By Joel D. Anderson, assistant professor of history at the University of Mainen
In 1874, Rasmus B. Anderson, a professor at the University of Wisconsin, published a book with an exceedingly blunt title: “America Not Discovered by Columbus.” In 2021, that thesis was bolstered with a precise date. Using state-of-the-art technology to establish the age of wooden remains from Newfoundland, scientists determined, according to a paper published this fall, that Vikings arrived in North America no later than 1021. One thousand years is, conveniently, a large round number — one that invites us to ask, if only for a moment, what meaning and significance we might draw today from the Vikings’ explorations of North America long ago. It is a particularly relevant question as we review the headlines from this past year to draw lessons and insights as we head into the next.