Thorvald Konradsson the Far Traveller (Old Norse : Þorvaldr Konráðsson inn víðförli) was one of the first Christian missionaries in Iceland and then in Belarus in the late 10th century. He was native to Iceland but went abroad where he was baptized by one Bishop Friedrich, a German. He returned to the island in Bishop Friedrich's retinue in 981. They were especially active in proselytising among the inhabitants of the northern parts of Iceland. However, Thorvald killed two men in a battle and was expelled from the island in 986.
Iceland is a Nordic island country in the North Atlantic, with a population of 348,580 and an area of 103,000 km2 (40,000 sq mi), making it the most sparsely populated country in Europe. The capital and largest city is Reykjavík, with Reykjavík and the surrounding areas in the southwest of the country being home to over two-thirds of the population. Iceland is volcanically and geologically active. The interior consists of a plateau characterised by sand and lava fields, mountains, and glaciers, and many glacial rivers flow to the sea through the lowlands. Iceland is warmed by the Gulf Stream and has a temperate climate, despite a high latitude just outside the Arctic Circle. Its high latitude and marine influence keep summers chilly, with most of the archipelago having a tundra climate.
Belarus, officially the Republic of Belarus, formerly known by its Russian name Byelorussia or Belorussia, is a landlocked country in Eastern Europe bordered by Russia to the northeast, Ukraine to the south, Poland to the west, and Lithuania and Latvia to the northwest. Its capital and most populous city is Minsk. Over 40% of its 207,600 square kilometres (80,200 sq mi) is forested. Its major economic sectors are service industries and manufacturing. Until the 20th century, different states at various times controlled the lands of modern-day Belarus, including the Principality of Polotsk, the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, and the Russian Empire.
Stefnir Thorgilsson was one of the first Christian missionaries among the Icelanders at the end of the 10th century. He was born in Iceland. King Olaf Tryggvason, king of Norway ordered him to return to his homeland in order to proselytize among the Icelanders. He destroyed a number of heathen temples and idols, for which he was expelled from the island.
In Norse mythology, Ragnarök (; is a series of future events, including a great battle, foretold to ultimately result in the death of a number of major figures, the occurrence of various natural disasters, and the subsequent submersion of the world in water. Afterward, the world will resurface anew and fertile, the surviving and returning gods will meet, and the world will be repopulated by two human survivors. Ragnarök is an important event in Norse mythology and has been the subject of scholarly discourse and theory throughout the history of Germanic studies.
Erik Thorvaldsson, known as Erik the Red was a Norse explorer, remembered in medieval and Icelandic saga sources as having founded the first settlement in Greenland. According to Icelandic sagas, he was born in the Jæren district of Rogaland, Norway, as the son of Þorvald Ásvaldsson. He therefore also appears, patronymically, as Erik Thorvaldsson. The appellation "the Red" most likely refers to his hair color and the color of his beard. Leif Erikson, the famous Icelandic explorer, was Erik's son.
In Norse mythology, Fáfnir or Frænir is a son of the dwarf king Hreidmar and brother of Regin, Ótr, Lyngheiðr and Lofnheiðr. After being affected by the curse of Andvari's ring and gold, Fafnir became a dragon and was slain by Sigurd.
Leif Erikson or Leif Ericson was a Norse explorer from Iceland. He was the first known European to have set foot on continental North America, before Christopher Columbus. According to the Sagas of Icelanders, he established a Norse settlement at Vinland, tentatively identified with the Norse L'Anse aux Meadows on the northern tip of Newfoundland in modern-day Canada. Later archaeological evidence suggests that Vinland may have been the areas around the Gulf of St. Lawrence and that the L'Anse aux Meadows site was a ship repair station.
Skræling is the name the Norse Greenlanders used for the peoples they encountered in North America and Greenland. In surviving sources, it is first applied to the Thule people, the proto-Inuit group with whom the Norse coexisted in Greenland after about the 13th century. In the sagas, it is also used for the peoples of the region known as Vinland whom the Norse encountered during their expeditions there in the early 11th century.
