Leif Eriksson, originally of Greenland, is recognized as the first European to reach or discover North America. Eriksson landed on the North American continent on a return trip from Norway to Greenland in approximately the year 1001.
Leif Eriksson converted to Christianity after traveling from Greenland to Norway during an exploratory voyage. When he returned to Greenland to spread his new faith, he came upon the northern Atlantic coast of North America, although it is debated whether Eriksson went off course and found it by accident or had previously heard about the region from other seamen or traders. Eriksson called this "new" land Vinland, due to the large number of wild grapes growing in the area.