The first reports of America (by a European) occurred in 986 by Norse navigator Bjarni Herjólfsson. He was sailing from Iceland and was caught in a storm and driven southward where he sighted new land. Reportedly, the new land he saw was the coast of America. Around 1000, Leif Ericson settled in an area he called Vinland. Scholars presume that this colony was located around Newfoundland.
To keep this within context, Herjólfsson and Ericson landed on North America almost five centuries before Christopher Columbus’ infamous 1492 voyage, which brought him to the Caribbean, Central America and other areas. The differences between the Norse and Spanish expeditions is that Columbus’ voyage yielded lasting European contact and exploration with the “New World,” while Vinland was only a short-lived colony.
Gordon Carruth and Associates, eds. The Encyclopedia of American Facts and Dates. New York: Thomas Y. Crowell Company, 1956,2.
L’Anse aux Meadows National Historical Site of Canada website.
Photo found online here.