Greenland Norse/Inuit Collapse

Why did the Greenland Norse collapse and Inuit thrived?


Even though the Greenland Norse civilization collapsed by deforestation, they also collapsed by loss of trade and attacks by the Inuits who survived by avoiding these complications.


A major factor of the collapse of the Greenland Norse civilization was deforestation. They destroyed their environment in three main ways: by destroying natural vegetation, causing soil erosion, and by cutting turf. They burned and stripped their entire forests for farming. The trees prevented their livestock from grazing and trampling. They also needed heat in their house because of the massive climate change. While they burned all their wood, the Inuits, on he other had, who used blubber for heating and lighting. Whilst the Norse burned their entire forest in this new Ice Age. By using all of their forests for either clearing out for farming or heating and lighting their houses, they destroyed all their natural vegetation. With no natural vegetation, this means that they soon have no more trees and no more abilities to use the wood or trade it.

Loss of Trade

The Inuit had a role in the loss of the Greenland Norse trade loss. With little to no trade route or connections to Norway, their neighboring county, they could have easily traded with the the Inuit, who in fact had these connections and abilities. But, they chose not to. And without this connection to the Inuit, they did not see the Norse as a neighboring civilization, but an enemy and had attacked them, which had a direct influence in the Norse's collapse. This could have been easily avoided in their situation, if the Norse had established a connection with the Inuit and found an easier trade roues, they could had not only expanded their currency outside of their civilization, but this would have prevented the Inuit's attacks on the Norse, and therefore at least preventing their collapse for longer.

Attack by Neighboring Civilizations

As previously mentioned, the Norse were attacked by the Inuit. They did not establish a relationship with the Inuit which lead them to not trust the Norse, and therefore invade them. If the Greenland Norse had made a relationship with the Inuit it would have prevented their collapse almost in all. The collapse was not just caused by the obvious deforestation, but it was caused by the said trade loss and attack by Inuit. This shows how important it is to recognize neighboring civilization becusae it can only help one's civilization and prevent further complications.