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Research and Expedition Focus – Search for Pre-Columbian Norse Exploration in America – 500 years and nobody came?
The Founders of the Fara Heim Foundation, and the core team are descendants of Thorfinn Karlsefni and Gudrid Thorbjarnadottir. Their son, Snorri Thorfinnsson, was the first European child known to have been born in North America. Thorfinn and Gudrid first voyaged to North America over 1000 years ago following Leif Ericsson. These were not “Vikings” but early explorers. Their travels are well documented in the Sagas as they settled Greenland and then sailed to mainland North America. The detail and extent of their explorations have been mostly lost in time. In the mid-1800s descendants of those original explorers began emigrating to North America. They followed a sea route to their new homeland that was once well known to their forefathers.
For a millennium the flow of historical and genealogical information has been mostly from east to west…with less going the other way. Now, over the last several decades, a hint of ancient voyages to the North Arctic and even to the heart of the continent have been discovered. These whispers from the past and the personal connections to those original voyagers are the motivations for a team of explorers to search for Norse presence in North America while taking a personal voyage into their own history.
The Foundation is named “Fara Heim”. In Old Norse, “að fara heim” means “going home”.
Research and Expedition Focus – Search for the Lost Warships of the 1697 Battle of Hudson Bay
On our first expedition to Hudson Bay and York Factory we learned of the 1697 Battle of Hudson Bay. It is an amazing story that, while seemingly not connected to our search for Norse exploration in North America, is an amazing historical event. Captain Pierre Le Moyne D’Iberville was a Canadian born in the French settlement of Montreal (then Fort Ville-Marie). His father was from Dieppe, Normandy, France and acknowledged that his ancestors were Norse. D’Iberville played an important part in forming North America and he was the first to find the mouth of the Mississippi, founded Baton Rouge and Biloxi. His brother, on Le Pelican during the battle, went on to found New Orleans. Later Pierre bought property in Havana, Cuba, fell ill and died. The Battle of Hudson Bay is considered to be one of the top 10 battles in Canada and Pierre is considered one of the greatest soldiers in Canadian history.
In 1697 Captain Pierre Le Moyne D’Iberville engaged three ships at York Factory on Hudson Bay in Manitoba, Canada. The 118 ft, 50 gun Le Pelican attacked the 118 ft, 46 gun HMS Hampshire, the Hudson Bay Company (HBC) Royal Hudson’s Bay, and the HBC Dering. After a length naval battle the HMS Hampshire was sunk with all hands lost, Le Pelican was beached to avoid sinking, and the Royal Hudson’s Bay was captured and then lost in a storm. The ships have never been found but artifacts have washed ashore over the centuries.
The lost ships include:
Le Pelican- Captain Pierre Le Moyne D’Iberville – Canadian
HMS Hampshire – Captain Fletcher – English
HBC Royal Hudson’s Bay – Captain Smithsend – English
(another ship was involved but it escaped: HBC Dering – Capt Grimington) – English
We are a flag expedition (Flag #109) of The Explorers Club. Join the Fara Heim Foundation for access to our Adventure With Purpose program to come one portions of expeditions with the team.