From: David Ilowski (firstname.lastname@example.org) Subject: Pagan Viking America View this article only Newsgroups: soc.history.what-if Date: 2004-01-20 20:28:26 PST This has probably been suggested before, but here goes anyway. The Crusades work better than they did historically and the forces of Christendom find themselves with a bit of extra time on their hands before the Mongol incursions. The gradual Christianisation of Scandinavia is moving along slowly but the ever enthusiastic crusaders decide to try their hand at speeding up the conversion and invade, or maybe crusader wannabes in France and Germany decide to attack Scandinavia as all the best land on the Middle East has now been taken. The resulting wars, and Scandinavian defeats, generate a lot of pagan refugees who flee first to Norway, then to England and Iceland then via Greenland to North America. The sea passage in the 11th to 12th centuries was easier as the Northern Hemisphere was relatively warm at this time. The original Viking settlements in North America failed IOTL for a number of reasons. Probably one of the major reasons was that there were never enough settlers to make up a self supporting economic base. Probably there were never more than a few hundred Vikings living in Nth America, if that. This also put them at a disadvantage militarily when having to deal with the indigenous neolithic indians. However, if tens of thousands of new settlers started turning up over a century or so then the story might have been totally diffierent. Large colonies established in Newfoundland would have led to further exploration and expansion down the North American coast to the much more fertile and accomodating lands of the coastal littoral that eventually supported the USA in our time line. The Vikings were vigourous and aggressive in their colonisation efforts and given sufficient motivation would have readily moved to these new lands to establish themselves. Trading with the old world would still occur but this passage would get more and more difficult with the onset of the "mini ice age" of the 14th century. So there could be a period of three centuries of colonisation and expansion in Vinland ( Greater Vinland ) by the Vikings before a period of possibly a century of limited contact, or even isolation during the cold period. This cold period could also force another migration of Vikings from the Newfoundland area southwards, prompting more wars with the Viking settlers further south and/or indians. I would not imagine a huge homogeneous Viking "Empire" being set up during the three centuries. Royal houses might migrate en-masse to set up new kingdoms and these kingdoms would most likely expand to exist within predefined geomorphological boundaries. Similarly, settlers might set up entirely new kingdoms. Then they could get down to the exciting business of beating up on each other and the indians. I guess they wouldn't be called indians in this time line possibly they would retain the Viking slur-word Skraelings (Wretches). It would be harder to speculate what the long term relationship between the Vikings and the Skraelings might be. Possibly the Vikings could wipe them out, certainly they would inflict massive defeats on them initially. But long term there might arise Skraeling countries (kingdoms?) of similar levels of technology and cultural achievement. There could also be a possiblity of cross cultural transfer of art, religion and politics.