Leif Erikson Day

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Leif Erikson Day
Observed byUnited States, Canada, Iceland
SignificanceRecognize contributions of Americans of Nordic descent
DateOctober 9

Leif Erikson Day is a holiday that happens on October 9. It honors Leif Ericson, the Norse explorer who brought the first Europeans known to be in North America.[1]

History[change | change source]

America Not Discovered by Columbus by Rasmus B. Anderson was published in 1874. This book helped make popular the idea that Vikings were the first Europeans in the New World. In 1925, American President Calvin Coolidge recognised Leif Erikson as the Discoverer of America. This was due to research by Norwegian-American scholars such as Knut Gjerset and Ludvig Hektoen.[2]

In 1930, Wisconsin became the first state to officially adopt Leif Erikson Day as a state holiday. A year later, the state of Minnesota did the same. By 1956, Leif Erikson Day was an official holiday seven states (Wisconsin, Minnesota, South Dakota, Illinois, Colorado, Washington, and California) and one Canadian province (Saskatchewan). [3]

In 1963, the U.S. Representative from Duluth, John Blatnik, introduced a bill to observe Leif Erikson Day in the rest of the United States. In 1964, the United States Congress authorized and requested the President to create the observance through a yearly proclamation. Lyndon B. Johnson and each President since have done so. Presidents have used the proclamation to praise the spirit of discovery and the contributions of Americans of Nordic descent generally. Some states officially commemorate Leif Erikson Day, particularly in the Upper Midwest, where large numbers of people from the Nordic countries settled.

Date[change | change source]

October 9th is not related with any event in Leif Erikson's life. The date was chosen because the ship Restauration coming from Stavanger, Norway, arrived in New York Harbor on October 9, 1825. This was the start of the first organized immigration from Norway to the United States.[4][5]

References[change | change source]

  1. "Leiv Erikson (Go Norway. 2007)". Archived from the original on 2011-07-19. Retrieved 2011-05-05.
  2. Becoming American, Becoming Suburban: Norwegians in the 1920s (Knut Gjerset and Ludvig Hektoen. Norwegian-American Historical Association.Volume 33: Page 3)[permanent dead link]
  3. My Minneapolis (Carl Gustav Otto Hansen. Minneapolis,MN: 1956)
  4. Leif Erikson Day in United States (Time and Date AS 1995–2009)
  5. "Leif Erikson in Humboldt Park (Norwegian National League)". Archived from the original on 2009-10-19. Retrieved 2011-05-05.

Further reading[change | change source]

Other websites[change | change source]

Sample proclamations: