name supposedly given by Leif Ericson to lands he explored in northeastern North America c.1000; it could mean either "vine-land" or "meadow-land," and either way was perhaps coined to encourage settlement (cf. Greenland).
After Columbus' discovery, evidence of the earlier Norse discovery of America had been noted from time to time in the old sagas by those who could read them. In early 19c. the notion was seriously debated by Humboldt and other European scholars before winning their general acceptance by the 1830s. The Norse discovery of America began to be laid out in English-language publications in 1840. Physical evidence for it was uncovered by the excavations at L'Anse aux Meadows in 1960.