200 dollars: The Vikings

200 dollars The Vikings  - 2012 - Canada

First 99.99% pure gold coin in the NEW Great Explorers of Canada series

Recognizing first explorers

The first Europeans to explore the New World were known most infamously as brutal warriors, and only more recently as great explorers. The Vikings were seafaring Norse explorers whose great expansion spanned from the eighth century to the eleventh. Over the course of three hundred years, they would explore and build settlements across northern Europe, Great Britain, Ireland, Greenland, Iceland, and the East Coast of Canada. To begin the NEW Great Explorers of Canada coin series, the Royal Canadian Mint has proudly crafted this Pure Gold Vikings Coin with a limited mintage of only 3,000 coins worldwide.

The Vikings roots

The Vikings’ characterization as brutal warriors probably has its roots in early attacks on the British and Irish coasts. The Norsemen’s nimble Long Ships—war galleys paddled by dozens of men—were ideal for performing lightning-fast raids on unsuspecting vessels and coastal villages. The Norsemen who went to Iceland, Greenland, and North America, however, were generally farmers, tradespeople, and explorers travelling by knarr (merchant ships) and seeking natural resources.

Explorers in Canada

Contemporary accounts suggest that it was a Norse merchant named Bjarni who first spotted the shores of the New World in the late tenth century, when a storm forced him off course between Iceland and Greenland. He told his compatriots in Greenland about a great forested shore;fifteen years later, Leif Eriksson used Bjarni’s description to find this land once again. Leif Eriksson Leif called it Vinland, Wineland—a land where grapes grew wild. Eriksson’s discovery triggered many more years of exploration in the region.

Scholars today believe that Vinland probably referred to a broad region encompassing Newfoundland, Labrador, and parts of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. L’Anse aux Meadows in Newfoundland is the earliest known European settlement in the New World. The small Viking camp of fewer than ten buildings was likely a base camp for summer explorations farther afield.

A UNESCO World Heritage Site in Newfoundland

Today, four of the Norse buildings at the L’Anse aux Meadows site have been reconstructed and special exhibits showcase the many artifacts discovered there, highlighting the lifestyle of these intrepid early explorers. The site was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1978.

Own one of only 3,000 Vikings Coins in the world

This pure gold masterpiece weighs 15.43 g and it has a diameter of 29 mm. With a limited mintage of only 3,000 coins in the world, this must-have Vikings coin is sure to impress. As the first coin in the NEW Great Explorers of Canada series, it’s also ideal for enthusiasts of famous Canadian explorers and explorers of the world.