Leif Erickson vs. Columbus

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Sandra Porter
This may seem strange to anyone who hasn't lived in Minnesota, but when I was a child, kids in my elementary school used to have fist fights when it came to the question of which famous European discovered America. To most children in the U.S., this is probably a very silly question indeed. Not so, to the kids I knew. Some kids were convinced that it was Leif Erickson and were ready to fight to defend the point. Since I now live on the West Coast, it's probably safe for me to say that the first white people on the continent might NOT have been the Vikings. NOVA's series for teachers has the details. NOVA Presents "The Viking Deception" Broadcast: Tuesday, October 10, 2006 (NOVA airs on PBS at 8 p.m. ET/PT. Check your local listings as broadcast dates and times may vary. This program can be used up to one year after it is recorded off the air.) The Forger's Inspiration Learn how cartographic evidence refutes the authenticity of the Vinland Map and from where the map's maker might have drawn inspiration. (Grades 9-12) Who Were the Vikings? Discover what drove the Vikings on their global explorations, what recent research on the Vikings has revealed, what contributed to the end of the Viking age, and more in this interview with Smithsonian Institution archeologist William Fitzhugh. (Grades 9-12) The Map in Question Explore the Vinland Map yourself and examine evidence that it may be -- and in some cases may not be -- a 20th-century forgery. (Flash plug-in required; printable version available.) (Grades 6-8, 9-12)

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