Thórfinn Thordarson, “Karlsefni” (Þórfinnr Þórdarson, nicknamed “Karlsefni,” The Makings of a Man”)

Often referred to by his nickname only, Karlsefni was a well-to-do Icelander, a member of the elite of the country, who owned a merchant ship with his partner, Snorri Thorbrandsson. The two partners brought this ship from Norway to Greenland to sell their goods there. Arriving late in the season, they were forced to overwinter at Brattahlid where Karlsefni met and married Gudrid Thorbjarnardaughter, widow of Thorsten Eiriksson.

Karlsefni was the leader of the third Vinland expedition in The Saga of the Greenlanders. Alternatively, according to Eirik the Red’s Saga, his was the only expedition undertaken.

After his Vinland venture, Karlsefni returned to Iceland. The date of his death is unknown. The location of his estate is debated. Eirik the Red’s saga says that it was Reynisnes, The Saga of the Greenlanders that it was Glaumbær.

Karlsefni and Gudrid had at least two children, Snorri, the oldest and born in Vinland, and Thorbjörn, born in Iceland. Their descendants can be traced down to the present day in Iceland and Canada.

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