Canadian Military History Gateway
Organization > National Defence
Subject > Wars, Battles and Conflicts > Early History to 1603
This house was reconstructed in the style of those built by the Vikings at l’Anse aux Meadows, Newfoundland around the year 1000. (Parks Canada)
L’Anse aux Meadows was the site of a Viking settlement at around the year 1,000. The area is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. (Parks Canada)
Various nomadic cultures developed in what is modern-day Canada. Prior to European contact, there were hundreds of Amerindian peoples with histories stretching back thousands of years.
This picture of a ship is engraved on a plank of the galleon San Juan, which sank in Red Bay, Labrador, in 1565. (Parks Canada)
This Norman (or Viking) axe man holds a Danish style battle axe. Vikings were also called ‘Norman’ — men of the north — by the Dark Ages French. A large group of Vikings occupied and settled on the north-western coast of France in what became Normandy. This is the region from which many of the French settlers to New France came in the 17th century. It is also where the Canadian Army landed on D-Day on 6 June 1944. Print after Viollet-Leduc from the Bayeux tapestry.
Martin Frobisher led unsuccessful English expeditions to find the Northwest Passage. There were conflicts with the Inuit. Other English mariners also voyaged to the region around Labrador.
The sleek design of these ships made them the fastest, most seaworthy craft of their time. (Library of the Canadian Department of National Defence)
The weather shown hitting these Spanish ships was encountered by the Basque whalers based in Labrador during the second half of the 16th century. Occasionally, ships were lost. One such was the San Juan, sunk in Red Bay, Labrador in 1565.
The vessels of Cartier's expedition are dwarfed by the dramatic scenery at Brion, Iles-de-la-Madeleine.
Based on Viking accounts, the Skraelings were courageous and effective warriors. Their tactics have a lot in common with other Amerindian cultures.