|Principality of Vinland
None de facto
Vinland in the early 16th century
(and largest city)
|Official languages||None de facto|
|Other Languages||Vinlandic, Norse, Tvennufolkish, Beothuk|
|Ethnic groups||Tvennufolk, Norsemen, Beothuk|
|Religion||Christianity (Official), Norse Paganism (de facto), Beothuk Animism (de facto)|
|-||Confederacy of Vinland||1488|
|-||Total|| 108,860 km2
42,031 sq mi
|Patron saint||Saint Monica of Hippo|
Vinland is an island nation located in the North Atlantic off the coast of OTL Canada. It is peopled by mostly Beothuk, Norse, and Tvennufolk, the last of which being an ethnic group of mixed Norse and Beothuk heritage. The largest settlement on the island is Dogajavick, followed in population by Elufsker, Shamyeby, and Issvik. There is no central government on the island and most people live in small hunter-gatherer family bands and tribal clans. Only Dogajavick and the Norse villages practice some sort of governance. By the 1470s, these settlements began a process of consolidation into crude, Norse-influenced tribal confederations. The first Things were held in Elufsker and Dogajavick around this time.
The predominant social grouping is that of bands of extended kin members who hunt, gather, and fish throughout the island. However, as previously mentioned, sedentary agricultural settlements do exist. Limited agriculture is practiced in the southern extremities of the island and is a hallmark of villages like Dogajavick and Shamyeby. In the northwest of the island, Norse settlements continue to exist in small numbers despite a heavy decline in the 14th century due to the Little Ice Age. Here, the descendents of Norwegian, Icelandic, and Greenlandic Norsemen practice fishing, hunting, and gathering, as well as extremely sporadic trading with Iceland. Beothuk are most prevalent in the central part of the island, where they practice hunting and gathering in small family bands. They are usually hostile with the Norse and tepidly allied with Tvennufolk, although mass violence on the island is not very common due to low population density and the aversion of hunter gatherers to kill rather than flee.
Vinland was first established by Leif Erikson around the year 1000. Erikson was the son of Erik the Red, the Norwegian Viking who himself established the first Norse settlements in Greenland. The settlement was primarily a commercial one, acting as an outpost for the collection of timber and fish. Erikson did not establish a settler colony there.
However, beginning in the later 11th century, Greelandic Norse began establishing colonies on the island, resuscitating a long-lost Viking presence in the area. Contact between Vinland, Greenland, and Iceland remained steady but became less frequent as the climate cooled. Christianity reached Vinland, but in such small numbers that the religion had little impact. The island reached a peak population of 6,000 by 1350 thereabouts, but rapidly cooling climate as well as the Black Death ravaging Europe resulted in less Scandinavian attention to Vinland. The population declined from this point and contact was permanently lost with the Scandinavians. During this period, intermarriage between Norse and Beothuk groups became more and more frequent. By the end of the century, a mixed-race group emerged and soon came to spread throughout the island. These Tvennufolk (Two-folk) had a distinct understanding and knowledge of their dual heritage. Around this time, Norse remnant populations embraced a hunter-gatherer lifestyle but still maintained some Scandinavian technology, including extremely limited metallurgy and the knowledge of longboats. As the 15th century progressed, Norse reconcentrated back into fishing villages and coastal tribal clans as Beothuk natives were able to outcompete them for food resources inland. Simultaneously, villages such as Dogajavick became semi-permanent agricultural settlements. During the summer, Dogajavick was a small farming village. It saw its population swell during the winter as nomads moved in to escape the harsh cold and lack of food. During the thaw, such nomads went back to live and hunt in the woods as more animals left hibernation. Eventually, many of these nomads stayed and began practicing agriculture, although the process was slow and continued throughout the 15th century.
Contact with Iceland, via Greenland, was re-established in 1465, the first such contact in a century. The Icelandic traders established a trade post in Elufsker, but did not return for years due to the remoteness of Vinland. The rediscovery of Vinland spurred scholarly and literary interest in Scotland and Ireland.
In 1470, a trade outpost in Esgigeland (OTL Nova Scotia) was given the name Keathutberga (Beothuk word for Head, Keathut, as in headlands, plus the Germanic berga).
By the 1470s, the island saw a political centralization into two tribal states largely along ethnic lines.In the south, Tvennufolk and south-central Beothuk organized themselves into a loos network of villages and towns known as Suðrvinland. In the west and north, Norse fishing vilages organized themselves into Skogrfjalland. Remaining Beothuk clans remained disorganized.
