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In Vikings season six, part two, Ubbe (played by Jordan Patrick-Smith) successful makes it to the ‘Golden land’. However, Ubbe and the Vikings are not the only people to settle on the island. What does Skraelings mean? Express.co.uk has everything you need to know.
What does Skraelings mean?
Skraelings or ‘Skraeling’ was the name given to the Native Americans by the Vikings.
More specifically, a Skraeling was a member of the native people encountered by early Norse settlers in Greenland and North America.
The term Skraeling may relate to the Old Norse term ‘skrá’, meaning ]’dried skin’ in relation to the animal pelts worn by the Inuit.
It was first used by Ari Thorgilsson in Íslendingabók, also called The Book of the Icelanders.
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The Greenlanders’ Saga and the Saga of Erik the Red (Eric Johnson), which were written in the 13th century, use the term Skraelings to describe the people in Vinland who the Norse met in the 11th century.
The Norse are believed to have encountered Native Americans, including the Beothuk and the Thule, ancestors of the Inuit in Greenland and several Norse sagas describe the Norse co-existing alongside the Thule people, in the 13th century.
In Vikings season six, part two Ubbe, Othere (Ray Stevenson), and Torvi (Georgia Hirst) discovered Greenland after feeling psychotic Kjetil on the beaches of Iceland.
Upon their arrival in Greenland, they encounter ‘Skraelings’ and thanks to Floki (Gustaf Skarsgard) relations with the indigenous population are peaceful and respectful.
Speaking at the San Diego COmic-Con in summer 2020, Jordan Patrick Smith who plays Ubbe in the series discussed Ubbe’s journey in the final 10 episodes.
He said: “I think the way that Michael has written it, the Vikings really travel, and you see the family dynamic and you get to see Ubbe go on an incredible journey and I think things wrap up really well.”
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However, Ubbe was not the first Vikings to venture to present-day North America.
The Norse exploration of the New World is believed to began in 985 or 986 by Icelander, Bjarni Herjólfsson, who spotted land when drifting off course on a journey to Greenland.
His story inspired later explorer, Leif Eriksson (the son of Erik the Red) who set foot on three areas off the coast of North America: Helluland, Markland and Vinland.
Erikson is thought to be the first known European to have set foot on continental North America, excluding Greenland
According to the saga of Icelanders, he established a Norse Settlement on Vinland.
The sagas also use the term Skraeling to describe the indigenous people living in Vinland during the 11th century.
The Norse had attempted to establish a permanent colony but were prevented due to the presence of aboriginal peoples.
Vinland also failed due to the lack of essentials such as luxury metals, spices, textiles, weapons, and armour.
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