This work brings together for the first time the interpretation of the best authorities respecting the evidences, historical, archaeologic, inscriptive, and deductive, of Norse discovery, occupation, and colonization of America five centuries before the time of Columbus. The subject, though it has engaged in a general way the attention of historians for a long time, has only within recent years been brought into great prominence by a serious study of the Saga writers of Iceland and Scandinavia. The beginning of this interest dates from 1837 in which year was published, by the Royal Danish Society of Northern Antiquaries, a large quarto volume of old Icelandic documents, in which the proofs were set forth that the discovery credited to Columbus was anticipated by sea-roving Norsemen five hundred years earlier. This great work was edited by Prof. C. C. Rafn, founder of the Royal Danish Society, and was the result of painstaking labor and expensive research by that very distinguished antiquarian.
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