In a scenario I am building, the vikings settlements in Newfoundland flourish, but only for a bit under a century. After that, the colony in Greenland disappears and the colonies are isolated from the homeland. Obviously even 11th century Vikings would bring advanced technology and discoveries like horses and metallurgy and of course they would still bring disease.

What I'm wondering is how fast could viking technology spread in the new world before Columbus comes in 1492? Could the technology spread to the empires of Mesoamerica and South America?


In the real history the Norse colonists were too few and came from a much too poor mother country. But, however improbable, it is not completely impossible to imagine an Amerinorse empire taking off and eventually meeting the meso-american confederation/city-states/empire (depending on when exactly they make contact).

However, not from Newfoundland. Newfoundland has no natural resources to speak of. It would be better to have the son of Erik the Red of somebody else lead an expedition to the south, find Manhattan, and establish a colony in a more favorable place. Then arrange for a decent number of Norsemen to come over, and make sure that they don't repeat the mistakes of Normandy and Russia and bring sufficiently many Norse women to ensure the survival of their language and culture. You may also want to arrange to bring over the most illuminated and mentally flexible Norsemen possible, so that they establish good relationships with the locals, and set up a thriving economy.

After 15 or 20 generations they may make contact with the Aztecs. (The Incas are way too far away, unless you make your American Normans develop navigation tech much faster than Europeans.) The whatever meso-american empire they meet was in the stone age. They hadn't even invented the wheel. The contact between the Amerinorse and the meso-americans would have probably led to the fall of the stone-age empire. Then Columubus arrives, then Cortes, but instead of a stone age empire he finds an Amerinorse empire which would repel his expedition with ease.

  • $\begingroup$ If the Vikings retained their technology, they would also retain knowledge of where they came from. So after a few generations in North America they might send traders back to Europe. Columbus might have been looking for the source of "Viking Gold" rather than a way to India. $\endgroup$ – o.m. Jan 6 '17 at 6:32
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    $\begingroup$ The vikings regularly traveled from Scandinavia all the way down to the Black Sea on regular trade routes that took them up major riverways, across land (sometimes carrying their longboats), then down nearby rivers. They got into the Mediterranean and terrorized the ENTIRE European Atlantic coast during the Middle Ages. How on Earth would it take them 15 or 20 GENERATIONS to explore the American Eastern Seaboard??? I'd give them 20 years before they hit Aztec territory (and they would have viking trade posts in the Caribbean by then). $\endgroup$ – JBiggs Jan 6 '17 at 16:50
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    $\begingroup$ @JBiggs: You are right, the real Norsemen would have done that. I didn't mention it because I thought it was obvious, and because it introduces many complications which I didn't want to address in a short answer. The idea behind the 15 generations is to allow them to grow into a semi-credible power before clashing with the meso-americans. $\endgroup$ – AlexP Jan 6 '17 at 18:17
  • $\begingroup$ Good answer. I'd add they'd contact the Mississipian city building culture (Cahokia and related sites - en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cahokia) long before they got near the Aztecs, through sheer proximity. The Mississippian Cultures had already been empire building for a long time by the 11th century, so the stone age city state meets medieval tech would happen much earlier. $\endgroup$ – DrBob Jan 8 '17 at 17:19

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