George Bush photo

Proclamation 6183—Leif Erikson Day, 1990

September 20, 1990

By the President of the United States of America

A Proclamation

When Leif Erikson landed in North America nearly a millennium ago, he helped to chart a course that would one day be followed by generations of brave European explorers and missionaries. He also established the first of the now centuries-old ties between the peoples of this continent and those of northern Europe.

The son of Eric the Red, who led the first group of Europeans to colonize Greenland, Leif Erikson is believed to have returned to his native Norway in the year 1000. There, according to the Icelandic Saga of Eric, the young navigator became a convert to Christianity. Later commissioned by King Olaf Tryggvason (Olaf I) to return to Greenland as a missionary, Erikson set sail once more.

During a number of his journeys on the open seas, "Leif the Lucky" explored portions of North America. Many others eventually followed in his wake, hoping to see for themselves the rich and beautiful territories he had called Helluland, Vinland, and Markland.

Since Leif Erikson first set foot on the North American continent, generations of Nordic men and women have come to the United States, bringing with them the wealth of their unique cultural heritage. Over the years immigrants from Iceland, Greenland, Norway, Denmark, Sweden, and Finland have greatly enriched our country and added their own chapters to the ever-unfolding story of America's development.

Each October 9, as we remember Leif Erikson, the bold Son of Iceland and Grandson of Norway, we also celebrate our Nation's magnificent Nordic heritage. This daring navigator with a missionary zeal, whose name is so often associated with images of adventure and romance, is also a beloved symbol of the deep and enduring ties between the people of the United States and our friends in all the Nordic countries.

In honor of Leif Erikson and our Nordic American heritage, the Congress, by joint resolution approved on September 2, 1964 (78 Stat. 849, has authorized and requested the President to proclaim October 9 of each year as "Leif Erikson Day."

Now, Therefore, I, George Bush, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim October 9, 1990, as Leif Erikson Day, and I direct the appropriate government officials to display the flag of the United States on all government buildings on that day. I also encourage the people of the United States to observe this occasion by learning more about our rich Nordic American heritage and the early history of our continent.

In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this twentieth day of September, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and ninety, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and fifteenth.

Signature of George Bush


George Bush, Proclamation 6183—Leif Erikson Day, 1990 Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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