Thorvald Eiriksson was the son of Erik the Red and brother of Leif Erikson. The only Medieval Period source material available regarding Thorvald Eiriksson are the two Vinland sagas; the Greenland Saga and the Saga of Erik the Red. Although differing in various detail, according to both sagas Thorvald was part of an expedition for the exploration of Vinland and became the first European to die in North America.
Thorfinn Karlsefni was an Icelandic explorer. Around the year 1010 AD, he followed Leif Eriksson's route to Vinland, in a short-lived attempt to establish a permanent settlement there with his wife Guðríður Víðförla Þorbjarnardóttir and their followers.
Flóki Vilgerðarson was the first Norseman to deliberately sail to Iceland. His story is documented in the Landnámabók manuscript; however, the precise year of his arrival is not clear. He settled in this new land then known as Garðarshólmi.
Grœnlendinga saga is one of the sagas of Icelanders. Along with Saga of Erik the Red, it is one of the two main literary sources of information for the Norse exploration of North America. It relates the colonization of Greenland by Erik the Red and his followers. It then describes several expeditions further west led by Erik's children and Þorfinnr "Karlsefni" Þórðarson.
Religion in Iceland has been predominantly Christian since its adoption as the state religion by the Althing under the influence of Olaf Tryggvason, the king of Norway, in 999/1000 CE. Before that, between the 9th and 10th century, the prevailing religion among the early Icelanders was the northern Germanic religion, which persisted for centuries even after the official Christianisation of the state.
Gunnlaugr Leifsson was an Icelandic scholar, author and poet. He was a Benedictine monk at the Þingeyraklaustur monastery in the north of Iceland. Many sources refer to him simply as Gunnlaugr munkr or Gunnlaugr the Monk.
Iceland was Christianized in the AD 1000, when Christianity became the religion by law. In Icelandic, this event is known as the kristnitaka.
For centuries Iceland's main industries were fishing, fish processing and agriculture. In the 19th century, 70–80% of Icelanders lived by farming, but there has been a steady decline over the years and now that figure is less than 5% of the total population. It is expected that the number will continue to fall in the future. Only 1% of the total land area is under arable cultivation, confined almost exclusively to the peripheral lowland areas of the country.
The Icelandic Reformation took place in the middle of the 16th century. Iceland was at this time a territory ruled by Denmark-Norway, and Lutheran religious reform was imposed on the Icelanders by King Christian III of Denmark. The Icelandic Reformation ended with the execution of Jón Arason, Catholic bishop of Hólar, and his two sons, in 1550, after which the country adopted Lutheranism.
The history of Christianity in Iceland can be traced back to the Early Middle Ages when Irish hermits settled in Iceland at least a century before the arrival of the first Norse settlers in the 870s. Christianity started to spread among the Icelanders at the end of the 10th century. The adoption of the new faith by the whole population was the consequence of a compromise between the Christian and heathen chieftains, as well as the lawspeaker, at the national assembly or Alþingi of 999 or 1000.
Gissur Teitsson or Gissur the White was a chieftain or goði in Iceland at the turn of the 10th and 11th centuries. He played a preeminent role in the Christianisation of Iceland.
Bóndi was the Norse core of society, formed by farmers and craftsmen in the Scandinavian Viking Age, and constituted a widespread middle class. They were free men and enjoyed rights such as the use of weapons and the privilege to join the Thing as farm owners landlords.
Jesse L. Byock is Professor of Old Norse and Medieval Scandinavian Studies in the Scandinavian Section at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).
Magnús góði Guðmundarson was a medieval chieftain (gothi) of Þingvellir in Iceland. He was the allsherjargoði of the Althing from 1197 to 1234. He inherited the office from his father Guðmundr gríss Ámundason, who was the descendant of Ingólfur Arnarson, one of the first Viking settlers on the island. Magnús was the next-to-last allsherjargoði before the dissolution of the Icelandic Commonwealth in 1262. He had no offspring, and contemporary sources only offer conjectures about his successor, possibly Árni óreiða Magnússon, nephew of Guðmundr gríss Ámundason and son-in-law of the skald Snorri Sturluson. In fact, the sagas narrate that Sturluson caused Magnús's fall: during his first term as lawspeaker, Sturluson convinced the Althing to outlaw (skógarmaðr) Magnús. Despite his title, Magnús was not one of Iceland's more powerful citizens.
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