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Canada’s Norse Interregnum

Canada’s Norse Interregnum

What follows is the second instalment of The Nations of Canada, a serialized project adapted from transcripts of Greg Koabel’s ongoing podcast of the same name, which began airing in 2020.

In the first part of this series I flew through a few thousand years of history. From here on out, we’ll be gradually easing the throttle back, and moving through time at a more reasonable speed.

This time, the focus will be (mostly), on a period of approximately 350 years from the 11th to the 14th centuries, and will mostly be located in the Canadian Arctic with a few detours farther south. While the initial waves of migration that populated Canada were completed when the last ice-age glaciers receded from the Canadian Shield, the Arctic continued to host significant movements (and displacements) of people well into Europe’s medieval period.

The first peoples to settle in the Canadian Arctic did so around 2500 BC. They probably weren’t holdovers from the old Beringian land bridge connecting Asia with modern Alaska, but rather a coastal people who’d more recently migrated from north-eastern Siberia. The technology and knowledge they acquired from their specialization in sea mammals hunting gave them a sea-faring mindset…

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