Why is Iceland named Iceland and Greenland named Greenland?

In reality, Greenland is mostly covered with ice. Why isn’t it called Iceland, then? That is a question that many people have asked.

The name Greenland comes from the early Scandinavian settlers. In the Icelandic sagas, it is said that Norwegian-born Erik the Red was exiled from Iceland for murder. He, along with his extended family set out in ships to find a land rumoured to lie to the northwest. After settling there, he named the land Greenland, supposedly in the hope that the pleasant name would attract settlers. When he returned to Iceland, he told people of the new land he had discovered and invited them to come settle there with him.

Flóki Vilgerðarson, better known as Hrafna-Flóki or Raven-Floki, was one of the first Norwegian Vikings to set sails for that big unsettled country in the west known at the time as Garðarshólmi. Raven-Floki stayed his first winter in fjord in the southern West-fjords called Vatnsfjordur. It was rich of grass and wood, had a hot natural pool which you can still bath in and was a good shelter from winds and weather. Enjoying a good summer, Raven-Floki failed to prepare properly for the long, hard winter that followed. Getting desperate for spring, Raven-Floki decided to climb the highest mountain above Vatnsfjordur for a better view of the surroundings. What he saw was a big disappointment. A big fjord filled with ice. So he named the land Iceland.

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