Greenland Norse and The Inuit

Max Levasseur and Peter Windas


The Greenland Norse collapsed and The Inuit survived for several hundreds years more because The Norse's depleted their forests, and refused to trade with the Inuit, while the Inuit continued due to their nomadic ways eliminating starvation.

Women In The Inuit/ Greenland Norse

Women are one of the most important parts of Inuit life. They play a crucial role in the survival of the group as a whole. They take care of the house and they sew clothing out of all types of animal skins. Although women's roles were just as important as men's, they didn't receive the same share of power/ influence.

Geography in The Inuit/ Greenland Norse

The Norse were known to live in the most harsh places across in Greenland, The Arctic, Canada, and even parts of Russia. They entered Greenland 800 B.C, and mysteriously left in 300 A.D. They moved down into core areas of Canada. Researchers today think that the reason they left so abruptly was deforestation.

The Inuit had a very similar situation. They too, lived on a very cold, barren piece of land, with intense winds helping hunters by creating surface patterns. With only 3 months of light a year, this made them have to travel from their homeland.

Technology in The Inuit/ Greenland Norse

Greenland Norse: Most of the technology that the Greenland Norse made were made from what the vikings made and used. Some of these things were, stone axes to, help cut down the trees that were used to help make fires in the harsh months of the winters. Also, the Greenland Norse were also known, for being very skilled in archery and making bow and arrows. They would use them for hunting in the summer and spring months when, the sun would be up. To add, to get around the islands the Norse were able to, make kayaks. The kayaks were specially hand made for every person so, you could not borrow the kayaks from someone. Most of the kayaks were made for one person not including a small child. But, there were also bigger kayaks that could hold more people at a single time.

Inuit: Unlike the Norse, the Inuits were a little more technologically advanced by living off the land. One way that they did this was, they were very specialized in whale hunting, for this skill the Inuit used weapons like spears and harpoons made of iron which was very rare to find in the Arctic. Another thing that the Inuit invented to help them thrive was a small boat with the name, umiaqs, these boats were small enough to get through ice canals but, they were big enough to hold multiple people and whale hunt. To add, if they were able to catch an animal like, the whale, they would cut the fat (or blubber) off of it and would put them in gasoline lanterns and fires to help them keep warm. Another thing that the Inuit invented to help them thrive in the Arctic was, the women help sew clothing out of any type of animal skin. The type of skin that they used was, caribou, seal, whale, and polar bear. They did this because, all of these animals are able to live in the Arctic which, is one of the hardest places to live.


The Norse shared a lot of their land with the viking’s coming from countries like Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, and Iceland. This was a bad choice because the vikings took a lot of the metals that they needed to survive like iron, copper, and bronze. This left the Norse with little to no metals that were needed to make weapons. Another thing was that the Greenland Norse were very hostile towards the Inuit and would attack them if they were in sight. This led to the Inuit and the Norse fighting constantly making it impossible to trade between each other.


The Norse were quite equipped for when they did trade. They had dogsled for land, and constructed/ built large boats for over- water travels. Using this technology, they could have traded with The Dorset people, but chose not to. One possible reason they chose not to trade was because of the cultural obstacles to intermarriage or just because they would have to learn the ways of the other person (Norse or Inuit). On the other hand, The Inuit weren't big on trading.

Political- Did They Even Fall? (To sum it all up)

Five factors that could be the reason The Greenland Norse fell was their impact on the environment (deforestation), climate change, decline in friendly contact with Norway, increase in hostile contact with The Inuit, and the conservative outlook of the Norse. So, to sum up The Norse, they did fall. Through many acts of violence toward others, refusal of trade, and deforestation, The Norse dug their own grave. On a happier note, The Inuit did not really collapse, they just shifted and adapted into other cultures spread across the Arctic, Canada, Russia, and even Iceland. The Inuit hunted all their food out until most people were starving. With that, their small form of government (really just a group of leaders), fell apart and broke up. People left and went their own ways ruining the Inuit. As you can see, The Norse collapsed while the Inuit simply dispersed across the globe.


Works Cited

"Collapse by Jared Diamond." Collapse by Jared Diamond. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Mar. 2014.

"Collapse by Jared Diamond." Collapse by Jared Diamond. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Mar. 2014. Skeptical: Website created by 30 year old I.T. guy. I'm kind of weirded out by the way he quoted Diamond - content was very useful though.