Writer: John Hartman
Actor: Fred Willard
Produced with The Second City
This Norse adventurer beat Christopher Columbus to the title ‘Discoverer of America’ by almost 500 years. On a journey from Norway to Greenland (around 990 AD) he landed at what is now Labrador, Canada. Scandinavian Americans felt slighted that Columbus was receiving all the glory when Chicago hosted a World’s Fair to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Columbus’s 'discovery.'
To recognize Erikson’s much earlier arrival to the New World, Norwegians built a replica of his Viking ship. Setting sail from Norway, the ship arrived here in 1893 during the World’s Columbian Exposition. After this, Chicagoans of Norwegian descent also wanted to keep Leif Erikson’s memory alive, so they commissioned a bronze monument in his honor. Over 5,000 flag-waving ‘sons and daughters of Norway’ attended the monument’s Humboldt Park dedication in 1901.
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