Erikson was an Icelandic explorer and probably the first European visitor to North America, 500 years before Christopher Columbus.
Leif Erikson (also spelled Ericsson, or Eiriksson) was the second of three sons of Erik the Red, who established a settlement in Greenland after he was exiled from Iceland. Leif Erikson's story was recorded in several different sagas, but the accounts they give are so different it is impossible to be certain of the details of his life.
He is thought to have visited Norway in around 1000 where he was converted to Christianity by Olaf I, who sent him back to Greenland to convert the settlers there. In one story, on his voyage to Greenland he sailed off-course and arrived in a place he called 'Vinland', because of the abundant grapes growing there, and the general fertility of the land. In another - the Groenlendinga saga - he heard of a land in the west from an Icelandic trader, and went to find it.
The precise identity of Vinland remains uncertain, with various locations on the North American coast identified. In 1963, archaeologists found ruins of a Viking-type settlement at L'Anse aux Meadows, in northern Newfoundland, which correspond to Leif's description of Vinland.