Around 1000 AD, Leif Ericsson (a.k.a. 'Leif the Lucky') sailed across the Northern Atlantic Ocean to become the first 'white man' to set foot on Canadian soil. Archaeological finds in Labrador and around L'Anse aux Meadows on the northern tip of Newfoundland indicate that Viking settlements flourished there for some time. Remains of wayfaring stations, ship repair depots and sod buildings have been found.

However, the Vikings were warriors by nature and had no desire for trade or communication with the Natives who approached them. They usually killed all the 'Skraelings' (probably Dorset or Beothuk) that they met. ('Skraelings' are trolls of Scandinavian mythology. This was the name they had given to the Natives.) In retribution, the Natives began to attack the Viking settlements in an attempt to drive them from their land. Skirmishes continued, sometimes to the point of outright massacre, until the Vikings were forced to abandon their settlements and return home, abandoning the New World entirely.