their long existence, even in the face of bleak weather, austere and inhospitable surroundings and lack of support from the government back in Scandinavia. Seaver concedes that the climate did grow worse during “the Little Ice Age, ? but argues that Icelanders and Norwegians, of similar stock, face approxi-mately similar conditions. Further, she admits that Greenlanders’ habits of farm-ing and animal husbandry suggest that overgrazing had also contributed to envi-ronmental deterioration and a decreased productivity in agriculture. On the other hand, she demonstrates that Greenlanders persevered and engaged in trading well into the fifteenth century. Marshaling an exhaustive array of sources, Seaver illustrates the vicissi-tudes of See of Gardar and uses this as a context to discuss relations between Greenland and the home country. Long lapses of vacancy, as well as occasional periods of multiple occupancy, characterized this bishopric. More importantly to the Greenlanders themselves, the bishops spent little if any time in Greenland. The main point Seaver makes is when the church demanded high contributions from Greenland’s parishes, Greenlanders successfully resisted. Similarly, they resisted strict adherence to royal strictures on trade. Seaver contends that these qualities characterize a strong and independent people who would not easily submit under pressure. Much of Seaver’s attention centers on trade. She uses archeological find-ings to argue that trade between Greenlanders and the British Isles, and proba-bly the European continent, existed right up until the end of the settlements. Al-though she admits that the evidence is not conclusive, Seaver, herself, is obvi-ously persuaded that the Rhenish pottery, the items of clothing, and the carvings establish strong support for an ongoing network of trade. In addition, she takes the next logical step that people of marginal subsistence are probably not engag-ing in trade for decorative trinkets or the latest fashions from Europe. Seaver provides an extensive look at the English trade from Bristol to show that English sailors had ongoing contact with Iceland throughout the Fif-teenth Century. The author contends that both close kinship associations and networks within the sailing community suggest that some contact between the English and Greenlanders also existed. In her view, the fishing trade from Bristol to Greenland knew about the existence of land to the west of Greenland. The new impetus that trade and exploration acquired in the post-Columbian years ad-versely affected the Norse settlements in Greenland. No longer did fishermen and explorers need to hug the coast timidly; increasingly, it became more practi-cal to sail directly to Newfoundland or other shores of the Western hemisphere without needing to stop at Iceland or Greenland. She concludes that direct routes to America isolated Greenland thereby causing Greenlanders to leave their now out-of-the-way settlements. Once again, Seaver admits that hard evidence for her hypothesis is lack-ing; however, so too, is the proof against her arguments. She builds a compel-ling and persuasive, although not unassailable, case for her position. Her atten-tion to detail suggests a commendable thoroughness. Admittedly, this is a work of history, even though its argument heavily depends upon speculation; it is not a dramatic novel. It would however have been improved if the dénouement could have been delivered with a bit more punch instead of a whimper. The meekness with which Seaver eventually made her point disappointed this reviewer mightily....
Two Social and Economic Conditions in Norse
Three Church and Trade in Norse Greenland
Four Ivar Bardarsons Greenland
Five The Western Settlement Comes
Six Rumors of Trouble in the Eastern
Seven England and the Norwegian Colonies
JSTOR: The Frozen Echo: Greenland and the Exploration of North ...
THE FROZEN ECHO: Greenland and the Exploration of North America ca. ad 1000-1500. By KIRSTEN A. SEAVER. xvi and 407 pp.; maps, ills., bibliog., index. ...
ill-advised: BOOK: Kirsten Seaver, "The Frozen Echo"
Kirsten A. Seaver: The Frozen Echo: Greenland and the Exploration of North America ca. ad 1000–1500 . Stanford University Press, 1996. ...
illadvised.blogspot.com/ 2005/ 09/ book-kirsten-seaver-frozen-echo_24.html
Shorter notice. The Frozen Echo. Greenland and the Exploration of ...
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Channel 4 - History - The Vinland Map
Kirsten A Seaver's fascinating and highly readable book The Frozen Echo: Greenland and the exploration of North America, c AD 1000-1500 (Stanford University ...
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The frozen echo. Greenland and exploration of North America ca ad ...
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History of Greenland - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Jump to: navigation, search. Hunting and whaling have always been important ways to make a living on Greenland. One ...
en.wikipedia.org/ wiki/ History_of_Greenland
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READING GUIDE. H. IGH. A. RCTIC. : E. LLESMERE TO. G. REENLAND. ere is a brief selection of favorite, new and hard-to-find books, prepared for your journey. ...
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Journal of Medieval History : More Vinland maps and texts ...
9 On the role of Christianity in Greenland, see Kirsten A. Seaver, The frozen echo: Greenland and the exploration of North America, ca. ...
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