These polities quickly came into conflict with each other. War began in 1478 when Erik Hrothgarsson of Elufsker attacked Tvennufolk settlements in the south of the island. He managed to successfully take a few hamlets. However, the Tvennufolk under Hjalmar recovered them the following year. What followed was a long war which saw Suðrvinland take the important town of Elufsker in 1484 and the remaining Skogrfjallandic towns in 1487.
In 1488, after subjugating the Norse, Tvennufolk chieftain Hjalmar proclaimed the united Confederacy of Vinland. Hjalmar died in 1493 and was succeeded by his son Herleif. While his father was concerned mostly with conquering his neighbors on the island, Herleif, ruling over a united land, focused his attention towards the sea. Because of limted contact with Iceland, Herleif knew of lands of similar languages to Vinland beyond the sea. Furthermore, stories of eastern lands told by Christian mystics inspired Herleif to expore the surrounding seas. An expedition launched in 1493 with the aim of reaching Angleland (England), the Celtish lands (Ireland), and the land of the Danes (Denmark), only got as far as Icelandic Greenland. The histories of Sturla Ragnulfsson (b. 1449) further inspired Herleif. In 1498, Vinlandic fisherman reported the sighting of foreign ships travelling along the coast. Herleif seized upon the opportunity and sent an expedition after the strange ships. Later that year, the Vinlandic expedition ran into the ships resupplying in Iceland, and learned they were explorers from Portugal.
Over the next few years, relations between Vinland and Portugal developed further. Portugal and Vinland established trade relations in 1498 and 1499. Portugal sent experienced metalworkers to Vinland in 1502, which brought new technologies, techniques, and metallurgic knowledge to Vinland. As a result of ever-increasing Portuguese presence on the island, Vinland's knowledge of the outside world grew. In 1505, Sturla Ragnulfsson wrote that his histories of the lands of Angles, Celts, and Danes were not as mythical as feared. The already contacted Icelandic, as well as knowledge of Denmark, Sweden, and Norway confirmed that there existed kingdoms in the east peopled by linguistic relatives of Vinland.
The death of Herleif in 1501 and the election of his son Eric Kuis presents an important moment in Vinlandic history. A rumored Christian sympathizer, Eric Kuis had the same outward worldview as his father had. He promoted further relations with the Portuguese as well as increased recognition of the island's pre-existing Christian population. He publicly converted to Christianity in 1503 and commissioned the construction of a church in Dogajavick dedicated to Saints Monica and Augustine of Hippo. In 1505, he is recorded in a personal journal as having pondered the mass conversion of Vinland. This is written at a time when the native Christian population begins seeing an increase in adherents.
Mass conversion began in earnest around the mid 1510s, when clergymen imported from Italy helped conduct mass baptisms across the country. By 1520, around 1/4 or 1/3 of the island's small population had become Christian.
In 1518, Eric Kuis promulgated the Decree of Settlement, which established indentured servitude in Vinland and attempted to increase the island's small population.
There are close to 8,000 people living in Vinland. The population is growing each year, a promising sign after the long decline in numbers from the mid-14th century to the mid-15th century. This body of 8,000 people is constituted primarily of Tvennufolk (40%), with Beothuk close behind (34%) and a large but noticeably smaller minority of Norse (26%). The Norse themselves are descended primarily from Greenlandic Scandinavians who settled the island in the early 1300s.
The largest Tvennufolk settlements include Dogajavick and Shamyeby. The largest Norse settlements include Elufsker, Hallrberga, and Issvik. None are peopled by more than 1,100 or so, although trends in agriculture, fishing, and trading may be pointing to increased urbanization.
By the 16th century, a small number of Portuguese and French had established themselves on the island as metalworkers, fur trappers, and artisans.
Religion on the island is mostly confined Beothuk animism and Norse paganism. There is a large deal of religious syncretism among the Tvennufolk and Beothuk in the rural interior. In Dogajavick, a Norse temple has also been home to Beothuk shrines. Conversely, Beothuk in the interior have adopted Norse runes and inscriptions. An extremely small Christian community exists on Vinland. In 1470, they constructed a wooden shrine to Saint Peter in the village of Runby. This community is what remains of a slightly larger Christian community which emigrated to Vinland from Greeland in the early 14th century.
A variety of languages are spoken on Vinland. The Norse speak Vinlandic, a once dialect of Greenlandic Norse which developed into its own language in the early 15th century. The Tvennufolk speak Tvenufolkish/Tvennish which is a Germanic tongue developed from Vinlandic but with a large Beothuk influence. The Beothuk speak Beothuk, Vinlandic, and Tvennish depending on their location and proximity to non-Beothuk areas.