After central governments began emerging in Scandinavia during the final decades of the Viking age more than a few of the those fiercely independent bands fled west. Into the ocean mists where they gambled on their open longships surviving the unexplored North Atlantic. Some simply vanished while others settled Iceland in 874, the Faroe Isles in 872-930 before going on to Greenland 980, and then mysteriously, the American continent.
No aids to navigation aids save the sun and rumors of land somewhere out there, cheek by jowl with two dozen armed rowers and their wives, children, livestock, fresh water and supplies, forever wet and always uncertain about their future.
But yet compelled, in their own words, to find A Land Beyond Kings.
A motive which foretold the much larger emigration headed towards America across that same ocean some six hundred years later. Because just like the earlier Vikings these people too wanted to chance to work out their own lives in their own ornery fashion. With nobody much outside their own circle, ever telling them what to do.
A not very well admired trait today. Indeed during televised testimony I once heard Justice Kennedy of the U.S. Supreme Court, which is of course a body which much like those earlier kings believes it has the God-given right to tell everybody what to do about anything, sneer at the Americans believed that they should be able to whatever it was they wanted to do. And only for their own reasons.
So what happened to that spirit?
Aha, and that’s a subject to itself explored.