Greenland Norse Collapse

By Hunter Manchuck

Thesis

The cause of The Greenland Norse collapse was due to climate change, affect on destruction of natural vegetation, and bad relations with their neighboring countrys.
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Climate Change

Climate Change

The climate change of the island of Greenland greatly effected the downfall of its empire. The climate of the island was changing a lot and at a very fast rate. Greenland went from being fertile land with rich crops, and fertile soil to a flooded island. Floods covered Greenland, which ruined crops. This also affected the people because they needed to adapt to the new harsh environment. Also, Greenland progressively got colder, therefor the soil was covered in ice making it very hard to plant crops in the soil. The soil also went through soil erosion which tarnished the once fertile soil. Another part of climate change that effected Greenland was due to deforestation. Before the vikings inhabited Greenland there were lush forests, and many trees all over the Island. But after they landed and started to build civilizations, they cleared the majority of these forests. They burned woodlands to clear land for pastures, they cut down trees for firewood, and lumber. This greatly affected the climate, and people living on Greenland.

Affect of Destruction of Natural Vegetation

Although it may not seem big, the change in the people of Greenland's diet definitely impacted the downfall of Greenland. When the vikings started building civilizations in Greenland they started to kill, and tarnish the natural crops and soil. They continued to ignore this and kept doing it. And due to this the crops were not edible and the soil was very infertile. The vikings never figured out proper ways to work with the infertile soil. Because of this they began to rely on hunting, for there main supply of food. They hunted for all types of animals but mostly, caribou, seals, and deer. But unlike the native Inuits, the vikings were never able to learn the proper ways to hunt in this geographical setting. Because of this they were very bad hunters, and they could not farm because of the infertile soil. This lead to many people starving, and many people and families would eventually die because of lack of food. The lack of adapting to this situation, definitely affected the downfall of Greenland.

Bad Relations With Neighboring Countries

The relations that Greenland had with its neighboring countries greatly affected its downfall. A main relation that greatly affected the Norse people was with the native Inuits. When the Inuits migrated south in the 12th century they finally made contact with the Norse. Some scholars said that when the two cultures collided that there was a negative outcome. They say that the Norse people killed many Inuits and put some into slavery. This was very bad for the people of Greenland. Also because of the terrible climate, and because not learning the Inuit ways of travel (like kayaking) the vikings had a very hard time traveling. This made it hard to interact, and possibly invade other countries. This led to invasions in Greenland. And also a lack of Cultural diffusion. Due to these bad relations the Norse people could not trade, were always in danger, and did not have great cultural diversity.