Leif Erikson Day History
Leif Erikson Day serves to honor Viking Explorer Leif Erikson and celebrate Nordic-American Heritage. Erikson is believed to have been the first European to set foot on the North American continent, having done so nearly 500 years before Christopher Columbus. He established a settlement called Vinland and although its exact location is not known, it is believed that it is near L'anse aux Meadows, in Newfoundland, Canada, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
In 1925, Leif Erikson was officially recognized by President Calvin Coolidge as the first explorer to discover the continent. It took another four decades for the day to become official when, in 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson declared October 9th as Leif Erikson Day. In 2015, President Barack Obama reproclaimed the day and called upon Americans to celebrate the day appropriately in honor of Nordic-American heritage and the explorers that embarked on the expeditions that led to the creation of the United States.
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